Huffington Post | Katharine Zaleski |
John McCain has been all over the map recently, especially when it comes to the economic crisis that's been hammering Wall Street. He also managed to make some interesting - or rather, bizarre - remarks about Spain on Wednesday. See more articles below on McCain's actions over the last few weeks.
Late Wednesday night, news made its way from the other side of the Atlantic that John McCain, in an interview with a Spanish outlet, had made a series of bizarre responses to a question regarding that country's prime minister.
"Would you be willing to meet with the head of our government, Mr. Zapatero?" the questioner asked, in an exchange now being reported by several Spanish outlets.
McCain proceeded to launch into what appeared to be a boilerplate declaration about Mexico and Latin America -- but not Spain -- pressing the need to stand up to world leaders who want to harm America.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain, a day after flatly rejecting the idea of a taxpayer bailout for American International Group Inc., said Wednesday that the government had been "forced" into proposing an $85 billion loan to the nation's largest insurer.
McCain appeared to soften his opposition to the bailout proposed by the Federal Reserve, treating the plan as a necessary evil to protect ordinary Americans with finanical ties to AIG and asserting that such a financial collapse should not be allowed to happen again. He also called for an investigation to uncover any wrongdoing.
On Monday morning, as the financial system absorbed one of its biggest shocks in generations, Senator John McCain said, as he had many times before, that he believed the fundamentals of the economy were "strong."
Hours later he backpedaled, explaining that he had meant that American workers, whom he described as the backbone of the economy, were productive and resilient. By Tuesday he was calling the economic situation "a total crisis" and denouncing "greed" on Wall Street and in Washington.
John McCain struck a tough, quasi-populist pose this morning during his morning sweep of the television news shows. Speaking to NBC's Matt Lauer about the current crisis on Wall Street, the Republican nominee said executives have "treated it like a casino and need to be held accountable and stop walking away with these fat-cat packages."
Leave aside for the moment the fact that one of McCain's top economic advisers, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, walked away with a $42 million "golden parachute" after being fired. Overall, the generic Wall Street "fat cat" is a tough character for McCain to cast as his nemesis, given his success in fundraising among their ranks. As Bloomberg reported Monday night, securities and investment companies have collectively donated millions to both McCain and Barack Obama.
Politics has always been lousy with blather and chicanery. But there are rules and traditions too. In the early weeks of the general-election campaign, a consensus has grown in the political community -- a consensus that ranges from practitioners like Karl Rove to commentators like, well, me -- that John McCain has allowed his campaign to slip the normal bounds of political propriety. The situation has gotten so intense that we in the media have slipped our normal rules as well. Usually when a candidate tells something less than the truth, we mince words. We use euphemisms like mendacity and inaccuracy ... or, as the Associated Press put it, "McCain's claims skirt facts." But increasing numbers of otherwise sober observers, even such august institutions as the New York Times editorial board, are calling John McCain a liar. You might well ask, What has McCain done to deserve this? What unwritten rules did he break? Are his transgressions of degree or of kind?