It has now come out that John McCain recently did an interview with El Pais, a large newspaper from Spain, where he seemed confused and beyond his depths. He did not seem to know that Spain is a European. The interviewer kept asking specifically about "Spain," and McCain kept responding about Mexico and Latin America and "the hemisphere." McCain seems really confused during the whole interview, apparently thinking Zapatero is someone from Latin America who is an enemy of the United States
John McCain then refused to say if he would be willing to meet with the Prime Minister of Spain (in the Spanish press, Zapatero is in fact referred to as "the president") if he won the election. In his answer he set a precondition for the Prime Minister of Spain to first embrace democracy and human rights before they could meet. This was very odd as the president of Spain already does embrace both democracy and human rights. Spain is already a democracy, a member of NATO and the EU, and would be very helpful in our relations with Central and South America. It would be very strange for the United States to have anything other than a close relationship with Spain.
Here's the front page cut out from the Spanish news channel that did the interview.
Here is the original English-language version of the interview, that McCain did with El Pais.
Here is a 2 minute clip of the segment of the interview dealing with Spain. Reporters really need to listen to this interview.
Here is the exact transcript:
QUESTION: Senator, finally, let's talk about Spain. If you're elected president, would you be willing to invite President Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero to the White House to meet with you?
MCCAIN: I would be willing meet, uh, with those leaders who our friends [sic] and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion, and by the way, President Calderon of Mexico is fighting a very very tough fight against the drug cartels. I'm glad we are now working in cooperation with the Mexican government on the Merida plan. I intend to move forward with relations, and invite as many of them as I can, those leaders, to the White House.
QUESTION: Would that invitation be extended to the Zapatero government, to the president itself?
MCCAIN: I don't, you know, honestly I have to look at relations and the situations and the priorities, but 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.
QUESTION: So you have to wait and see if he's willing to meet with you, or you'll be able to do it in the White House?
MCCAIN: Well again I don't, all I can tell you is that 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, and that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America, and the entire region.
QUESTION: Okay... what about you, I'm talking about the President of Spain?
MCCAIN: What about me what?
QUESTION: Okay... are you willing to meet with him if you are elected president?
MCCAIN: I am 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 that do not.
McCain is the candidate with the foreign policy experience ready to lead on day one?
Update: The McCain campaign is now saying that John McCain will not meet with the Spanish Prime Minister should John McCain win the election. John McCain’s foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann is defending his boss’s inexplicable and illogical answer in response to a question about whether he would agree to meet with the Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and claims McCain knew who Zapatero was and was simply articulating his policy of refusing to commit to a White House meeting.
Really? This is the excuse the McCain campaign is now giving? Really? Will reporters by this explaination as to why McCain recently told an interviewer with the Spanish paper El Pais that he was not sure he would be interested in meeting the Spanish president.
It's clear from the interview, posted above, that John McCain was having some kind of mental lapse during the interview, one that he didn't even understand that Spain was in Europe. But the McCain campaign can't admit that John McCain appeared to be having a senile moment, and that his dementia was caught on tape. Instead, the McCain campaign is now embracing the only argument they have left - they're actually now claiming that McCain meant every word he said.
The interviewer specifically tries to draw John McCain's attention back to Spain and Europe, and McCain insists on giving irrelevant answers about Mexico. The campaign is spinning hard.