Republican presidential nominee John McCain suggested this week that he would continue President Bush’s policy of having cool relations with the government of Spain, despite having made starkly contrasting statements to the Spanish press earlier this year saying he looked forward to normalized relations with the NATO ally.
In comments that have caused a kerfuffle in Spain, McCain seemed to lump Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero in the same category as the anti-American leaders of Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba. McCain’s remarks came during in an English-language interview with Radio Caracol WSUA 1260AM in Miami, part of the Spanish-language radio group Union Radio, conducted Tuesday.
Zapatero is a center-left politician, but McCain has suggested that as president he would seek to repair relations that have been badly frayed in Europe during Bush’s tenure. In an early-April interview with a reporter from Spanish newspaper El Pais, McCain said, “This is the moment to leave behind discrepancies with Spain.”
The reporter for the Miami radio station seemed surprised that McCain, after discussing anti-American antagonists in Latin South America, acted so coolly to the idea of 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,” McCain said, throwing in words of praise for the Mexican government.
The reporter asked four–count ’em, uno, dos, tres, quatro!–times, kids, giving him an opportunity to remove his foot from his boca, but still Captain Underpants repeated…
“I’m willing to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for human rights, democracy and freedom and I will stand up to those who are not.”
That McCain would lump Zapatero in with such Latin American bad guys as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez comes as a surprise, because Zapatero and Juan Carlos, the King of Spain, were the protagonists in one of the most public anti-Chavez moments in the Spanish-speaking world.
So, was McCain purposely trying to diss the Spanish leader? Questions about whether McCain forgot which country Zapatero leads, got confused about Spain’s geographic relationship to Latin America, or confused Zapatero with the Zapatista rebels from Mexico have exploded on blogs since reports of the interview first surfaced.
McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann [sic] said McCain’s answer was intentional.
(Seems the Straight Talk Express bus is being followed around by a What He Meant to Say minivan these days!)
Neither Obama nor Biden took up the issue of McCain’s remarks about Zapatero Thursday. But Tony Blinken, a longtime foreign policy aide to Sen. Joe Biden who is now on his campaign staff, said in a phone call on Thursday evening that it was unfortunate that McCain would “preemptively poison the well” with a NATO ally.
Worse still, Blinken said, would be if the McCain campaign were adopting a new, hardline policy toward Spain just to cover up a gaffe.
Sooooooo, let’s see. What else could Captain Underpants possible do to piss off our amigos? Well, there’s this…
From Think Progress:
During a speech today in Tampa, FL, McCain repeatedly referred to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, the corporation that “return[s] customers’ cash, stock and other securities” if a brokerage goes bankrupt, and is known as the SIPC — as S-P-I-C. (emphasis mine)
It’s possible that McCain misspoke (twice!) in rattling off what he called “the alphabet soup” of regulators, but the error appeared both times in the prepared text released by the campaign. Which raises the question: does he know what he’s talking about or is he just reading what is put in front of him?
From the speech:
Too many firms on Wall Street have been able to count on casual oversight by regulatory agencies in Washington. And there are so many of those regulators that the responsibility for oversight is scattered, unfocused and ineffective. Among others, we’ve got the SEC, the CFTC, the FDIC, the SPIC and the OCC.
Oh, and there’s this to ponder, too, niños:
[…] SIPC is not a regulator. […] SIPC’s own web site […] states “Though created by the Securities Investor Protection Act (15 U.S.C. §78aaa et seq., as amended), SIPC is neither a government agency nor a regulatory authority. It is a nonprofit, membership corporation, funded by its member securities broker-dealers.”
Asked for a comment, Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, remarked, “I can see a Taco Bell from my office window, so I am totally ready to take on relations with all the Spanish-speaking countries!”