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Presidential Debate: McCain Doesn't Know Ike

[media id=6457] [media id=6458] (h/t Heather) Was anyone else surprised by the prodigious number of non sequiturs that marked John McCain's debate

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Was anyone else surprised by the prodigious number of non sequiturs that marked John McCain's debate performance...from the gratuitous Ted Kennedy reference (also out of date, as Kennedy had already left the hospital an hour before the debate began) to turning the entire 40 minute discussion on the economy into a rant about earmarks and federal spending, as if the financial crisis would in any way be alleviated by eliminating earmarks (not to mention some of the critical infrastructure improvements made via earmarks, it's not all Sarah Palin's study of halibut harvesting)?

One of the strangest non sequiturs came in the beginning when McCain brought up Eisenhower on the eve of the Normandy Invasion:

You've mentioned President Dwight David Eisenhower. President Eisenhower, on the night before the Normandy invasion, went into his room, and he wrote out two letters. One of them was a letter congratulating the great members of the military and allies that had conducted and succeeded in the greatest invasion in history, still to this day, and forever. And he wrote out another letter, and that was a letter of resignation from the United States Army for the failure of the landings at Normandy.

Somehow we've lost that accountability. I've been heavily criticized because I called for the resignation of the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. We've got to start also holding people accountable, and we've got to reward people who succeed.

The problem is, as Will Bunch points out, McCain doesn't know his history and doesn't realize that it's easy to fact check:

First of all, here is the second and thankfully unnecessary letter that General Eisenhower wrote on the eve of D-Day. As you can probably see, it concludes with the words, "If any blame is found attached to the attempt, it is mine alone." In other words, he never offered to resign. Where McCain got that idea from, I have no idea. Wasn't that remark prepared in advance?

Of course, the funny thing is that he didn't really call for the SEC chairman to resign either. He said that if he were the president, he would fire him -- even though it came out that the president doesn't really have the authority to fire to SEC chairman. He never called for the chairman (Christopher Cox) to resign.

I would agree with one thing, that we've got to start holding people accountable. John McCain, I hold you accountable...for not telling the truth.

Transcripts below the fold

LEHRER: Are you going to vote for the plan, Senator McCain?

MCCAIN: I -- I hope so. And I...

LEHRER: As a United States senator...

MCCAIN: Sure.

LEHRER: ... you're going to vote for the plan?

MCCAIN: Sure. But -- but let me -- let me point out, I also warned about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and warned about corporate greed and excess, and CEO pay, and all that. A lot of us saw this train wreck coming.

But there's also the issue of responsibility. You've mentioned President Dwight David Eisenhower. President Eisenhower, on the night before the Normandy invasion, went into his room, and he wrote out two letters.

One of them was a letter congratulating the great members of the military and allies that had conducted and succeeded in the greatest invasion in history, still to this day, and forever.

And he wrote out another letter, and that was a letter of resignation from the United States Army for the failure of the landings at Normandy.

Somehow we've lost that accountability. I've been heavily criticized because I called for the resignation of the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. We've got to start also holding people accountable, and we've got to reward people who succeed.

But somehow in Washington today -- and I'm afraid on Wall Street -- greed is rewarded, excess is rewarded, and corruption -- or certainly failure to carry out our responsibility is rewarded.

As president of the United States, people are going to be held accountable in my administration. And I promise you that that will happen.

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