Editor at Large Policy Politics

Of Course McCain Knows Who Zapatero Is…Right?

I’ve listened to the English interview that John McCain did with Yoli (Yoly, if you read the Washington Post account) Cuello of Radio Caracol. The Republican presidential candidate does do a good job of acting as if he knows exactly what he’s saying, although he does hit those talking points annoyingly hard.

It’s only if you study the transcript that McCain really does seem as if he might be mistaking Zapatero for a leader from somewhere in the southern hemisphere:

…all I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us, and standing up to those who are not, and that’s judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America, and the entire region.

The newsworthy part is that even after Cuello ensures that McCain understands that she’s talking about Spain, an issue that her director notes she was encouraged to ask about because “we’re owned by this big company in Spain,”, he repeats the same answer:

I am 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 that do not.

Bush Between The Lines

George W. Bush has never met with President Zapatero personally or invited him to the White House. Zapatero’s Socialist party (PSOE) wrenched power from the conservative Popular Party (PP) after the Madrid bombings occurred just before the election. I remember the masses of people who turned out in Barcelona’s Plaça Catalunya to protest when they thought the PP was stonewalling the investigation. I was among them.

Once he took office, Zapi pulled Spain’s troops out of Iraq, just as he had promised. And Bush gave him the cold shoulder.

Does McCain’s canned response hide an explicit message to his supporters? Can they count on him not just to continue Bush’s grudges, but to increase them?

The Spanish Catch It

Not only is McCain being ambiguous here, he seems to be flip-flopping as well – but you wouldn’t know it unless you read the Spanish newspaper El País.

That’s why I’ve translated some relevant coverage from Spanish into English here for your enjoyment. El País is owned by the same “big company in Spain”, Grupo Prisa, that controls Radio Caracol.

These declarations from McCain contrast with the ones he made to EL PAÍS last April, when he said that, “it’s time to leave behind discrepancies with Spain.” He added, “I would like for [President Zapatero] to visit the United States.” Yesterday diplomatic media attributed the Republican candidate’s attitude to confusion, since the interview centered on relations with Latin America and the reporter had to remind him that Spain is a European country when he insisted on using Mexico as an example. In the best case it would be evidence of his ignorance with respect to Zapatero.

The emphasis on that last quote is mine, of course. As Kos says, you can’t make this stuff up.

2 replies on “Of Course McCain Knows Who Zapatero Is…Right?”

I am very disappointed that this story isn’t getting any attention in the US media.

I am too. Doesn’t anyone care if McCain is confusing Europe with Latin America?

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