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Talking Points Memo | The Rain In Spain Mainly Falling on McCain

To recap, tonight we've been discussing Sen. McCain's bizarre interview in which he appeared not to know who Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero was and, in an effort to wing it, assumed he must be another left-wing, anti-American leader from Latin America. In the Spanish press analysis of the interview, at least, many seem uncertain whether McCain even knows where Spain is, though that strikes me as a bit excessive.

Just how this will get played in the American press will be interesting to see because it cuts to two of McCain's key vulnerabilities -- the first being his apparently rather shaky foreign policy experience if can't identify the leader of a major NATO ally and the second being what I guess we would call declining mental acuity.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Sep 18th, 2008 at 04:48:06 AM EST
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In the Spanish press analysis of the interview, at least, many seem uncertain whether McCain even knows where Spain is, though that strikes me as a bit excessive.

No, not excessive.

Many people in Spain would have memories of being exchange students in the US and encountering people who think that to go to Spain you 'go towards Mexico and turn left'.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 18th, 2008 at 04:56:40 AM EST
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bbbutm it's true, if you have a hovercraft and a lot of fuel...

/dux

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Sep 18th, 2008 at 05:25:08 AM EST
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The thing is, it's one thing for Joe Sixpack to not know.  Joe Sixpack doesn't need to for any purpose other than to avoid sounding like an idiot.  But McCain apparently thinks Spain is run by Latin-American communists or something.

¡Dios mio!

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Sep 18th, 2008 at 08:12:45 AM EST
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In the Spanish press analysis of the interview, at least, many*[citation needed]* seem uncertain whether McCain even knows where Spain is, though that strikes me as a bit excessive.
I can't find anything of the sort in the El Pais story.

What El Pais says is that McCain avoiding answer a question on whether he'd meet with Zapatero (whom the Bush administration has shunned since he pulled out of Iraq in May 2004) by saying that he "would meet with all leaders who are our friends" or "all leaders of countries that share our values". He also said that he needs to "reevaluate the foreign policy priorities" and "pay attention to latin americs" (hence the inference that he thinks Spain is in Latin America).

So I don't know that the TPM story is accurate.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 18th, 2008 at 08:18:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
El candidato republicano no se compromete a ver a Zapatero si gana · ELPAÍS.com

Estas declaraciones de McCain contrastan con las que hizo a EL PAÍS en abril pasado, cuando dijo que "es el momento de dejar atrás discrepancias con España". Y añadió: "Me gustaría que [el presidente Zapatero] visitara Estados Unidos". En medios diplomáticos se atribuía ayer la actitud del candidato republicano a una confusión, pues la entrevista se centraba en las relaciones con Latinoamérica y la periodista tuvo que recordarle que España es un país europeo cuando insistió en poner como ejemplo a México. En el mejor de los casos evidenciaría su ignorancia respecto a Zapatero.

La celebración de una entrevista entre los dos presidentes es una prioridad de la diplomacia española. Se da por descontado que la cita no tendrá lugar hasta bien avanzado 2009, pues el ganador de las elecciones de noviembre tomará posesión en enero y deberá formar su equipo y atender otros problemas más urgentes que ocuparse de España. Pero se quiere que Zapatero vaya a Washington antes de que, en el primer semestre de 2010, el nuevo inquilino de la Casa Blanca asista en España a la cumbre Unión Europea-EE UU. La semana que viene acudirá Zapatero a Nueva York para la Asamblea General de la ONU, pero lo máximo que se espera es algún contacto del ministro Miguel Ángel Moratinos con su homóloga, Condoleezza Rice.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Sep 18th, 2008 at 12:11:27 PM EST
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There is a transcript of the radio interview.

I think that he wasn't briefed on Spain, which is fair since Bush's diplomatic snubs to ZP are more of an issue ofr Spain than for the US. The US right wing has long stopped trotting out ZP's surrender to Al Qaeda. So McCain just punted, to the effect of "tell me whether ZP is a friend or an enemy and I'll do the right thing". And there was the strange thing about mentioning Mexico in response to a question about ZP, but really the interviewer just insisted and insisted and didn't let go when it was clear McCain didn't have a line on ZP.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 18th, 2008 at 12:22:15 PM EST
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You'd think that Mr. Foreign Policy Experience would recognize the name of the guy who has been running Spain for some time, when the interviewer repeatedly says they're talking about Spain, the place in Europe, not Latin America. You'd also assume that his briefers would mention that minor detail when he's about to get interviewed by a Spanish network. Or maybe he just thinks that all those 'Spanish' people live south of the border.
by MarekNYC on Thu Sep 18th, 2008 at 12:30:03 PM EST
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