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. Brian Tampa, FL

    When your leading guy is hanging with racist, anti-American bigots you should be careful who you call incompetent. This is beyond ridiculous, even for the DNC.

    March 18, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. Rockymo

    Lieberman's only concern is Israel. Not the U.S. he should be ashamed...

    March 18, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. ATL_ Enlightenment

    CNN, you waste time with distractions like running continuous clips of Barack's pastor for days, but you hide this story in the background. As an American citizen and registered voter, this is the type of news I want to hear about. I want to know if someone who wants my vote cannot even articulate a basic conversation regarding the status of a war that Americans are fighting. He is in a very dangerous part of the world speaking on behalf of the U.S. and is offending a neighboring country (Iran). This is your headline news story.

    March 18, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. Lone Star Wolf

    The same thing you get from McCain you will get twice from the Liar Obama. OH YEAH THE CLINTONS PROBALY CAUSED BOTH OF THE TO TELL UNTRUTHS. To you fools out there that continue believing in Obama after his speech that confiemed he is a liar then i feel sorry for you but not enought to hel put such a deceit into office. RIGHT! You dummies how in the h.. do you think HILLARY caused all this Howmany fools are they out there n America. HILLARY 08

    March 18, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Jed

    I just find the guy stupid. Republican or Democrat, when do we stop trying to elect stupid presidents?

    March 18, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. Never McCain

    That is what's in store for you poor McCain supporters.

    March 18, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. jb

    does this honestly surprise anyone?

    and as a native connecticut jew, im ashamed of joe lieberman.

    March 18, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  8. MikeinOhio

    What are we to do with our remaining choices, Curly, Shemp and Mo?
    How can our two parties leave us with such sad choices? That is part of the problem itself, only two parties. They know they have a 50/50 chance of winning. We need other viable options because neither party is going to offer us a candidate worthy of being POTUS. This country needs to drastically change it's political system. I will not vote this time or I will vote for Obama. What a choice.

    March 18, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. An Agnostic Democrat

    This potential commander in chief is about as astute as the current one when it comes to war. Bomb, bomb , bomb, bomb, bomb Iran John McSame!

    March 18, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Texas Independent

    This scares me a bit, an average American could make this mistake or be ignorant of this, but a candidate with multiple advisors and coaches should not make this kind of mistake on two different occasions, the same reason I never understood how President Bush made so many mistakes on foreign issues, he too must have had multiple experts coaching him. I am impresssed with any of the candidates as of today.

    March 18, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. commentspage

    McCain like Obama will do everything to get the post!

    March 18, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Split Between

    Please Lord don't let McCain be the next president

    March 18, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. seventhunter

    Elect McCain and get ready for another war, with Iran this time. And although our country has no money, Republicans will have a budget for a victory celebration because they think that "oppressed" Iranians will welcome us with open arms.

    March 18, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. Kenneth Goodfellow

    Why is anyone surprised at anything the NeoCon Republicans say; their "gaffes" are indicative of a thought process that borders on dementia. How can anyone truly believe that the Iraq fiasco is a "successful endeavour ... and it has been well worth the effort," as Mr Cheney stated yesterday?

    March 18, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. John

    Just another example of republican incompetence and deception. Eight years of Bush, hopefully not another four of the same. I hope America and its people come through this time of the sake of their country and the rest of the world.

    March 18, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. spd

    why are my comments always waiting moderation? Why are they never posted??

    One of the reasons Hillary should be and will be the next President of the United States. She has world experience. She's been to 80 countries – some may say that doesn't matter. These people know her and she knows them – it matters. WE don't need another republican and we don't need a racists in the White House — so that leaves one choice – the right choice who has good judgement — Hillary Clinton.

    March 18, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. Art, Del Mar, CA

    Just another sign of age.

    March 18, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. excel

    Sir John, time to send our troops home. And don't apologize. We understand. Iran is an enemy we cannot afford.

    March 18, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  19. Bob G.

    Memo to McCain: The fascists of Iran were held in check by Saddam Hussein. Despicable human being that he was, Saddam Hussein still kept terrorists from incubating in his country and still posed a military threat to his great enemy Iran. If you break Iraq, then the Iranians and their Shiite counterparts in Iraq stand to gain. Duh! We don't need another president who goes with his gut feelings and ignores all historical facts and relevant geopolitical information about the Middle East.

    March 18, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. missy, nashville, tn


    March 18, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  21. Andy

    George Dubya Bush has proven that even the dumbest village idiot in the land can become president. Maybe McCain will prove that this is still possible.

    Seriously, what an empty head McCain has.

    God have Mercy on us ALL.

    March 18, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    I don't think it really matters–
    Iran is definitely recruiting, funding, training, and exporting islamic fundamentalist fighters–could be they're Al Qaida–could not–both groups are killing innocent Iraqi's, as well as, U.S. and other allies personnel.

    March 18, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  23. mary

    You have the 'president mccain, vce-president lieberman, and finally the secretary od state' hahahahahhahaahhihihihih. What a joke, everybody out there makes fun at them and they don't just realize it...

    March 18, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  24. John

    The Republicans are still using fear-mongering in the absence of facts. And they still don't know the difference between "Q" and "N"!

    March 18, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. JM

    Good grief, what ignorance. He really is a little Bush mini-me isn't he. We all know Bush struggles with the basics.

    March 18, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
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