Forgetful and mendacious, all in a single answer

Talk about awkward pauses. This is a snippet from John McCain’s press conference on Friday. Does McCain often have trouble remembering what the question was at press conferences? If so, how come we don’t hear about it? Do reporters think that protecting the reputation of a man who regularly seems confused or forgetful is more important that giving the American people relevant information about the man who may well be the next president of the United States of America? (Oh, of course, I forgot: political reporters can see into people’s minds, so they know that McCain’s forgetfulness is nothing to be concerned about. Besides, he gives great BBQ.)

Also, his answer includes some rewriting of history, or at least a highly selective writing of history. He says, “I have supported hundreds of pieces of legislation, which would help Americans obtain an equal opportunity in America. I am proud of that record, from fighting for the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday in my state to…”

In fact, far from “fighting for” the recognition of MLK’s birthday, he voted against making MLK Jr. Day a Federal holiday in 1983, then supported the efforts of Arizona’s governor in 1987 to actual repeal the state’s recognition of King’s birthday, which had been done by the previous governor with an executive order. Only several years later, when the issue was on a referendum in Arizona in 1990, did McCain change his mind and support efforts to make King’s birthday a holiday.

Back when straight talk was more than just a slogan, McCain repeatedly expressed his regret for opposing the recognition of King’s birthday for so long. It takes some chutzpah for him now to cite this particular issue as an example of how strong he has been on civil rights

ADDED: And it’s also nonsense that Obama “retracted those remarks,” as McCain said twice in his answer.

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