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Sunday, January 27, 2008
posted by Jeff Fuller | 8:38 PM | permalink
(Apologies to the film Network for borrowing the headline above . . . YouTube here--a great moment in cinematic history and worth the 4 minutes)

Much has been said on Romney blogs and elsewhere expressing outrage at McCain's desperate tactic to dishonestly smear Gov. Romney's stance on "timetables" and the Iraq war. It's blatantly apparent that McCain only did this to bring the issue of "Iraq" back into the race. McCain knows (and has repeatedly admitted) that "the Economy" is not his strong point, and that he'll lose to Romney in a head to head fight when that is the #1 issue. So, McCain's solution is to invent a controversial position for his main rival that plays to his own strength. Pitiful politics at its worst.

I've heard this false "timetables" accusation once before (good old Huck), so I was initially willing to believe that McCain was maybe just going off of bad information--that he would correct the situation once he realized the context. But when Romney's recommendation for a McCain apology was met with a "Romney should apologize to the troops for being willing to abandon them" (paraphrased) rebuttal I started getting downright angry.

When I realized that yesterday McCain said "My friends, I was there — he said he wanted a timetable for withdrawal" my anger turned to OUTRAGE!

Then on Meet the Press this morning, Tim Russert went softball on McCain on this issue with no follow-up, allowing McCain to repeat his position unchallenged with the follow-up of "please read on Senator" when Romney says that he would, like President Bush, veto any legislation setting timetables for Iraq. That's either biased or shoddy journalism folks.

McCain is LYING! He's inventing this pseudo-smear to bring back his preferred issue into the limelight . . . Iraq. Then I find out that, last year, McCain recommended a similar strategy (and his would have been PUBLIC . . . in contrast to Romney's) of benchmarks that, if not met by a certain date, would lead to pulling out of Iraq before success was achieved!! This took my OUTRAGE to the next level . . . the "I'M MAD AS HELL! AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!" level.

Who's with me here?

I'm sure every Romney supporter is at least outraged. Most may be outraged enough to make it harder for McCain to count on any significant support from Romney's base if he were to get the nomination. I can tell you that I'm mad enough that I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR JOHN McCAIN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES AND I'LL DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO INFLUENCE OTHERS TO WITHHOLD THEIR SUPPORT AND VOTES FROM HIM AS WELL. Romney has always supported the troops and the war, even while governing liberal Mass. For McCain to imply otherwise is sickening (McCain went further and actually implied that Romney's position was the same as Hillary Clinton's on timetables!).

Beyond Romney's supporters "McCain Disdain" should be felt by every conservative and pro-Military American, who should view him with much less respect for dragging the American soldiers into this contrived controversy. Utterly shameless Senator McCain.

I know a lot of conservatives with influence see how dishonest McCain is being. But even the liberal MSM is calling this "scuffle" for Romney. This isn't just a nuanced misunderstanding, this is dirty politics full of tricks and lies, and it's pretty easy to see where the facts stand.

The evidence:

I've documented before how slanted the AP has been in their pro-McCain/anti-Romney bias.

So when the AP sides with Romney over McCain, you KNOW it's iron clad and there's no way for ANYONE to honestly see things from McCain's point of view.
The Arizona senator stood before a crowd in Sun City, Fla., and said he was quoting Romney as favoring a ''timetable for withdrawal.'' However, quotes circulated by McCain's campaign didn't show Romney making that comment.
. . .
By raising Iraq, McCain sought to shift the campaign in Florida back to his strength, national security, and away from Romney's, the economy.
. . .
During the campaign stop later in Sun City, McCain clipped three words from a quotation of Romney's last April, saying the former Massachusetts believed the country should set a ''timetable for withdrawal.''

In an interview with ABC News last April, Romney never uttered those words
. . .
Romney aides labeled McCain's charge ''stunningly false'' in an e-mail to campaign reporters.
Other liberal sources that see McCain's misleading dishonesty include the New York Times (yep, the same paper that just endorsed McCain again . . . and yes, McCain sought out that endorsement), and Time Magazine (yep, the same magazine that just ran an incredibly positive cover and story about McCain being the "Phoenix Rising" in the race).

And CNN legal analyst calls it right in the YouTube below:

Text here:
JEFF TOOBIN: Speaking of straight talk, no American politician has gotten more adoring press coverage than John McCain. But let's be clear about what John McCain is doing about Mitt Romney. He's lying. He's lying about Mitt Romney's position, no question about it. And you know I think that — this idea that Mitt Romney supports timetables, in fact most Americans support timetables to get out of Iraq, Mitt Romney doesn't happen to be one of them. That's really outrageous what McCain is doing bringing up this ancient interview and distorting it at the last minute so he doesn't have to talk about the economy.
Among conservatives there's plenty of displeasure with McCain's tactic as well:

Brit Hume flat out said that "McCain was dishonest" on this issue on Fox News Sunday this morning. Hume said it TWICE! He was even exasperated that Chris Wallace was trying to present McCain's side of it by rebutting (paraphrased) "Chris, as journalists we have a duty to try to present things accurately . . ."

Sean Hannity was railing on McCain for this tactic last night on a special Saturday edition of Hannity and Colmes. Expect more of it from Sean on his Radio and TV shows tomorrow (not to mention what Rush will have to say tomorrow!!)

"The Great One" Mark Levin, has seemed to make somewhat of a personal crusade out of this issue. See here, here, here, here, and here.

Center-Right influential blogger Ed Morrissey has plenty to say about the whole affair, but even his title "The Low Blow" pretty much sums it up. (BTW, he just endorsed Romney over at Captain's Quarters)

Katherine Jean Lopez of the National Review has chimed in too.

Powerline's Paul Mirengoff blast's Lindsey Graham for trying to defend McCain (and mis-characterize Romney) on this issue.

Bill Bennett (a strong McCain apologist and friend) said on CNN that McCain's Iraq hit on Romney [was] "below the belt" and said "honor has been McCain's watchword" — he should admit that was wrong to do.

Mark Steyn gets in on the act at NRO's "The Corner" by calling McCain's petty attacks unseemly for a candidate trying to give the impression that he always "takes the high road of honor"

Hugh Hewitt presents the Romney Campaign's defense.

Andy McCarthy also chimes in with a little sarcasm directed McCain's way (saying he should follow his own Campaign Finance Reform guidelines and not drop baseless bombshells within 30 days of an election)

By contrast, Huckabee (on Fox News Sunday) said that McCain has NEVER been dishonest, and sided with the Senator's opinion that Romney really did support a timetable for withdrawl. Big surprise there, eh?

If Romney survives this tag-team from his two main GOP rivals in addition to the nearly incessant negative media coverage (present topic excluded) he'll really be "The Resilient One"--a nominee we can put up against the Dems and their MSM machine with no fear of whether he can survive such a media/DNC onslaught.

Jeff Fuller

Update: Adding to the sources above, Kyle Hampton's post adds some more confirmatory evidence of McCain's lie.
Quin Hillyer: John McCain today flat-out lied about Gov. Romney's position on the troop "surge," etc. This is no surprise. McCain's "straight talk express" has been anything but straight for quite some time now. He has been making false claims about what his position on immigration was just last summer. He has been making false claims about why he opposed Bush's tax cuts. He has been making false claims about Romney's stance on "torture." He has made misleading (not exactly false, but certainly misleading) representations about Giuliani's position on the line item veto. He has misrepresented his helpfulness on judicial nominations. And I know I am forgetting some of the other things he has not been exactly straight about.

Allahpundit: Yeah, pretty egregious. He never said he “wanted” to withdraw or that he wanted a date set, and it’s patently clear he doesn’t want any timetables publicly announced.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: It’s a reminder — like the McCain campaign’s dishonest line of attack this weekend — that as admirable McCain is as both a hero and a politician, he is not irreproachable even on national-security issues. McCain is fond of saying he’d rather lose a political campaign than a war; he now seems to be swimming close to using the war to win a political campaign in the most dishonest of ways. It’s conduct unbecoming a man we all respect.

Marc Ambinder: Then he was asked to justify his contention that Romney once supported a withdrawal timetable for Iraq. (I wrote this morning that McCain "stretched" history with the remark, and a few moments before this particular question received a stern talking to by two McCain aides and one reporter.)

David Freddoso: McCain’s unfair stab at Romney this weekend may not cost him anything. The endorsement from Florida’s popular governor, Charles Crist, came at just the right time to bury the item in the local news. And if he does win the nomination, this moment may not even be remembered. Unfortunately, the truth is always too complicated for a quick explanation.
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Excellent summation my friend. I could not sleep last night because of McCain's dirty trick. And that is exactly what it was...a dirty trick. As soon as I heard McCain lie about Romney's position the first thing I thought of was dirty tricks. The second thing I thought of was if this was indeed the case and Mitt Romney did advocate for a timetable for withdrawal, why didn't McCain point this out earlier...say in September for example. Can one reporter ask McCain this simple question?
Romney should simply say, read the whole transcript of what I said. This type of thing is what we see from Washington insiders like John Mccain. We see it in the Democratic race. False accusations being hurled from the established Washington candidate directed at the relative outsider. McCain is no better. He did it to Bush in 2000, he is doing it again to Romney in 2008. Hopefully McCain will recieve the same fate.

By Anonymous Pete_Bondurant, at January 27, 2008 at 8:51 PM  

McCain disdain. I like that. I feel that.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at January 27, 2008 at 8:53 PM  

I'm with you there, unlike the remarks McCain's mother made I won't be "holding my nose" to vote for him. I could care less whether Hillary or Obama is the nominee for the Democrats. I will vote 3rd Party or just not even vote if John McCain is the GOP nominee.

Sen's. McCain, Graham, Martinez, and Gov. Crist--the Amnesty wing of the Republican Party do Not deserve to be where they are today. I hope when any of them are running for re-election they all are voted out and I will personally donate money to Any person running in opposition to them on Primary Days in the future.

I thought Fox News was supposed to be "Fair and Balanced." Chris Wallace looked ridiculous trying to defend John McCain on this one. I hope McCain's dirty-little-trick backfires on him the way the Clinton's "race card" backfired in South Carolina.

By Anonymous Arkansas Voter, at January 27, 2008 at 9:25 PM  

John McCain has already lost my vote for eternity with his awful amnesty proposal...or maybe it was his campaign finance wait, I think it was the Gang of, his violent outbursts in the Senate. Oh man, I have no idea. All I know is that there is absolutely NO WAY that I will ever vote for McCain, and I'll add Huckabee to that as well. I'll vote 3rd party or Dem first.

I'm from Arizona and have never been a McCain supporter. This, however, goes to the heart of the image McCain has tried to paint for himself--that above all else, even if you disagree with him, you can count on him to talk straight. He has lost his only virtue. When power is at stake, he's willing to lie.

So much for the straight talk express !!

His behavior smacks of panic, I bet their internal polls are telling them that Mitts lead is widening by the minute. This false attach will backfire big time, In fact it has taken away from the attention that Gov Christ has endorced him.

I'm glad to see Mitt has pivoted nicely and is back on his economy message today.

Go Mitt !!


I must say that I am totally shocked at the obvious political maneuvering on the part of McCain.


I AM MAD AS HELL, AND I AM NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE! My WORD! I have been absolutely ticked off all weekend just thinking about the foolishness and irresponsibility of this attack from McCain. The poor guy, really- he knows he is absolutely a moron when it comes to the economy (as evidenced by the hilarious answer he gave to Ron Paul at the Florida debate... "I have no idea who is on the Fed, or what the Fed does, or... what's an interest rate again? I am going to rely on this guy, and this other guy..."), so he has to contrive a way to push the war/foreign policy experience to the forefront. Absolutely shameful. He has lost my vote (the Huckster lost it a long time ago)- if he runs against Obama, I will vote Obama- if he runs against Clinton, I am going to write in Tiger Woods. Arrggh! If I only had a picture of McCain, some tape, and a dart board...

The thing is McCain is willing to lie and Swiftboat another Republican but he would never try a stunt like this against a Dem because that's where his soul lies.He exploits his military service and a lot of kind hearted people fall for it.The GOP establishment is rallying behind McCain because they want the status quo in DC. They are afraid Romney will shut down the pork machine and the lobbyists don't want that.I see so much disdain for McCain on the internet,it's amazing he's as close in the races as he is. Must be all name ID.

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