Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Straight Talk: In Baghdad and in New Hampshire, did John McCain lie, exaggerate or just vacillate?

At his April 2007 press conference in the Green Zone in Iraq, Senator John McCain indicated that he was able to walk freely through a marketplace in Baghdad and that this was something that he hadn't been able to do on previous visits. Here's the transcript:

Q Senator McCain, I just read on the Internet that you said there are areas in Baghdad that you can walk around freely.
SEN. MCCAIN: Yeah, I just was -- came from one.
Q Pardon me?
SEN. MCCAIN: I just came from one.
Q Yeah. Which areas would that be?

But CNN's Michael Ware pointed out later that Americans had always been able to walk though the marketplaces of Baghdad -- when dressed in flak gear and accompanied by air support and heavy artillery as McCain had been.


Whether McCain had a friendly stroll through the marketplace as he seemed to indicate or whether he was accompanied by a battalion of troops and a squad of helicopters as he actually was, the real significance of that press conference was this -- that while John McCain presesnts himself as the American grand master of "Straight Talk," in reality he's just another spin doctor, issue-avoider and talking-both-sides-of-the-mouth sleazy politician like all the other spin doctors running for president this year -- except of course for Dennis Kucinich.

At his Green Zone press conference, I asked McCain if he was planning on attacking Iran and if so would it be another "blunder" like the attack on Iraq, to which he answered, "I have no response." That's Straight Talk? Not.

Here's the transcript on that:

Q (from me -- that's me sitting in the front row!): The way I see American soldiers in Iraq is that they're just incredible. They're so skilled, they're so dedicated, they're -- Americans -- a whole generation of Americans that we can be totally proud of, and they are the light brigade. They're -- you know, the cannons to the left them, as Alfred Lloyd Tennyson said, cannons to the right of them, and somebody had blundered.
They're here, but the original premise of this war was a blunder, and what I [want] to know is, if you guys are planning on attacking Iran -- and I just -- what do you have to say to that? Would that be another -- that sounds like another blunder.
SEN. MCCAIN: I have no response.

PS: I would also be interested in hearing some "Straight Talk" from McCain regarding the 2008 New Hampshire election results. According to CLG News, the hand-counted ballot election results were very different from results counted by Diebold's electronic scan counters. In the Democratic race, the hand-counted votes appear to jive with poll results but the Diebold votes are statistically different from poll results. That's a very bad sign.

And in the Republican race, McCain got only 36% of the Diebold votes but 39% of the hand-counted votes. Hmmmm.... Has the Bush family been hatin' on Senator McCain once again?

Maybe McCain should come out with some "Straight Talk" about election fraud? Especially if he wants to do well in South Carolina for a change.

PPS: I'm leaving for South Carolina on January 19 in order to report on the Myrtle Beach presidential primary debate sponsored by the Black Caucus and CNN. I've been CNN credentialed and everything! Maybe I'll even run into Wolf Blitzer. Or maybe I'll run into Michael Ware....