And he wants to run on the Bush Iraq plan? Iraqis don't seem to be so enthralled by it, considering the upsurge in violence during McCain and Cheney's concurrent visits. Of course, to them, that's progress.
Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.
He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.
Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."
Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."
The mistake threatened to undermine McCain's argument that his decades of foreign policy experience make him the natural choice to lead a country at war with terrorists. In recent days, McCain has repeatedly said his intimate knowledge of foreign policy make him the best equipped to answer a phone ringing in the White House late at night.
McCain was in Jordan leading a week-long Congressional delegation and has stressed that the trip was not political, despite the decision to hold a fundraiser in London later this week.
Think Progress has the audio. It's lucky for McCain that his ol'buddy Lieberman was there to correct him. And about that fundraiser in London?...as Joe at AmBlog says:
Big week for John McCain. He's on a taxpayer funded photo op excursion around the world. Pretty bold for a guy who beats up on wasteful spending to use government money to finance what is basically a campaign trip. Then, he's got the fundraiser in London, hosted by a British Lord. Imagine the outrage if a Democrat sent out a fundraising invite with the words "by kind permission of Lord Rothschild OM GBE."