(UPDATE: I’ve translated McCain’s interview from April with the Spanish press – that translation is at the end of this post. He couldn’t have been more clear that he’s interested in having fantastic relations with Spain, and in fact, McCain invited the Spanish leader to the White House should be win the election. It’s clear that McCain is now lying when he says that he meant to distance himself from Zapatero yesterday.)
It appears that John McCain now believes that General Franco, who died in the 1970s, is still ruling Spain.
That’s the only explanation for why the McCain campaign is now saying that McCain won’t meet with the Spanish President should McCain win the election (in the Spanish press, Zapatero is in fact referred to as “the president“). This is the excuse the McCain campaign is now giving reporters to explain why McCain recently told an interviewer with the Spanish paper El Pais that he wasn’t sure he’d be interested in meeting the Spanish president. It’s clear from the interview, which we posted below, that McCain was having some kind of mental lapse during the interview so that he didn’t even understand that Spain was in Europe. But the McCain campaign can’t admit that John McCain appeared to have a senile moment, and that his dementia was caught on tape. Instead, the McCain campaign is now embracing the only argument they have left – they’re actually now claiming that McCain meant every word he said.
Let’s analyze, then, what McCain said.
1. When asked about Spain and the president of Spain, McCain responded about “Mexico” (twice), “Latin America,” and “the hemisphere.” All of those are references to Latin America and not Spain. Why would McCain answer a question about Spain – four questions about Spain, in fact – by talking about Latin America?
2. McCain is now claiming that he won’t meet President Zapatero of Spain, should McCain become president. That’s rather odd, since in April, McCain did an interview with the same Spanish newspaper saying bygones were bygones, it was time to “look to the future,” and that he’d welcome Zapatero visiting him in the White House. So, why the sudden change now? We’re seriously to believe that McCain just decided, 6 weeks before the election, to bash the entire nation of Spain when 5 months ago he said he was happy to meet with the Spanish leader?
3. The reason McCain gives for not wanting to meet with Spain’s president is that he only meets with leaders who embrace democracy and human rights. Uh, McCain thinks Spain doesn’t embrace democracy and human rights? What does he think, it’s the 1970s and General Franco is still in charge? On its face, what McCain said makes no sense. He thought he was talking about Chavez or someone in Latin America, even though the interviewer repeatedly told him she was talking about “Spain” and “the president of Spain.” That’s the only explanation. Or, McCain suddenly thinks it’s the 1970s and that General Franco is still alive.
Here is the translation of the first part of the interview McCain did with the Spanish paper in April. It’s clear that McCain is now lying when he says that he meant to say he wouldn’t meet with Zapatero – the interview couldn’t be more positive:
Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, is ready to change the policy of estrangement with the Spanish government that was put in place for four years now by George Bush. He declared that he was ready to fully normalize bilateral relations and that Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was invited to the White House. In an interview on board his plane, which had just left Memphis, where he had participated in a ceremony honoring the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, and en route to his home en Phoenix, McCain said that “it’s time to leave our differences with Spain behind us” and he added: “”I would like President Zapatero to visit the United States. I am very interested, not only in normalizing relations with Spain, but in developing good and productive relations that address the many issues and challenges that we need to be addressing together,” he said.
McCain did not want to discuss issues like the withdraw of Spanish troops from Iraq, Zapatero’s comments about the presence of other countries there, about the internal politics of the United States or his actions with regards to the American flag. He thinks those problems are now buried.
“You have to understand,” he explained, “that things happen during election campaigns, things are said, decisions are made in certain political circumstances… And you have to understand also that there are coincidences (“coincidencias” ?) and disagreements.” “But I believe that this is the time to leave those things behind us,” he added, insisting that he didn’t want to talk about the past, “and to look towards the future with the perspective that we have many more values and goals that unite us than that divide us.”