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Don't Know Much 'Bout Geography...or Foreign Policy...or Heads Of State: McCain Slights Spanish PM

How embarrassing...nothing like another President determined to make us the global laughingstock: In comments that have caused a kerfuffle in Spai

How embarrassing...nothing like another President determined to make us the global laughingstock:

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 Tuesday.[..]

Zapatero is a center-left politician, but McCain has suggested that as president he would seek to repair relations that have been badly frayed in Europe during Bush's tenure. In an early-April interview with a reporter from Spanish newspaper El Pais, McCain said, "This is the moment to leave behind discrepancies with Spain."

He added: "I would like for [President Zapatero] to visit the United States. I am very interested not only in normalizing relations with Spain but in obtaining good and productive relations with the goal of addressing many issues and challenges that we have to confront together."

The reporter for the Miami radio station seemed surprised that McCain, after discussing anti-American antagonists in Latin South America, acted so coolly to the idea of meeting with Zapatero.

"I would be willing to meet with those leaders who are friends and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion," McCain said, throwing in words of praise for the Mexican government.

The reporter asked a second time: "Would that invitation be extended to the Zapatero government?"

McCain repeated his talking point: "I can assure you I will establish closer relations with our friends and I will stand up to those who want to do harm to the United States of America."

The reporter pressed again, and McCain replied: "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."

At this point, the reporter sought to clarify that McCain was not mixing up South America with Europe.

"I'm talking about the president of Spain," she noted.

Given this fourth opportunity to extend an olive branch, McCain stuck to his guns: "I'm 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 who are not."

TPM has been on top of this and ponders whether we should consider this "McCain Moment" confusion or something more purposefully belligerant as campaign advisor Randy Scheunemann suggests. Certainly, it's not the first time McCain has indulged in a little Euro-bashing.

However, given how completely out of left field his responses are (also not a unique experience when questioning McCain), I think it's completely appropriate to wonder if John McCain is in any condition to hold any office representing this country.

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