It’s not Joe the Plumber that matters, it’s G. Gordon Liddy the "Plumber" of Watergate fame. David Letterman’s interview with McCain last night should prove to be absolutely devastating to the McCain campaign, if we don’t let the mainstream media ignore McCain’s relationship to Liddy while they obsess about Bill Ayers.
John McCain has defended Liddy, an ex-felon who was part of Watergate, one of the worst abuses of executive power in American history.
John McCain has knowingly attended a fundraiser at the home of Liddy, an unrepentent terrorist who plotted the assassination of a journalist and encouraged the murder of federal law enforcement agents. Yet John McCain just a year ago declared that he was "proud" of this man.
Here’s a summary of all the crimes of G. Gordon Liddy, the responses of John McCain, and the questions that need to be asked:
Last night on Letterman, here’s what McCain said.
DL: But did you not have a relationship with Gordon Liddy?
JM: I met him, you know, I mean...
DL: Didn’t you attend a fund raiser at his house?
JM: Gordon Liddy’s?
"I met him"? "I met him"? And when you’re asked about attending a fundraiser at his house, you don’t answer? You don’t admit that Liddy hosted a fundraiser for you in 1998? You just say, "Gordon Liddy’s?" as if you don’t know what Letterman’s talking about?
After the commercial break, McCain quickly tried to explain himself:
JM: I know Gordon Liddy. He paid his debt. He went to prison, he paid his debt, as people do. I’m not in any way embarrassed to know Gordon Liddy. And his son, who is also a good friend and supporter of mine.
DL: But you understand that the same case could be made of your relationship with him as being made with William Ayers.
JM: Everything about any relationship that I’ve had I will make completely open and give a complete accounting of. Senator Obama said that he was a guy who lived in the neighborhood. OK, it was more than that.
Note this: McCain said that Liddy’s son is "also a good friend and supporter of mine." That means McCain is saying that Liddy himself is friend of his. Contrast that with Obama, who has never called Ayers his friend (David Axelrod described them as "friendly," which is much different).
Liddy did go to prison for Watergate. Does McCain mean to say that it’s okay to pal around with criminals so long as they’ve served time in prison? (Ayers, by the way, did turn himself him; he was never convicted of a crime due to technicalities. Would McCain claim that it would be okay to hang out with Ayers if he had spent time in prison?)
But Liddy’s never served any time in prison for urging the murder of federal law enforcement officials, or for plotting the assassination of a newspaper columnist, or for encouraging the murder of possible burglars, or for illegally using firearms despite being an ex-felon. So by McCain’s logic, Liddy has never paid his debt for those actions.
McCain claims, "Senator Obama said that he was a guy who lived in the neighborhood. OK, it was more than that." It was. As Obama actually said: "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who's a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received some official endorsement from. He's not somebody who I exchange ideas with on a regular basis." There’s nothing false about that. According to a McCain TV ad, "Obama's blind ambition. When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers. When discovered, he lied. Obama. Blind ambition. Bad judgment." The Washington Post fact checker concluded, "The McCain campaign is distorting the Obama-Ayers relationship, and exaggerating their closeness. There is no evidence that Obama has ‘lied’ about his dealings with Ayers."
But you could make the same exact argument that when McCain said about Liddy, "I met him," it was definitely "more than that." If somebody hosts a fundraiser for you, do you honestly describe your relationship as "I met him"? McCain, unlike Obama, was lying about his relationship. McCain, unlike Obama, was actually defending an unrepentant terrorist.
In 2007, McCain went on Liddy’s radio show and told him: