Tales from the Trail

Lets Talk About Spain, Or Not

September 19, 2008

WASHINGTON - John McCain’s campaign insists the Republican presidential candidate’s response to an interviewer’s question about Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was neither a gaffe nor a dodge.
 
McCain knew exactly what he was saying, a campaign spokesman said on Thursday.
 
In the interview this week on Radio Caracol in Miami, McCain was askedmccain.jpg about Latin America and South America and then the reporter moved on to Spain and questioned him about meeting with Zapatero.
 
“I would be willing to meet with those leaders who are friends and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion. And, by the way, President Calderon of Mexico is fighting a very very tough fight against the drug cartels. I intend to move forward with relations and invite as many of them as I can, of those leaders, to the White House,” McCain responded.
 
McCain was well aware that the reporter had moved on to another leader in another hemisphere, senior campaign advisor Randy Scheunemann said.
 
“The questioner asked several times about Sen. McCain’s willingness to meet Zapatero, and I-D’d him in the question so there is no doubt Sen. McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred,” Scheunemann said.
 
“Sen. McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview,” Scheunemann said.
 
Within weeks of taking office in 2004, Zapatero withdrew Spanish troops serving in Iraq. The move by Spain’s Socialist government put a chill on relations between Washington and Madrid.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk

Comments
19 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I seriously don’t get the emphasis on Spain. Don’t we have bigger fish to fry?
http://www.entertonement.com/collections  /3970/John-McCain-On-Spain

Posted by BaxterJ | Report as abusive
 

If you listen to the recording of this interview, it’s painfully clear that McCain either doesn’t understand the interviewer, or thinks that Spain is located in the Americas.

Even if he DID mean to take this hard line with a NATO member and one of our allies, it’s quite frightening. Is this what we can expect from a McCain presidency– we alienate our allies and go it alone.

Geez. And I though Palin was the scary one.

Posted by Karen | Report as abusive
 

Emphasis on Spain? It is an ‘emphasis’ on McCain being Healthy enough to stand up to ‘changing gears’ in a conversation, and his awareness level. He was being inconsiderate and dismissive at Best…confused and rigid at worst.
Sara Palin is his Third beauty queen. He needs her energy to ‘feel alive’.
Like ‘she said’, the Palin/McCain ticket!

Posted by Courtney | Report as abusive
 

It may well be that he didn’t recall exactly where Spain is. His plane’s GPS always would, of course.

The same might be true of George W. Bush.

Posted by José Joaquim C. Cruz Pinto | Report as abusive
 

Mccain is a wolf discased with sheep skin. Neo-cons like him don´t deal weel with “traidors”, that acuss USA of war of oil in Iraque. That´s all.

Posted by Nuno | Report as abusive
 

I am concerned that McCain is not aware that either 1) McCain doesn’t know Mr. Zapatero is the president of Spain, 2) McCain isn’t aware that Spain is part of Europe, not Latin America, or 3) McCain won’t just admit he misunderstood or made a mistake.

Spain is one of our allies…not our adversaries. Frankly, we don’t need 4 more years of George Bush-like foreign diplomacy that alienates most of the world.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive
 

the best newspaper in Spain, http://www.elpais.com/global/, not even a word. You cares what he think?

Posted by Carlos | Report as abusive
 

OOOOOpssss !!! The man missed his geography class, and he think Spain is in Latin America. :)
With all the skills for foreign diplomacy of Palin , the man is lost!!
I’m not american, but do U want for president a guy that doesn’t know basic geography of operate a PC ??

Posted by Tripeiro | Report as abusive
 

Spain a small fry? Look again. Spain is the 8th largest world economy, the 6th largest world investor, the first investor in Latin America and the 4th investor in the US. It is also one of the top ten cooperation donors. Its language and culture are shared by 400 million people. And when it comes to hard powers it has one of the few navies, apart from the US and Russia, with two aircraft carriers able to project force beyond its inmediate maritime borders. Besides, it is the third largest contributor to FINUL, the military force providing for stability in Libanon, and a major contributor to operations in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Bosnia.

Posted by Luis Montes | Report as abusive
 

Al Queda bombs the US Embassy in Yemen and it barely makes the news? This is how it all started, isn’t it?

http://www.youtube.com/v/SRLIvbPajjU

… continuing threat from Islamic extremists, both at home and abroad ….

WHY ISN’T THIS A BIGGER STORY????

Posted by EightBelles08 | Report as abusive
 

Spain has also been devasted by terrorist attacks in Madrid. Having Spain not only involved in NATO, but also a partner that could potenially intelligence would have a tremendous benefit. Again, cowboy forgein policy at work with the Republican party. I truly hope the American people understand that the rest of the world will only respect the U.S.A. if can somehow design our forgein policy on something other than corporate greed.

Posted by edward | Report as abusive
 

Spanish major daily, El Pais, reports on this gaffe: http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internaci onal/Zapatero/zapatista/elpepuint/200809 20elpepiint_1/Tes

They suggest McCain took “Zapatero” for “zapatista”, and that’s the best chance of making McCain’s mistake more than plain ignorance…

Posted by Fernando Gouveia | Report as abusive
 

He did choose Palin. He’s not the brightest bulb in the outhouse.

Posted by Christopher | Report as abusive
 

Judging from the transcript at MSNBC (assuming it is accurate) the real stupid and/or dishonest people in this are the ones who suggest that it shows that he doesn’t know where Spain is. He implies that he understands that his answer will be of particular concern to Latin America — which it will — but that’s not the same as thinking that Spain is part of Latin America.

My guess as to what happened here? I think McCain either couldn’t remember the extent to which Zapatero was now out of the doghouse according to his campaign, or he couldn’t remember in terms of foreign policy dos and don’ts whether he should refuse to meet with a NATO leader who was in the doghouse. So, he dodged the question.

Posted by Smithee | Report as abusive
 

Why all the fuss? I was recently asked by a fellow American what language they speak in Spain… the question was put in the following manner. “So you lives in Spain? They speak Mexican there, right?” I’m sure that McCain at least knows they speak Spanish in Spain (well at least Castillian, along with Catalan, Basque, etc… etc… – I mean the guy isn’t perfect).

Posted by James | Report as abusive
 

Sarah Palin’s VP aspiration is laughable around the world. In fact, Sen. McCain is just making a joke highly respected position. This is somebody who talks of “country fisrt” but now puts personal ambition first by selecting a candidate who just dont know anything on international diplomacy. It’s realy shameful that McCain left out all the well knowledgeable ladies/gentlemen who could push this country forward only to select someone just to win an election. If we can’t see what McCain is all about then I am afraid it may be difficult for us to see other things. Why is a tobe VP avoiding answering questions from the public? Why is she avoiding to testify on the trooper scandal? The VP is a public office and any person who feels his/her family should not be exposed to the public should not accept any public post. The public will always want to know about that person and his/her family. You can’t avoid it. The only way to avoid it is not to run for a public office.

Posted by PETER | Report as abusive
 

Sarah Palin’s VP aspiration is laughable around the world. In fact, Sen. McCain is just making a joke of this highly respectable position. This is somebody who talks of “country first” but now he puts personal ambition first by selecting a candidate who just dont know anything on international diplomacy. It’s realy shameful that McCain left out all the very knowledgeable ladies/gentlemen who could push this country forward only to select someone just to make him win an election. If we can’t see what McCain is all about at this moment then I am afraid it may be difficult for us to see other things. Why is a to be VP avoiding answering questions from the public? Why is she avoiding to testify on the trooper scandal? The VP is a public office and any person who feels his/her family should not be exposed to the public should not accept any public post. The public will always want to know about that person and his/her family. You can’t avoid it. The only way to avoid it is not to run for a public office.

Posted by PETER | Report as abusive
 

Spain has a sizable contingent of troops deployed in Afghanistan, supporting ISAF. Young men and women risking their lives in the war against the Taliban.
And McCain won’t meet with their PM. Because he didn’t support the Bush War in Iraq.
McCain is the perfect replacement for Dubya. A small, petty man with the same “my way or the highway” approach to foreign policy.

Posted by DK | Report as abusive
 

It was both…a gaffe and a dodge!

 

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