McCain Again Flubs Highlighted Attack Lines

By Lee Speigel

Oct 21, 2008 8:44pm

No one ever said campaigning for president was easy, particularly in these last grueling few weeks.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., this week has been flubbing not just parts of his speeches, but the pivotal attack lines his campaign prepares reporters to film and record.

In Belton, Mo., Monday, McCain was supposed to say, "Just last night, Senator Biden guaranteed that if Senator Obama is elected, we will have an international crisis to test America’s new president. We don’t want a president who invites testing from the world at a time when our economy is in crisis and Americans are already fighting in two wars."

What he actually said, per ABC News’ Bret Hovell: "Just last night, Senator Obama (sic) guaranteed that if Senator Obama is elected, Senator Biden said, we will have an international crisis to test America’s new president," etc. etc.

He flubbed it again in the extended version of the attack.

"What’s more troubling is that Senator Obama (sic) told their campaign donors that when that crisis hits, they would have to stand with them because it wouldn’t be apparent Senator Obama would have the right response."

And this is from a teleprompter!

Today in Western Pennsylvania, per ABC News’ Jan Simmonds, McCain attempted to repudiate remarks about the area made by Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., last week.

"There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area," Murtha said. He later apologized, but yesterday he told WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh that "this whole area, years ago, was really redneck."

So McCain, sensing an opportunity, said the following.

Which probably couldn’t have gone worse:

"I think you may have noticed that Senator Obama’s supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about western Pennsylvania lately," McCain said, as folks booed.

"You know," he continued, "I couldn’t agree with them more."

(Sound of crickets chirping.)

"I couldn’t disagree with you, I couldn’t agree with you more than the fact that western Pennsylvania is the most patriotic, most God loving, most patriotic part of America," McCain said. "And this is a great part of the country. My friends, I couldn’t agr–  I could not disagree with those critics more, this is a great part of America."

Yikes.

- jpt

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