McCain: “I will capitalize on mischaracterizations”

Posted in Election 2008,Media Bias by Ryan on the November 28th, 2007

McCain was asked recently what he thought of some comments that Romney had made at a fund raiser. The following is my own transcript with emphasis added taken directly from this video.

Reporter: Senator can I ask you about some comments that Governor Romney made? I don’t want to mischaracterize him because I’m not sure exactly what he said. But it seems that he said that he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet OR that he said it was not necessary to have a Muslim in the cabinet to better conduct the war on Islamic extremism.

The reporter then asks a couple of questions:

Reporter: Would you want to appoint someone in your cabinet for that reason and what do you make of his comments?

McCain proceeds to only answer the latter question under the context that Romney only said he would never appoint a Muslim.

McCain: I think his comment is indicative of how he might govern and I think its absolutely wrong. You appoint the most qualified people for the job.

Someone there with McCain then mentions that there are Muslims currently serving in the US Military.

McCain takes it to another level and throws in a “Romney never served” jabs.

McCain: I wonder if Governor Romney who has never served in the military would allow Muslims to serve in our military.

McCain basically showed his willingness to take something completely out of context and misrepresent another candidate.

In responding to questions about his comments Romney said the following in this video.

Reporter: There was a report today that a businessman says that at a closed fundraiser in Vegas a couple of weeks ago he asked you a question about having an Islamic person in your cabinet and you said that based on the population of Muslims in the United States you don’t think it would be justified. First of all, we weren’t there, is that what you said?

Romney: No, no. Thats not. His question was did I NEED to have to have a Muslim in my cabinet to be able to confront radical jihad and would it be important to have a Muslim in my cabinet? And I said no, I don’t think that you have to have a Muslim in the cabinet to take on radical jihad anymore than during the Second World War we needed to have a Japanese American to help us understand the threat that was coming from Japan or something of that nature. I just rejected that argument number 1.

Then number 2 I point out that the people who would be part of my cabinet is something that I really haven’t given a lot of thought to at this point. But I don’t have boxes that I check off as to their ethnicity and its not that I have to have a certain number of each different ethnic group. Instead I would choose people based upon their merits and capabilities.

Reporter: So you would be open to having a Muslim person in your cabinet?

Romney: I’m open to having people of any faith and ethnic group but they would be selected based on their capacity and capabilities and the values and skills that they could bring to the administration. But I don’t choose people based on checking off a box.

Whew! After all that…I come away with a couple of things. Romney is just as reasonable as ever and McCain seems foolish. I wonder if the media would now press McCain for his accusation and presumption of knowing exactly what Romney meant.

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