John McCain's Very Bad Week: A Cheat Sheet

| Fri Jul. 11, 2008 10:55 AM PDT

I was asked to appear on Hardball on Friday to discuss John McCain's week--that is, his very bad week. It's been tough to keep track of all that's gone wrong for him--all the self-inflicted wounds--in recent days. So I made a cheat sheet. Here it is.

* McCain adviser Phil Gramm remark: Americans who worry about the economy are "whiners" and there's no problem with the economy, just a "mental recession." McCain response: Gramm doesn't speak for me. But, um, that day Gramm was speaking for McCain, explaining McCain's economic policies to the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

* Called the fundamental funding mechanism of Social Security a "disgrace," essentially attacking the whole program.

* Released list of 300 economists who supposedly support his economic plan. Guess what? Not all of them do.

* Became visibly uncomfortable when asked whether health plans that cover Viagara should also cover birth control for women (after McCain surrogate/adviser Carly Fiorina raised this issue).

* Joked about killing Iranians with cigarette imports.

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* Attacked Obama for not voting for a bill designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. Whoops--McCain didn't vote for the bill, either.

* His campaign accused Obama of flip-flopping on Iraq. Politifact.com said that's not true.

* Denied ever saying he's not an expert on the economy. Well, he said it. Memory problems?

* McCain wants to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes and routinely blasts Obama as a defeatist for proposing a timetable for withdrawal. Yet Iraqi leaders said they now want to set up a timetable. There goes that issue.

* Campaign accused of screening reporters allowed to ask questions on its conference calls for the media, and did not declare, we do not screen.

* Claimed to have a perfect voting record on veterans affairs. Veterans groups disagree. (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him a grade of D.)

* Pledged to cut the deficit by end of his first term. Prominent experts said not possible.

* McCain campaign ad charged that Obama voted to raise taxes on people making as little as $32,000 a year. Factcheck.org said this is false.

* Pro-McCain RNC ad said Obama has no new energy solutions. But Obama proposes $150 billion in new tax credits for alternative energy.

I might have missed a few other McCain slip-ups of this week. But the Hardball segment was only scheduled for a few minutes. McCain supporters ought to hope the guy and his entire campaign take the weekend off.

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