In John McCain’s interview with George Stephanopoulos yesterday, McCain was asked about an issue that he rarely talks about: affirmative action.
That McCain answered by talking about his opposition to “quotas” was, of course, ridiculous. “Quotas” and “affirmative action” are not the same thing, as McCain knows (or, at least, after 26 years in Congress, should know). But just as importantly, McCain’s position comes as something of a surprise, given that he used to take the opposite position, even having described ballot initiatives like the one this year in Arizona as “divisive.”
OK, so McCain flip-flopped. That’s hardly a shock; he does this all the time. What’s interesting, though, is that McCain may not actually know his own position on the issue.
After the interview aired, and Barack Obama expressed his “disappointment” with McCain’s response, CNN followed up with the McCain campaign directly. McCain’s spokesperson, Tucker Bounds, told CNN via a written statement, “John McCain has always been opposed to government-mandated hiring quotas…. He has long stood for the protection of civil rights and equal opportunity for all Americans.”
CNN’s report added, “But pressed about whether McCain indeed supports the Arizona initiative, the campaign would not answer.”
There are already serious questions about whether McCain is able to speak on behalf of the McCain campaign. This won't help.