September 30th, 2008
12:30 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain fudges circumstances of Palin's Pakistan comments

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sarah Palin met with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari last week during the UNGA."]

SEDONA, Arizona (CNN) - In a Tuesday interview on CNN’s American Morning, John McCain dismissed news reports about Sarah Palin’s pronouncement that the United States should “absolutely” attack terrorists within Pakistan as nothing more than “sound bite politics.”

But McCain refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden’s recent criticisms of clean coal - comments used by the McCain campaign in a radio ad and Web video - occurred under similar off-the-cuff circumstances.

John Roberts asked McCain about his joint interview with Palin on Monday’s CBS Evening News, in which both candidates asserted that Palin’s caught-on-camera remarks constituted “gotcha journalism.”

“But at the same time you have gone after Senator Biden for a comment that he made under similar circumstances about clean coal technology,” Roberts asked. “Your campaign even released a video of part of his comments. Was that gotcha politics?”

“Well, I believe it was at a town hall meeting that he said it,” McCain said of Biden. “This was - hers was in an encounter in a pizza parlor where the question was framed so that of course we're going to go after terrorists.”

But Biden’s comments dismissing coal as environmentally hazardous actually occurred on a rope line after a town hall event in Maumee, Ohio last week and were recorded by a voter’s hand-held camera and posted to YouTube.

Palin’s mention of Pakistan occurred at Tony Luke’s cheesesteak shop (not a pizza parlor) in south Philadelphia on Saturday night - a stop organized by her campaign. A CNN camera crew, acting as a representative of the five television networks, was brought to Tony Luke’s along with the campaign motorcade and, during the course of the event, recorded Palin’s conversation with restaurant patron Michael Rovito.

McCain, in the interview, suggested that Palin was responding to a general question about whether or not a McCain administration would go after terrorists.

However, Rovito, who had asked Palin two previous questions about her thoughts on Pakistan and Waziristan, asked the governor specifically: “So we do cross border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan, you think?”

Palin’s answer: "If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should.”

McCain’s final point was that his administration would never publicly declare a pending attack within Pakistan’s borders.

“What she said was that she was going to respond to terrorist attacks,” he told Roberts. “And I'm saying we're going to respond to terrorist attacks. I'm not going to announce that I'm going to attack Pakistan.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Len in Washington

    This is one sad old man.

    September 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. laughing all the way to a democratic victory

    They will be covering up for this woman as long as she talks. She has no sense of what she is saying, or the ability to think and talk at the same time. There are not enough coaches in the world to help this woman. The fact that they have had to explain her answers at every turn should prove to America that this woman is not ready to be elected into any other office than one in Alaska. Remember, getting elected governor of Alaska is about as hard as getting elected Mayor of a medium size city. With the population of neary 3 men to every one woman, any woman who jumps around in a American Flag bikini, is loud, tough sounding, and attractive could be elected governor. Her win had very little to do with her political astuteness.

    September 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. C a r o l

    While Sarah's comment was unguarded – it was by NO means in accurate. Most civilized Americans citizens would bombard anyone attacking the USA. ( either on our soil or where ever we were being attacked) THAT'S A FACT YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK. Also, sometimes being "frank and plain speaking" is better than trying to hedge or be "politically correct." In other words, call a spade a spade.

    September 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. John in Binghamton NY

    So two things that are basically the same are different? Ah OK, thanks for clearing that up.

    What is the deal with McCain having to babysit Palin now? Is he going to change her diaper too now?

    In her town hall meetings he jumps in when she gets into trouble. It was the same thing during the interview. Is he her father now? What is this? I think it is scary that even he thinks she can't be trusted on her own.

    September 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Sarah Bell

    WASP!!! WomenAgainstSarahPalin

    September 30, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Diane

    He was sitting by her side during the interview Monday night and spoke up before she could even answer a question. Does he not trust her to answer the question in her own words. Please, this is starting to get ridiculous. I just hope that she can get through Thursday night without John McCain coming out onto the floor and having to explain what she means when answering her questions. Let the woman speak in her own words and if it's not what he or his campaign want to hear then he should consider other options.

    September 30, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. FL voter

    John McCain, even though you're too old to lead our country, I believe that what you just said sounds just as a whining teenager.

    "She did not say that! She said this!"

    How stupid do you think we are? Do you believe we are all deaf and are going to believe that Palin did not act like a cowgirl with attitude against other countries? WHILE OUR OWN COUNTRY FALLS DOWN IN RUINS!


    Obama 08 – The sane choice

    September 30, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Jane in CA

    Watch for the earpiece behind the ear...... She may need to have
    help on this one !!!!

    Vote for HOPE !!!

    September 30, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Give me a Break

    All I can say now is that this is getting beyong the typical political drama. Now it's getting really frightening that anyone – Republican, Democrat or Independent – can support the McCain-Palin ticket. I am all for people believing in whom and what they choose; however, the thought of John McCain and Sarah Palin holding the two highest offices in our country does not put Country First. We see how the world is reacting to our economic crisis. I can only imagine how they will react if we elect John McCain. Does anyone recall the reaction when we re-elected George Bush. Multiply that by 100. Simply put, John McCain does not have the judgement to govern or to lead.

    September 30, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  10. Angelo

    If this is happening during McCain’s campaign trail imagine if this duo gets into office? 4 more years of this will be too much to stomach!!!

    At least we are seeing a lot of this due to the coverage. Imagine in the White House behind closed doors?

    September 30, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  11. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    From the bottom up,
    didn't McCain go on David Letterman a week or two after 9/11 and say we were going to attack Iraq? So, isn't that an example of where we said publicly that we were going to attack a country?
    And as an aside, Obama didn't say we were going to attack Pakistan. He said we'd attack militants and HVT's inside Pakistan if Pakistan didn't go after them. That's a BIG difference.

    As for the broader issue of Gotcha journalism, it seems that Palin is a quick study. It was just a couple of weeks ago in a town hall that she said "IF you want to go with gotcha journalism, go ahead and stump the candidate." That seems to me like if there is no cogent answer, use that as the fall back line.
    And perhaps in Wasilla, or Alaska, or even in other parts of our country, that works. But when Chavez's negotiators, or Putin's KGB, or Iran's Revolutionary Guard or whomever the opposition is comes to the table, we can't be in a position of our VP saying "go ahead and stump me. I'll get some information and bring it back to ya."
    That isn't going to work.

    September 30, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Kate

    so let me get this straight .. what you say at a town hall meeting counts but what you say to a 'voter' at a pizza parlour does not count? scary stuff .. McCain is totally incoherent lately ..

    September 30, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. michael

    i guarantee you mcshame has lost and stepford palin will be back in Alaska asap

    September 30, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Craig Nazor

    Liar is a four-letter word. If that's too "conservative", try the more "liberal" nine-letter choice: Hypocrite. Or just go with the compromise eight-letter "Clueless". In any case, I wouldn't believe a word he says, just like his clueless pal, "W".

    September 30, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Marge

    What he did when he 'took' over the interview with KC was confirm the notion that Sarah is dumb as dirt.....
    He doesn't trust her answers does he?

    September 30, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. Someone call the Waaaaaaambulance!

    Oh no! The media keeps pointing out how stupid my running mate is! How shameful of the press to dare point out that I chose an idiot!

    Hey, is it "gotcha politics" when people report that you say "we shouldn't blame anyone over the bailout failing" and then you go and blame Obama and Democrats?

    Shut up, already. When you can't even make it through a single speech with completely contradicting yourself, it's not gotcha politics. People are just tired of you and Moose Skinning Barbie being idiots, and having to pretend like you actually have the brains to lead a country.

    Maybe instead of your spending freeze, you should issue a lying freeze, where you stop telling lies and have a real campaign.

    September 30, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. Trysh, Los Angeles

    Does this man think he is JR Ewing?? Remember he used to tell Sue Ellen when she caught him cheating..."Who you gonna believe? Me or yo' lyin' eyes?"

    September 30, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Newsflash! Putin Invades Alaska's Airspace Between Palin's Ears

    Palin is dumber than Botox Barbie McCain and John McCain combined!

    September 30, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. uhsue

    Funny, I didnt notice any McCain supporters commenting on this one... Is he senile or just a liar????

    September 30, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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