There’s a new controversy involving an interview that John McCain gave to a Florida affiliate of a Spanish radio station, concerning whether McCain either did not know who the Prime Minister of Spain was, or wouldn’t meet with him. What happened was that the interviewer was asking him about a number of South American countries and their leaders, and then she turned to Prime Minister Zapatero of Spain.
“I would be willing to meet with those leaders who are our friends and who want to work with us in a cooperative fashion,” he responded, and then shifted gears to Mexico. That may sound like a dodge, but it doesn’t suggest that he doesn’t know who leads Spain or that he would not meet with the leader of Spain.
There’s a bit of a back and forth, and then McCain said, “All I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the Hemisphere that are friends with us and standing up to those who are not. And that’s judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America and the entire region.” Liberals have taken this to mean that McCain assumed Zapatero was some rogue leftist leader from Latin America, but within the context of the broader interview, I don’t think it does.
One thing I wonder is whether, since this was a radio interview, McCain was doing it over the phone. I’ve done many of these before, and sometimes the connection isn’t that great, and especially since McCain was speaking to a woman with an accent, I can see how that can result in confusion.
For instance, at one point, it turns out she said, “What about Europe?” But the first time I heard it, even I thought she said, “What about YOU?”
That’s why it didn’t surprise me that McCain responded with, “What about me, what?”
TPM has the audio up here, so you can judge for yourselves, but I think it’s too inconclusive to cause McCain much grief, at least outside of the Spainish media.
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