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. Jane

    As Obama says "this is the silly season". It was a harmless mistake.

    March 18, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. TheLeftNut

    Somebody check this guy's mylen.

    March 18, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. -K-

    This guy is just plain stupid. It is amazing how or why people follow him to nothing. He is a Bush follower and Bush Shadow and plans to keep the same Bush mentality in the White House. GET OUT

    March 18, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. TheLeftNut

    McBush through and through.

    March 18, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Eli

    Its crazy that the DNC is going to jump on this which I think is a honest mistake of words that was corrected soon after saying it. The DNC had nothing to say about Barack Obama taking up for his longtime spiritual advisor and pastors HATE / ANTI AMERICA / RACIST comments along with his wife Michelle Obamas comment on finally being proud to be an American. I WOULD BE ASHAME.

    March 18, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Cody S. - Montgomery, AL

    You know why he doesn't mind staying there another 100 years? Because he doesn't know crap about the region...

    This isn't Vietnam...

    March 18, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  7. Spirit of America

    In the warmongering mind of McCain, facts and the truth do not matter. Truth was the first casualty when the war against Iraq began five years ago. Since then the American economy, some 4000 American lives and about 1 million Iraqi lives have joined the casualty list. McCain is hell bent on raising those numbers astronomically through a war against Iran. Is it madness or just old age?

    March 18, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Crazy

    I'm an Obama supporter, but this is crazy. He MISSPOKE, leave Senator McCain alone.

    Obama 08

    March 18, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. International Observer

    Better than Obama who can't even remember if he was at the hate speeches of Uncle Wright or not.

    March 18, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Jesse M.

    Karen. someone stepped on an ant but it was an accident, but make sure you blame McCalin

    March 18, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  11. Mike Simons

    I think with John McCain we will get a McBush in the white house someone that has shown that he dose not understand the Iraq either. I think McCain wants to become president because he wants to hurt people like he was hurt for years in Vietnam. I was in Vietnam with the hundred and first airborne and I think McCain still holds a grudge against people that look like Asian. He also wants more war so he can show people how great of a warier he is. I think both McCain and Clinton are running this race for ego Clinton wants to be the first women president and first husband and wife president.

    March 18, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  12. Val

    DNC is being absolutely ridiculous. They are wasting their time. Poor DNC

    March 18, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. TheLeftNut

    It's all part of the neoconspiricy to take over the world.

    MOO HA HA HA!!!!

    March 18, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Dave

    So he mispoke...did he correct himself? Then it's a nonissue.

    Not like George W. Bush who has yet to admit making a mistake in his entire administration.

    March 18, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. Matthew

    A minor mistake- he misspoke, no big deal.

    March 18, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. keith

    The Democratic leadership is hopeless and absurd to "pounce" on this misstatement. To point to his confusion and try to link it to a larger misunderstanding of world affairs is laughable, at best. Sen. McCain has more experience and understanding in this area than any other politician, simply put, and obviously the DNC will try to compare him against either Obama (who has zilch experience) and Hillary in another bizarre move. How sad

    March 18, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Darth Vadik, CA

    These crazy Republicans,

    from the McCarthy hearings of the 50's,
    to the anti desegregation Republicans of the 60's,
    to the Hubris of Nixon of the 70's,
    to the Iran-Contra, union buster Reaganites of the 80's,
    to the corrupt lying cheating Geingrich Neocons of the 90's,
    to the complete distaterous Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld Neocon of the 2000's,

    have completely ruined this country, nothing except one scandal after another.

    Republicans have always been evil and will always be evil, that is why they hide behind the bible.

    March 18, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. Jay

    Whats Sad is ALL the Press time Obama is getting out of his "speech" today and CNN re-running it. A speech based off lies.


    His Speech, JUST WORDS!! Cant trust him AT ALL!!!

    March 18, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. Proud white woman of 63 for obamaman

    I don't trust him. He is spending our taxpayer money for this
    "fundraiser" trip. And he can yell and scream about "earmarks"
    and "pork barrel" spending pointing his fingers at the Democrats that are busting their a–es campaigning and meeting the people
    that are hurting in our Country.

    Are you having fun yet, MR. McCain? Please, Please do not be our
    President. You do not deserve the position.

    OBAMA 2008

    March 18, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. aphrodite

    Is anybody else not surprised by this? He has said a lot worse things about "gooks" and "communism". His ties with Bush are just helping propel the worse.

    March 18, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. stuart

    McCain is better than Obama...that's all that needs to be said....

    March 18, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. Tonya

    This is one of the reasons America will never move forward. Republicans versus Democrats. Everybody is looking for someone to say the wrong thing so that their team can try to capitalize on it. Why can't we just stick to the issues????

    My decision not to vote for John McCain will have nothing to do with this. I don't trust him. He seems hell bent on continuing this ridiculous war and sending others people's children to die!!!

    March 18, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. Darth Vadik, CA

    The lobbyist who represented Ahmet Chalabi, please google this guy, is RUNNING John McCain's campaign.

    Three Airbus lobbyists are a part of the McCain campaign, and one of them is his finance chair.

    Oh yeah, an American company called Boeing, we know this company don't we, just lost out a huge contract to Airbus, a European company, and John McCain is bragging about this.

    ...and John McInsane says he wouldn't be affected by lobbyists.

    How many of you who will be laid off because of this injustice alone will be laid off, and how many of you are actually going to vote for McCain?


    March 18, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  24. M. Brooks

    At least we don't have to wonder where our beloved armed forces will be in the years to come. If you're happy with the last eighty six months, this is your candidate.

    March 18, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  25. phil

    the dnc cant even get thier own elections correct . and you really want leaders that cant see whats going to happen on the simple stuff in charge .

    March 18, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
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