Here are the facts.
* Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has suggested he would be fine with an indefinite US troop presence in Iraq for 100 years or more "as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed" — not a continued war for that long, but for a US troop presence there, the way the US continues to have troops in Japan more than 50 years after the end of World War II. Watch McCain make this comment HERE
* Generally when Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has hit McCain for this remark, he has been accurate in his description.
* There have been at least three times when Obama has twisted what McCain said to portray McCain as advocating war in Iraq for 100 years or more: As recently as the end of March in Lancaster, Penn., Obama said, “you know, John McCain wants to continue a war in Iraq perhaps as long as 100 years." At the Cleveland, Ohio, presidential debate, Obama said the U.S. is "bogged down in a war that John McCain now suggests might go on for another 100 years." In Houston, Texas, on February 19, Obama said that McCain "says that he is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq."
* Yesterday on MSNBC, Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said Obama "is not saying that Sen. McCain said we’d be at war for 100 years." I suppose that depends on what the meeting of the word "is" is.
* Today on TODAY, Obama was asked by Meredith Vieira if he’s willing to admit that he has distorted McCain’s statements. Obama said: “No. That’s not accurate, Meredith. We can pull up the quotes on Youtube. What John McCain was saying was, that he was happy to have a potential long-term occupation in Iraq. Happy may be overstating it — he is willing to have a long-term occupation of Iraq, as long as 100 years, in fact he said 10,000 years, however long it took.”
* It is accurate to say that Obama has in the past distorted McCain’s comments. Watch a Republican Youtube video that shows Obama’s words from today and from the past HERE
* It is a matter of opinion to say that voters are “tired of distortion, name-calling, and sound bite solutions to complicated problems.” But it is accurate to say that Obama wrote that opinion in his book "The Audacity of Hope," and that he is violating his own stated aspirations. (Audacious indeed.) Because not only has he distorted what McCain said, he is not being honest about having made those distortions.
It’s beyond me why Obama would want to change the focus of this debate from McCain’s willingness to have troops in Iraq indefinitely to his misrepresentation of what McCain said. As ABC News’ Ron Claiborne sagely noted McCain’s actual remarks are sufficient Democratic ammo.