Gaffes Happen has become the official teeshirt of McCain's campaign and he may come to regret 'whining' for more news coverage. Politicians put their foot in their mouth on a regular basis. Sometimes it may be the result of long hours on the campaign trail, sometimes because they simply can't keep their facts straight and sometimes because they can't keep their lies straight. Many times it's simply because they do not understand or refuse to acknowledge the facts.
From the controversial Couric/McCain Interview:
Couric: “Senator McCain, Sen. Obama says, while the increased number of U.S. troops contributed to increased security in Iraq, he also credits the Sunni awakening and the Shiite government going after militias. And says that there might have been improved security even without the surge. What's your response to that?”
McCain: “I don't know how you respond to something that is such a false depiction of what actually happened. Colonel McFarland was contacted by one of the major Sunni sheiks. Because of the surge we were able to go out and protect that sheik and others. And it began the Anbar awakening.”
Per Col. MacFarland, the Anbar awakening was already well under way through organized efforts by the tribal leaders well before the surge began. These events took place months before the surge was even announced. Per McCain, the surge 'began' the Anbar awakening.
“But now that the population and the tribal leaders are beginning to make common cause against al Qaeda, the tide is -- the table is turned completely against al Qaeda, and now it's the al Qaeda forces that need to be worried about living in those neighborhoods.” [Col. MacFarland, 09/29/06]
“And I really do think that the dynamic in Ramadi has changed and changed in an important way. You know, any previous reports from my predecessors that you, you know, may have heard notwithstanding -- the tribal dynamic is new here. It's got legs, it's moving forward and it's because success begets success.” [Col. MacFarland, 09/29/06]
McCain also neglects the fact that although the surge helped to support an awakening already in progress, the new troops headed for Baghdad, not Anbar. He also gives little credit to the pre-surge ongoing Sadr truce and makes no mention of the ethnic cleansing and mass migration.
The Couric interview gets even more interesting as McCain tries to multi-task not answering a direct question and distancing himself from the numerous failed Iraq policies under the Bush administration - all in the same breath:
Couric: “Sen. Obama also told me, Sen. McCain, that the money spent on those additional troops, on the surge, might have been more effective had it gone to Afghanistan or even to a better energy policy in the United States. What's your response?”
McCain: “The fact is we had four years of failed policy. We were losing. We were losing the war in Iraq. The consequences of failure and defeat of the United States of America in the first major conflict since 9/11 would have had devastating impacts throughout the region and the world.”
Why did McCain evade an answer to her question? Why did McCain support a president responsible for “four years” of failure?
“no one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have.” [John McCain, 03/28/08)
“The fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I’ve been totally in agreement and support of President Bush.” [John McCain, 06/19/05]
“I am proud of this president’s strategy in Iraq.” [John McCain, upon receiving endorsement from President Bush, 02/13/08]