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« Civil Rights - 4 Decades | Main | Finally a Plan for the Economy »
Tuesday
Sep302008

McCain/Palin Blame Voter For Asking Question

Most of you have probably heard about this:

According to the pool report of the stop [in South Philly - Wes], one customer there named Michael Rovito briefly pressed Palin on her position on Pakistan, and how she would handle attacks on American troops in Afghanistan by terrorists based in Pakistan's Waziristan border region.

"It's working with Zardari to make sure that we’re all working together to stop the guys from coming in over the border. And we'll go from there," Palin said of working with new Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, who she met in New York last week.

When asked by Rovito whether the U.S. should conduct cross-border raids into Pakistan fom Afghanistan, Palin responded, "If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should."

Hey, if we have to go cross-border, we do it to get the terrorists.  There's nothing wrong with that position - except for the fact that John McCain has been hammering Barack Obama for holding the same position, suggesting that you just don't say those things "out loud."  Well, guess what?  The problem isn't that Palin's position is close to Obama's, but rather that a voter asked a question and it's all "gotcha" journalism.  From the McCain/Palin joint interview with Katie Couric:

Couric: Is that something you shouldn't say out loud, Senator McCain?
McCain: Of course not.  But, look, I understand this day and age "gotcha" journalism.  Is that a pizza place?  In a conversation with someone who you didn't hear ... the question very well, you don't know the context of the conversation. Grab a phrase.  Gov. Palin and I agree that you don't announce that you're going to attack another country.
"'Gotcha' journalism?"  "Grab a phrase?"  We get this from the guy who turned Biden's comment on coal-fired plants (which, by McCain's definition, was definitely a situation identical to Palin's) into TWO campaign ads?  Uh huh...but wait, it gets better.  Couric asks Palin a question, and McCain basically jumps in to frame Palin's answer before she can speak:
Couric: Are you sorry you said it ...
McCain: ...And the fact ...
Couric: Governor?
McCain: Wait a minute.  Before you say, "is she sorry she said it," this was a "gotcha" sound bite that, look ...
Couric: It wasn't a "gotcha."  She was talking to a voter.
McCain: No, she was in a conversation with a group of people and talking back and forth.  And ...I'll let Gov. Palin speak for herself.
This begs a question - if Palin can't handle a question from Katie Couric without McCain jumping in, how on earth is she going to handle Congress or foreign leaders, both of which can (and often are) far more difficult than is Couric?  Ah, but I digress...back to the interview.  Palin then basically neuters McCain's argument, ignores his framing and agrees with Couric, but eventually gets back on script with the "can't tip our hand" quote:
Palin: Well, it ... in fact, you're absolutely right on.  In the context, this was a voter, a constituent, hollering out a question from across an area asking, "What are you gonna do about Pakistan?  You better have an answer to Pakistan."  I said we're gonna do what we have to do to protect the United States of America.
Couric: But you were pretty specific about what you wanted to do, cross-border ...
Palin: Well, as Sen. McCain is suggesting here, also, never would our administration get out there and show our cards to terrorists, in this case, to enemies and let them know what the game plan was, not when that could ultimately adversely affect a plan to keep America secure.
Of course, in the end it's just 'gotcha' journalism, even though it was really a voter asking a question:
Couric: What did you learn from that experience?
Palin: That this is all about "gotcha" journalism.  A lot of it is. But that's okay, too.
No, it isn't gotcha journalism, and Palin isn't being picked on.  I'll be the first one to say that Palin took a lot of grief that she didn't deserve after her nomination--especially where her daughter Bristol was concerned--but this was a voter that asked her a direct question, and she gave a direct and specific answer.  Reporting on that statement is NOT 'gotcha' journalism, and such is completely legitimate.  Trying to brush this off as nothing more than 'sound bite' warfare or 'gotcha' journalism is an insult to the American voter, and it's another sign of desperation from the McCain campaign.

The truly sad thing is that I, for one, WANT the terrorists to know that we'll chase them wherever they hide.  I think it's a good thing that the terrorists believe that no 'safe haven' exists.  If we know that people who have attacked us are hiding in country [X] and country [X] won't cooperate, you're darned right I want to see some Predators in the air.  Heck, that's why we invaded Afghanistan, isn't it?


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Reader Comments (7)

Wes,

We get it. You love Sarah Palin.

September 30, 2008 at 12:21 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Miller

Nah, not quite. To be honest, she might become quite the formidable candidate with a bit more leavening; if anything, I think McCain hurt her long-term possibilities by picking her too early.

McCain's judgment in picking Palin now was absolutely horrendous, and we see more and more evidence of that on a near-daily basis.

September 30, 2008 at 13:00 | Registered Commenterwesmorgan1

Is anybody besides me having problems with the front page?


Grey font on a black background is awfully difficult to read.

September 30, 2008 at 14:21 | Unregistered CommenterkwAwk

That interview was a complete disaster for Palin. I'm so glad she was exposed as an idiot now instead of after the election like George W. Bush. And last Saturday's SNL skit was freakin hysterical! Half of Tina Fey's lines were taken verbatim from the actual transcript.

There was another interesting developement in the Couric interview. Palin was asked if she knew about any other Supreme Court cases besides Roe v. Wade. Palin was dumbfounded.

In Palin's defense, I doubt the average citizen could name more than few other cases besides Roe. In all honesty, I had to think for a few minutes just to come up with 4. They were Brown v. Board, Miranda, Dred Scott, and Marbury v. Madison. That being said, I'm just an average shmoe off the street, not a candidate.

Don't we expect more from someone running for Vice President of the United States? If not, we should. And what does this say about the McCain campaign's vetting process? Aren't these exactly the types of questions that should be asked of a potential candidate before before being selected?

September 30, 2008 at 14:52 | Unregistered CommenterThe Egg Man

Egg Man postioning Katie Couric as the brainiac. No thats funny.

September 30, 2008 at 16:51 | Unregistered CommenterThomas Miller

I don't think this proves a thing really...
when one media source says it's so great when Obama says it...
and then turns it into a smear tactic, irregardless of how substantial it is...
it holds little to no water in the end.

Wes, you repeating Katie Couric doesn't help your argument either...
not when the statement was made, "this was a voter, a constituent, hollering out a question from across an area..." without you being there and seeing it yourself, you're coming off as sounding like Katie Couric, something we all know you're better than. She only looks decent, her statements though usually result in a 7" letdown.

I'm still confused by everybody's positions too...
What again is the problem with returning fire at Pakistan?
This is not even close to a statement regarding Obama's bombing of them.
And, do people even realize that this is going on ??

MY primary question would be... What does Pakistan have to hide?
McCain's & Obama's statements were made well prior to recent events.
McCain looked like a politician making them, Obama looked like he wasn't told what to say yet.
(although he'll spin it now as "judegement to lead", despite never having distinct intel...
something we still haven't fully attained it, but we're working on it
... and each shot fired at us gives us a better understanding)

I just get this feeling though...
It's going to happen Wes, a larger war...
I get this sense that we're merely setting up a solid footing wherever we can.
Like it or not, this war is far from over... still a lot of crazy Muslim extremists out there.

Anybody know of the most recent death tolls of our American soldiers along that border?
I know it's over 100 for 2008, but I assume it's gone up with increasing firefights.
I haven't heard the latest, but I'm sure it isn't good.

The Pakistani military has admitted to the presense of Al Qaeda and Taliban fugitives within its borders, and has further admitted that it is experiencing difficulty in eradicating them. Despite what they know WE know, they are still extremely hesitant to any and all U.S. aid towards them in the War on Terror. The Pakistani government has been adamant since September 3 that it does not want U.S. troops within its borders.

So... seriously...
What are they trying to hide?
THAT should be the question we're asking...
... not what some fly by night in a pizza joint ranted.
Couric should have stated a question like that, instead of claiming the pizza parlor guy
... as a "conversation with a voter"

Politically speaking...
If anything McCain should re-evaluate the border given it's most recent actions...
a new strategy and outlook would be easily legitimized due to the most recent threats...
and still makes Obama look like he doesn't fully understand the conflict.
If he knew better, he'd be hammering away at this,
but his rustlers aren't letting off the muzzle yet.

Pakistan is slowly proving a larger involvement with Al Qaeda and the Taliban,
whether it be through monetary bribes or shelter.
i think we SHOULD be going in and shooting back,
... but instead Bush prefers empty threats.


If it truly is a war on terror... Pakistan MAY be an ally provided we float them benefit of doubt,
but there certainly is something fishy going on when they're sending orders to initiate fire at the U.S.

I think Palin has a better understanding than you want to lead us to believe Wes,
and I'd certainly take her judgement over Obama's failed rhetoric on the war.
this is still a political angle he's trying to figure out how to play...
hopefully I just made it simple for him.


But to ensure that nobody mistakes me for going all Democrat on them...
I still think if Obama wins in '08 the war is lost.
All hope will be pulled out of there anyway.
Or at least give a timeline...
which is the same thing...
only delayed...
like a
slow
dea
th
!!
!

September 30, 2008 at 17:50 | Unregistered Commenterskinny

Skinny wrote:

I'm still confused by everybody's positions too...
What again is the problem with returning fire at Pakistan?
This is not even close to a statement regarding Obama's bombing of them.
Here's what Obama actually said, back during the Democratic debates last year:
Obama said if elected in November 2008 he would be willing to attack inside Pakistan with or without approval from the Pakistani government, a move that would likely cause anxiety in the already troubled region.

"If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," Obama said.

You can see a more recent report on the question here, and here's what Obama said during the Presidential debate:
"Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan," Obama said after McCain accused the Illinois senator of wanting to announce an invasion. "If the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out."
Here's what Palin said:
"If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should," Palin said.

There isn't that much difference there; in fact, the after-the-fact clarifications took the form of "we don't tip our hand," not that military actions in Pakistan should be off the table; in fact, both Palin and McCain have stressed that all options are on the table.

So, this whole "controversy" boils down to the fact that Obama explicitly mentioned one option; McCain and Palin have that option as well, but suggest that it was somehow wrong to say that the option exists.

October 1, 2008 at 14:08 | Registered Commenterwesmorgan1

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