Senator McCain gave an interview to a Miami radio station Wednesday. He was asked about his attitude toward Venezuela and Bolivia and responded with criticisms of Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales respectively. So far so good, depending on your viewpoint. His comments on Cuba were equally predictable. The interviewer decided to change the subject to Spain, where the leader elected following the Madrid bombing took the troops out of Iraq. This happens about halfway through the excerpt you will hear below.
Everybody makes gaffes, -- Senator Obama once said there were more than 50 states in the union, for instance, -- but there are different kinds of gaffes. Here's a sample case involving McCain that's gotten more mention following the radio debacle. I judge this one a mere slip of the tongue.
The radio interview, however, shows an inattentive, if not ignorant candidate. The interviewer told him that she wanted to talk about Spain, but McCain clearly drew a blank at the mention of Zapatero's name, muttered generalities, and returned to his most likely memorized talking points on Latin America. Prompted several times, McCain couldn't manage to mention Spain or any specific issues between that country and ours. He betrayed a lack of spontaneity and simply sounded slow on the uptake. His handlers and surrogates can make any excuses and offer any clarifications they want, but the evidence tells us that McCain did not know who Zapatero was despite being told that the topic was Spain. There are better reasons to denounce the Republican, and there are worse things he's said this week, but this is pretty bad, and it ought to sound that way to an objective listener.