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. Bill , Minneapolis, MN

    Just what America and the world doesn't need.
    Another war mongering idiot.

    March 18, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  2. S. Wright

    It's getting pretty desperate in the Democrat Party. So McCain misspoke.

    What did Nancy Pelosi do in Syria? Oh right, create an international incident.

    Keep grasping at those straws Democrats.

    March 18, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  3. david

    Yawn...I find it hard to even read about this guy he so unoriginal.

    March 18, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Vrezh Da Gabr

    Yeah, he made the mistake a few times. Prez have their advisers for that matter. He is much better than Clinton+BHO together anyway. I am an immigrant, and my vote goes to him. Unfortunately since Ronald Reagan the quality of the US presidents has been going down. Seems like decent people are afraid to get into a race where if they farted some 20 years ago sitting at a local council, it will now be blown out of proportion by media and made look like they actually detonated a bomb...

    March 18, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. kevin

    ...someone needs to take Mccain back to Iran for proper training!

    March 18, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. OMG what an ID10.T

    Sunstroke, stroke, or old age, doesn't really matter which it is, Bush's lapdog/protege is a one note on Foreign Policy and now it shows that he can't even get that right without a teleprompter in front of him. We do not need another 4 years of an imbecile running this country who can't get the facts straight in his own head and is making decisions on those incorrect thoughts. This is scary Bush practice in action. I don't care which one it is, but vote Democrat in Nov 08!!!! We do not need another 4 years of this kind of idiocy in office. If you can't deliver a speech right get off the stage, and in today's world and country we cannot afford to have a President like this again.

    March 18, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Dave

    Willful ignorance of history and the reality on the ground, all in service towards the arrogant and naive idea that we can bend the world to our will... McCain sounds like a perfect neocon candidate to me.

    March 18, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Mikey

    First Bush was dead wrong on the Iraq-Al Qaida connection, now this clown thinks Iran is linked to Al-Qaida? Good God, man! I'm not even a politician or a journalist, and I understand the basic difference between a Sunni and a Shia...

    March 18, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Tom

    Looks like the Dems are looking for anything to cover up the Obama scandal

    March 18, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. Nom Deplume, J.D., LL.M.

    Geez, that all the Dems have to talk about, a momentary verbal gaffe?

    If eloquence were the measure of leadership, my debate instructor should be president.

    March 18, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. Johnno

    Hey ... leave McWar alone ... his physician obviously didn't give him the right dosages today.

    March 18, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. kevin

    I agree that it was a faulty statement, but where is the discussion on global affairs here? Tibet is a HUGE issue facing the US in the next presidency, yet no one is asking the question.

    Political statements against China may ruin our economy. Inaction may lose the US credibility. Where is the answer?

    Oh, yeah, it's all about making fun of McCain's gaffe. Nice one guys.

    March 18, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. Christian, Tampa FL

    A disturbing pair of gaffes, to say the least.

    March 18, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. Anna

    not okay

    March 18, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. Maglev

    Just what I expected from McBush

    March 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. carl

    Joe Lieberman needs to join the republican party. he is just like them.
    he was for this stupid war, he is just like BUSH.

    Be so glad when we have a democrat president in the white house.

    McCain is just like bush. we need a new democratic president.

    GO dems 2008

    March 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. David

    Lieberman is an independent, not a democrat.

    McCain is from the same school of disinformation as Bush. They're both frothing at the mouth to attack Iran, and will say anything they have to in order to do it.

    March 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. Astenb

    Iran is supplying al Qaeda. – "Because i said so" – McCain.
    McCain probably doesn't even know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite. To these people its like [insert foreign nation that we want to attack here] is supplying weapons to al Qaeda ,or "has links with al Qaeda."
    What a joke. I am ashamed of US leadership and foreign policy in the Mid East and Africa!

    March 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  19. ian

    amazing, the Masters of War strike again. do they really ever think we're going to 'Win' while we're occupying the Iraqi's country?

    the irony is that if there are any 'Thomas Jeffersons' or the like, they're probably part of the insurgency, freely and mistakenly called 'Al-Quaeda' by these nincompoops . . .

    We Need to Get Out of Iraq!


    March 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. hong

    Iran is for sure an enemy of America just for now. However, the right question to raise is: How to eliminate your enemies by turning them into your friends?

    March 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Norm in Atmore

    Gee, Senator, Your campaign has overcome questions about your age, a near bankruptcy, the harsh dislike of the right wingnuts, and your admission that the economy – our most pressing problem – is Greek to you. But you always had your presumed expertise on Defense to fall back on. Many of us wonder how your time as a POW, which we all respect you for, trained you to make defense decisions, but let that go for now. We still had to listen to all your crap about your foreign affairs expertise. So now, it turns out you can't tell a Sunni from a Shi'ite, a pretty basic concept. So, just what is your area of expertise, Senator, besides blode lobbyists?

    March 18, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. Shawn - GA

    "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."

    So the DNC throws their hands up in the air... saying this and that about Mc Cain. Then their guy does the same thing? That is just par for the course.... and very funny I might add.

    March 18, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Jeff

    Is this really any surprise? My amazement comes from the fact that this story hasn't gotten any press, whereas Obama, forced to justify what church he goes to by ignorant hype has.

    McCain is a war hero, yes. I admire that. But, he will be a PUPPET for a president. This gaffe proves it. He has no idea what's going on.

    March 18, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  24. Lucas, Nashville TN

    Sounds like The Old Man™ can't get his lies straight. Bush should have trained him better before endorsing him. Maybe a nice Crawford-style chuckle would have helped drive it home.

    March 18, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. Rich Orl, FL

    McCain did not appear to understand a distinction between Shiite and Sunni. Is he getting his foreign policy “experience” from Rudy Giuliani?

    In the same day, McCain played the tired ole fear mongering. Eight years of this has been enough.

    I'll take Obama or Hillary for our next president, thanks.

    March 18, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
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