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. Seekster

    Oh like Obama has never misspoken before. Do the words "Bomb Pakistan" ring any bells?

    March 18, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  2. Ennis, LA

    McCain knew all along it wasn't true. I believe his memory
    is failing him. He has had to retract many statements he
    has made lately. He's 72 and that's worrisome to me.

    March 18, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  3. Sabrina, Las Vegas, NV


    This is too easy!
    McCain is truly the gift that keeps giving.

    March 18, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. Maryland

    McCain is not flip flopping, he has dementia and cannot remember who is who. He made this mistake twice. Do you want him answering the phone at 3 AM, and getting it wrong as to what the call was about???? Not good.

    March 18, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  5. King Donkey

    It was just a slip of words. this is pathetic, It makes the democrats look small and petty. The longer this goes on the more I want to switch sides.

    March 18, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. Conan

    If this is all the DNC has then McCain is looking goooood.

    March 18, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  7. Bryan

    hahaha...this is pretty funny. The Repubs have jumped on this experience issue that Hillary Clinton drummed up to stay in the race. She wasn't thinking past the nose on her face so I wouldn't trust her to provide the foresight required to be Commander and Chief. On this McCain thing, I don't fault him that much. He's an older guy. A small verbal slip is understandable. By the way, I'm an Obama supporter.

    March 18, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  8. Adam

    This wasn't a "momentary verbal gaffe." If he made the statement once, that's a gaffe. But he repeated himself when asked for clarification.

    That's either him being incorrect or just very forgetful, both of which are pretty disconcerting.

    March 18, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. NickNasc

    THIS is ALL you need to know about this guy.

    Poor thing he needs to borrow some of Billarys delusional, coolaide drinking fanatics to spin this into a GREAT thing for Him and Make it ALL OBAMAS Fault.

    March 18, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  10. Matt in Austin

    I have "Disdain for McCain." We need intelligence and competency in the WH - not a repeat of GW.

    Obama 08!

    March 18, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  11. Bonbon

    again I place a comment here, where is it.

    March 18, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  12. Guy

    Give him a break, it's not easy at his age to remember things like that.

    March 18, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  13. Kelly Anne


    McCain is slipping.

    It wasn't even a verbal gaffe. It looked like he truly doesn't understand the Middle East at all!!!!

    My 12 year old knows the difference between Shia and Sunni, and McCain just got them mixed up!

    March 18, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  14. Roy Cohn

    Sounds like Senator McCain needs to fix his propaganda catapult. And he wants to be President? Unreal.

    March 18, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |





    March 18, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  16. Joseph Roy D. North

    Senator McCain also said ~ the United States is a Christian nation,
    I believe! If so, he does not seem to understand even the basic
    tenets of our Constitution, I further believe!

    March 18, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  17. D$$

    I like how DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said we had been in Iraq for 8 years, When it has been 5, Sounds like she needs to get her facts straight. Iran is a threat, Why is everyone on their side.

    March 18, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. Blackrose

    Like anyone of you have never made a mistake!! I admit I make mistakes.
    It is so easy to belittle others when one acts so perfect.

    March 18, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  19. Dan Hussein

    I'm voting for Obama, but McCain just made a simple misstatement that he corrected. This is not a story. Why do we have to jump on every little thing.

    The point is that McCain wants to stay in Iraq as long as Iraq wants us to keep giving them our money and our soldiers. That's one point where I disagree with McCain.

    March 18, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  20. Tim, NC

    Are we sure that we want this man as president. He is strenght is his experience. He doesn't understand the economy. The problem is not that he mispoke, but he did so three times and had to be corrected on camera. Why do I feel there is a hand up his back???

    March 18, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  21. Scott L.

    Can Obama even identify Iraq on a map?

    March 18, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  22. ranhanson

    Respectfully speaking if you think Sen. McCain's lack of knowledge on something so elementary such as the war in Iraq is bad wait til he speaks about our failing economy.

    March 18, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  23. Marcello

    I'm not a Republican and won't be voting for McCain. But all that happened is that McCain made a minor verbal gaffe. If the Dems want to turn this into an "event of international significance" it just goes to show that they're too hysterical to be in charge of anything.

    March 18, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  24. Mike

    "a momentary verbal gaffe"? sounds to me like he was getting a little bit of educating on the spot.

    March 18, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  25. silverspring

    McCain's mind has been altered after being in the prison for so long. I am telling you the communist will messed your head up big time.

    March 18, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
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