Thursday, September 18, 2008

McCain doesn't like Spain

What a way for McCain to start making foreign policy!

From the Washington Post:

"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 on Tuesday."

In an interview with reporter Yoli Cuello, McCain was asked to discuss relations with Spain and whether he would meet with Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero. McCain at first segued into a discussion of Latin America. When the reporter repeated Zapatero's name, McCain again talked about Latin America. And when the reporter stressed that she was talking about Spain, McCain wouldn't say whether he'd meet with the Spanish leader.

Speaking to Greg Sargent of Talking Points Memo, Cuello said she doesn't believe that McCain didn't know who Prime Minister Zapatero is or where Spain was. Instead, she believes that McCain was deliberately ducking the question of whether he'd meet with the Spanish Prime Minister.

This impression was comfirmed by the Washington Post, which reports

"McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann said McCain's answer was intentional. "The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain's willingness to meet Zapatero (and id'd him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred). Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview," he said in an e-mail."

Update: Max Bergman writes:

"This is beyond extreme. This is beyond reckless. This is insane.
McCain won't meet with a NATO ally, that has nearly 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, that has lost more than 20 soldiers there, has been brutally attacked by Al Qaeda, is incredibly influential in Latin America, has the seventh largest economy in the world, is a DEMOCRACY, and is a large and influential country in the EU. Won't meet with them?"

And over at the Huffington Post, Marisa TreviƱo writes that Spain's media is in an "uproar over McCain's comments regarding Prime Minister Zapatero." She adds,

"What's interesting is that McCain has more in common with Zapatero than he realizes. Zapatero's administration has come under fire for cracking down on undocumented workers and supporting the European Union's new "Return Directive" which will go into effect in 2010 and allows for the jailing of undocumented migrants for up to 18 months while awaiting deportation.

In the Republican playbook, Zapatero should be a great ally.

Yet, because Sen. McCain knows the leaders of foreign countries, as he says he does, Zapatero and Spain must be viewed in a cautious light with further evaluation before Zapatero would be invited to the White House under McCain's watch."

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