Obama Camp Hits McCain On Confusions

Here's a memo from newly titled "senior strategist for communications and message" Robert Gibbs painting McCain in the deep purple of confusion.

The self-professed candidate of “straight talk” and “experience” spent today changing his position on gay adoption, adopting Senator Obama’s position that we need more troops in Afghanistan after having resisted taking that position, flip flopping on whether he’d send U.S. or NATO troops (he actually offered three different explanations on where those additional troops would come from), and referring to a country that hasn’t existed since 1992 for the second time in two days.

LAST WEEK: Christian Science Monitor Reported that McCain “Has Resisted Calls For More Troops In Afghanistan.” “McCain has resisted calls for more troops in Afghanistan and has rejected criticism that the Iraq war is detracting from efforts to secure Afghanistan. He labeled Barack Obama ‘naïve’ for saying he'd strike terrorist targets in Pakistan with or without the cooperation of President Pervez Musharraf. … Aides to the Arizona senator said Wednesday that he continued to view success in Iraq as the best chance for victory in the global war on terror. ‘As on many things, Senator Obama is not listening to our commanders, and Senator McCain is,’ says Kori Schake, a senior policy adviser to McCain. ‘General David Petraeus believes Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. Al Qaeda has even said it is.’ … Ms. Schake's comments came about two hours after Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said additional troops were needed in Afghanistan but that too many were tied down in Iraq to send more.” [Christian Science Monitor, 7/7/08]

TODAY (MORNING): McCain Called for Sending Three Additional Brigades to Afghanistan and Suggests They Would Come From Iraq. According to a press release issued by the McCain campaign on Tuesday morning, McCain would announce in a speech that he now supports sending at least three additional brigades to Afghanistan: “The status quo in Afghanistan is unacceptable, and from the moment the next President walks into the Oval Office, he will face critical decisions about Afghanistan. … John McCain Supports Sending At Least Three Additional Brigades To Afghanistan. Our commanders on the ground say they need these troops, and thanks to the success of the surge, these forces are becoming available, and our commanders in Afghanistan must get them.” [McCain press release, 7/15/08]

TODAY (AFTERNOON): McCain Clarifies His Proposal On Increasing the Number of Troops, Saying They Could Come From NATO. “Speaking to reporters on his bus after today's speech, McCain indicated that he'd be open to those additional troops coming from NATO.” [MSNBC, 7/15/08]

TODAY (EVEN LATER IN THE AFTERNOON): McCain Campaign Further Clarifies Proposal, Saying The Troop Increase Would Be Comprised Of Both NATO And US Forces. “McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace said later that U.S. troops will compose some of the additional brigades McCain would send to Afghanistan, but not all of them. ‘Will we contribute? Of course we will,’ she said.” [Washington Post, 5/15/08]


SUNDAY: New York Times Quoted McCain Saying That He Doesn’t Believe In Gay Adoption. “Mr. McCain, who with his wife, Cindy, has an adopted daughter, said flatly that he opposed allowing gay couples to adopt. ‘I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption,’ he said.” [New York Times, 7/13/08]

TODAY: McCain Campaign Clarified Position; Said It Was A State Issue And That McCain Believes “Caring Parental Figures Are Better For The Child Than The Alternative.” “On Tuesday, as criticism of McCain's comments spread, his campaign elaborated on the candidate's views. ‘John McCain could have been clearer in the interview in stating that his position on gay adoption is that it is a state issue. ... He was not endorsing any federal legislation,’ a campaign statement said. ‘Sen. McCain's expressed his personal preference for children to be raised by a mother and a father wherever possible,’ the statement added. ‘However, as an adoptive father himself, McCain believes children deserve loving and caring home environments, and he recognizes that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes. John McCain believes that in those situations that caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative.’” [Associated Press, 7/15/08]


For the Second Day In A Row, McCain Refers to Czechoslovakia – A Country That No Longer Exists. As MSNBC noted, “For the second time in two days, McCain has made a reference to ‘Czechoslovakia.’ His answers were about contemporary events, not history. McCain did not use the current name Czech Republic, the country formed in January 1993 when Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The first instance was yesterday during a media news availability and the second today during a town hall meeting.” [MSNBC’s First Read, 7/15/08, http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/07/15/1200003.aspx]

ABC News Noted That This Isn’t The First Time McCain Has Mistakenly Referred to Czechoslovakia. “In early 2000, then-Gov. George W. Bush told Roger Simon, then with U.S. News & World Report, that he was befuddled by how soft the media was on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. ‘I don't think there is any plot; I hope there isn't,’ Bush said. "But it's an amazing phenomenon, I'll tell you that. It's like the flap over the foreign-leader deal. A guy gets up and quizzes me -- it's my fault for trying to answer -- but John McCain says something about the 'ambassador to Czechoslovakia.' Well, I know there is no Czechoslovakia (there's a Czech Republic and a Slovakia), but yet it didn't make the nightly national news. I'm not going to gripe about it, but the media question is starting to pop up.’ Apparently that Czechoslovakia lesson never took, because McCain keeps making that mistake, eight years later.” [ABC News’ Political Punch, 7/15/08, http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/07/mccain-keeps-me.html]

Politico: McCain Campaign Released Statement Yesterday “Cleaning Up” The Reference to Czechoslovakia. As the Politico noted, “yesterday, McCain's campaign sent out a statement pointedly referring to the ‘Czech Republic,’ cleaning up his latest reference to the defunct state of Czechoslovakia.” [Politico, 5/15/08, http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0708/Jeste_jednou_Czechoslovakia.html]