McCain: No, Palin Did Not Mean That

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If you watched the debate, you know John McCain attacked Barack Obama’s position on Pakistan. Here’s how Obama articulates it: “If the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.”

McCain said at the debate that it was unwise to “threaten” Pakistan in this way, and that Obama’s position was a product of his inexperience. “You don’t say that out loud,” McCain said. “If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government.”

But there’s a problem. On a recent campaign stop in Pennsylvania, Sarah Palin was asked by a voter if American forces should move from Afghanistan into Pakistan to pursue terrorists. Palin responded, “If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should.”

Whoops. That’s Obama’s position. So today McCain was in the painful position of having to retract his vice presidential pick’s statement:

“She would not…she understands and has stated repeatedly that we’re not going to do anything except in America’s national security interest. In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that’s—that’s a person’s position… This is a free country, but I don’t think most Americans think that that’s a definitve policy statement made by Governor Palin.”

Translation: Just because my candidate for vice president said something into a microphone doesn’t mean it should be taken seriously or that she actually believes it.

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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