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

Dems seize on McCain's Iran gaffe

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/18/art.mccainjordan.ap.jpg 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. Brad

    Well at least it shows McCain keeps people around that aren't afraid to tell him he is wrong. The "gaffe" is superficial at best. The Iranians are giving arms, money and training to people who later kill Americans in Iraq, the rest is semantics. Monty Python fans might recall "The Judean People's Front" and their arch-enemies "The People's Front of Judea". People who criticize McCain for this should also say that the most important part of a group of people is what race and religion its members are, quite the contrary, the importance is a group's aim and goal. What's the difference to an American soldier what kind of terrorist someone is when they are trying to kill innocents?

    March 18, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. breh / California

    That's John McLame and the Double Talk express !!!!

    March 18, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. anonymous

    I am a African-American male who actually supports Gov Huckabee.
    However, I have been listening to all the comments on Sen. Obama's
    speech and I have noticed that the only people not satisfied with what
    he had to is WHITE MEN. Please fellows let it go.

    March 18, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Irwin,Thousand Oaks, CA

    To compound his confusion, McCain said that Iran's training extremists, not Al Qaeda. Does he have a clue what he's talking about!!! And that's from someone who's most able to answer that 3 AM phone call? Heaven forbid!

    March 18, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  5. kevin from alaska

    I'd like John McCain to explain where the troops will come from if we invade Iran. The US Armed Forces are already over stretched from dueling wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. If we also go to war with Iran - a larger country than the other two - where will the extra troops come from? Especially considering McCain's answer to Iraq is "more troops" I find it hard to believe that he can legitimately expect to win a war with Iran without reinstating the draft. There just aren't enough troops otherwise. John McCain: "Will you reinstate the draft if you take us to war with Iran?"

    March 18, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. John P

    Bush=Mcain
    Mcain=Bush.

    Do I need to say anything else, Mcain is dillusioned, Give him his medications.

    March 18, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. TomT

    QUOTE:"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.”"

    Well, they got that right – we sure do have deep concerns about Johnny McSame – and with good reason!!! If he can't get this right – he'll screw up a lot more things just like gw did. McCain will be nothing more but the same incompetence as 8 years of bushes failed policies.

    March 18, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. California Independent

    Poor DNC, can't raise a dime. I keep getting e-mails asking for cash so they can go up against McCain.

    If it isn't Clinton, McCain '08

    March 18, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. charlene

    I heard that Bill clinton visited Trinity when he was running for president . Is this true?

    March 18, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. Michael

    Common al Qaeda, Shiite, Sunni, what's the difference? All McCain knows is he wants to be a war with them; make my words if McCain is elected president we will be at war with Iran and it will be an even bigger mistake than Iraq. Iran will fight to the very last man, not to mention our invasion of Iran will be the final step in destabilizing an already unstable region. Along with that take the fact that China and Russia will probably jump in on the side of Iran and you've got yourself a fabulous recipe for a world war. McCain is trouble folks; he has no clue how to exist in this new world!

    March 18, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  11. Rocky

    He's old; his mind's going. And the propaganda machine is on full blast.

    It's a combination of the two.

    Where will John McCain be when the phone rings at 3AM? He'll be trying to remember who he is and why he's there.

    March 18, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Dem for President

    BARACK OR HILLARY for President!!! Whichever one, I'll vote for.

    Republicans have been gearing up for a war in Iran for about a year – whispering about WMDs in Iran. Are we going to fall for it again???? Have we learned enough about how Republicans have damaged our economy and standing in the world.

    God, I hope so.

    March 18, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. Rich in Seattle

    That for helping him out there Joe! When did you become a Republican?

    March 18, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Matt

    Ha!

    He's like the grandpa that calls you every one of your cousins' names before landing on the right one.

    March 18, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Texas4Obama

    McCain/McBush/McClinton no difference between the three – all funded by lobbyists – all for the war – all for big business – all for secrecy.

    Vote Obama '08

    March 18, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  16. Lee

    His first statement was more correct then his correction. I can't tell you how many Al Qaeda caches are discovered in Iraq everyday that have Iranian munitions in them. You said it John, now own it. The evedence supports you.

    March 18, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. International Observer

    CNN is vouching for Obama to increase their viewership ratings along with other media news channel. They are giving a blank approval to Obama to Uncle hate.

    March 18, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. Dan

    Before we jump on the republican bashing bandwagon I think it would be prudent to not underestimate the principle/proverb of 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend'.

    I would love for CNN to prove that "Iran is predominately a Shiite country and is not aiding the Sunni dominated Al-Qaeda." I am sure you would succeed in proving only half of that statement true.

    March 18, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. Linda Feldman

    McCain proves that none of the candidates are ready from day 1, even the one with the most experience. But only one candidate has the intellect to make thoughtful and wise decisions about sending other people's chidlren into harm's way. Obama in '08.

    March 18, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Jason March 18th, 2008 5:36 pm ET

    What is wrong with Joe Lieberman? How can he even fathom himself as a democrat? He has been a chief architect of the war and should be ashamed.

    Which is why the Democratic voters in Connecticut did not give him the nomination when he ran for re-election in 2006. He calls himself an Independent, but I consider him a self-serving sell-out.

    March 18, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. Manuel TX

    With McCain, Obama, and Nader as the possible presidential candidates...I may have to sit this one out.

    Oye vey. 🙂

    March 18, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. Kyle

    How can we trust McCain with national security when he can't even tell the difference between Sunni and Shi'ite?

    This wasn't even the first time he said this. He also said it yesterday on Hugh Hewitt's show.

    March 18, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. Matt, Cleveland OH

    Doesn't the DNC have anything better to do than scrutinize every word out of Sen. McCain's mouth? Like fixing the situation with Florida and Michigan? Nope, that would be too productive...

    March 18, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. common sense

    Look at what "experience" can get you. A million years of experience, and someone has to whisper in his ear to explain one of the BASIC components of the current war on terror.

    Judgement is what counts.

    March 18, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. Texas for Obama

    this is more prof that if somehow McCain gets in office it will be the same lies and rhetoric we head from Bush.

    March 18, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30