March 19th, 2008
10:19 AM ET
10 years ago

Dems seize on McCain's Iran gaffe

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" McCain misspoke during a press conference in Jordan Tuesday."]
(CNN) - The Democratic National Committee seized on John McCain's apparent gaffe while discussing Iran Tuesday, saying it raises questions whether the Arizona senator "can be trusted to offer a clear way forward."

The misstep in question occurred during a news conference in Jordan earlier Tuesday, when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee repeatedly said Iran was supplying al Qaeda. Iran is predominately a Shiite country and is not aiding the Sunni dominated Al-Qaeda.

McCain ultimately corrected himself after Sen. Joe Lieberman whispered in his ear.

"I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al Qaeda. I am sorry," the Arizona senator said.

DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney quickly pounced on the misstep.

"After eight years of the Bush Administration's incompetence in Iraq, McCain's comments don't give the American people a reason to believe that he can be trusted to offer a clear way forward," she said. "Not only is Senator McCain wrong on Iraq once again, but he showed he either doesn't understand the challenges facing Iraq and the region or is willing to ignore the facts on the ground."

McCain's campaign immediately responded, saying the "Democrats have launched political attacks today because they know the American people have deep concerns about their candidates’ judgment and readiness to lead as commander in chief.”

The DNC later sent out a transcript of McCain's interview Monday with conservative Hugh Hewitt, during which he appeared to make the same mistake.

"As you know, there are al Qaeda operatives that are taken back into Iran, given training as leaders, and they’re moving back into Iraq," he told Hewitt.

Related: McCain warns of increasing Iranian influence

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (727 Responses)
  1. richard

    this is just a mistake mccain is a humble man and i believe he can be a good president. i will not be voting for him but he is a very honest and honourable man. his only problem he is running after 8years of republican rule.

    March 18, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. deborah


    March 18, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. Just Facts

    There are very intelligent well informed republicans, right? So, why do the republicans keep marching out these uninformed, uneducated presidential candidates? Bush and now McCain...

    March 18, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  4. Ranger7

    IT REALLY makes me wonder .!!.how McCain was allowed to run for office!! Our country needs some way .. to screen out ..decrepit, insane, warmongers we can GET candidates to run our country..!!
    Disgusted US Army Vet!!!

    March 18, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  5. fair tax in la.

    McCain far better than what the dems offer, LMAO!!
    GOO away you libs and your social policies that mean doom and gloom!!!

    March 18, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. Jeff Dallas

    This is an important story. McCain whose claim to fame is the war doesn't know his left from his right. He is too old. Face it or at the very least report on it CNN.

    Where was this story today?

    March 18, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. Ranger7

    IT REALLY makes me wonder .!!.how McCain was allowed to run for office!! Our country needs some way .. to screen out ..decrepit, insane, warmongers we can GET GOOD ..candidates to run our country..!!
    Disgusted US Army Vet!!!

    March 18, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  8. MarkieBee

    LOL SPD, that's why I'm announcing today the formation of Laura Bush's 2012 presidential exploratory committee. She's been to more countries than Hillary has as first lady, they know her around the world, so that leaves just one candidate with more experience than even Hillary – Laura Bush. OK, snark button OFF.

    March 18, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. Fletch Armstrong

    This is not the first time he has made this mistake, where is the other documentation?, don't let do all the work.

    March 18, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  10. MarkieBee

    Hey Nom, apparently he's made the mistake elsewhere too...did you read the article?

    March 18, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  11. Amy N.

    In many U.S. institutions, the scenario Rev. Wright speaks of is a sad, but real truth. Although not my experience, this may very well be the experience of Rev. Wright. We are in no position to negate his personal experience, and we have no right to equate this experience with Obama. Rival campaigns, along with many representatives in the media, continue to delve into Barack Obama's history on a desperate crusade to discredit him. We, as a country, need to stop hiding behind the truths Rev. Wright speaks of and face them head on. For the love of our country, say it with me: "Yes we can!"

    March 18, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. Dedrick from Atlanta (in Portland)

    Why don't we hear more about this folly? Why don't we hear more about the "racist" McCain inner circle? And we wonder why the world sees us as hypocritical.

    March 18, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  13. Mike

    Here we go again. The Liberal Left bashing a simple mis statement by their opponent. Like the Demolosers never said anything mistaken. Isn't that the reason both the Clinton and Obama campaigns are losing their members like the plague claimed victims. The Dems are nothing more than pathetic, rhetorical, pansies in an obvious left wing plot to turn America into another Venezuela. If you want the government to take every penny of your money while running every aspect of your life from which doctor you see, to which medication you'll get, to where your kids go to school, to ....... well you get the picture, then vote for the new Socialist movement. Vote Democrat in November and we'll see how fast this country is turned into a worthless pile of donkey bile.

    March 18, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  14. Roger

    Big deal he misspoke who really cares. And I'm a democrat. There is a hell of a lot more things in this country to worry about.

    March 18, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. Ratgurl

    WOW! That is not a MINOR gaffe – that's MAJOR!!! Is he going to say "oops, sorry" when he "accidentally" presses the "red button" and blows the world into oblivion? This guy is TOO OLD the be president, and I'm sorry if that sounds like ageism, but it IS a fact that the brain doesn't funtion as efficiently after a certain age (different for every individual). Seems McCain's brain is past that point.

    March 18, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  16. A.M. Saqib

    Oops! May be John McCain is going senile. Watch out what happens when he gets even older. And I think it is in fact not the age, it is lack of knowledge of local culture and religous tarditions.

    So Mr. War Hero, may be it is time for you to take holidays from politics.

    A.M. Saqib
    Houston, Texas

    March 18, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. Jonathan

    McCain can not remember "extremists" instead of Al Qaeda? What a loud of BS~ it's all about the rhetoric, talking points, sound bits and more war mongering. 70% of the US want us out of the war. This idiot needs to retire already. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........

    March 18, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. John Nginyayu

    McCain is Dubya II in the making

    March 18, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  19. McCain is too old

    McSameasBush is having those gaffes more frequently. The fact that McGaffe is supposed to have "so much" foreign policy and security experience and is tripping on basic knowledge, makes you think if senility is starting to show up. I can accept senility on my grandpa, but not on the next President of the United States. I can accept senators with 100 years of age and almost in life support still in the senate, but not the US President having mental lapses.

    March 18, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |

    Uh... yikes.

    March 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  21. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Ha ha.......yeah just like Al Queda was in Iraq....not!

    McWar+McSame=McDeath! Wow, what a lovely future portrail!

    March 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. darren

    Whoa... in other words, John McCain, the self-described military expert and foreign policy expert, shows once again that when it comes to the conflicts in the Middle East he knows absolutely nothing.

    Or maybe he does know his stuff, but he has early onset Alzheimers like second term Reagan.

    March 18, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  23. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    McCain promises four more years of GOP cronyism and ineptitude, plus the increasing probability of Alzheimers! 'Verbal gaffe' my Aunt Petunia! I don't think that I'll be voting Republican for a couple of decades, if pathetic candidates like Bush and McCain are what they're offering.

    March 18, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. kishya

    funny how we lose focus of matters like this and focus on obamas preacher who is not running for president. we allow mccain to be like george bush and not even know what he is talking about when it comes to foreign policy

    March 18, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  25. Todd Wise

    Cheney and McCain are simply apart of the same blind hubris as Bush when he broke out the champagne weeks after America invaded Iraq for a victory party. What a bunch of Republican bumkins! Need a new administration and some hope in this country for credibility.

    March 18, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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