When asked about Spain and Zapatero, by a Spanish reporter for a Spanish newspaper, McCain responded about Mexico and Latin America. A reader suggested something that Josh had already considered, that perhaps McCain thought the reporter was talking about the Zapatistas in Mexico, the guerilla group. But that's not possible as the reporter clearly said she was talking about Spain and Spain's leader, Zapatero. She told McCain this twice. Let me tell you exactly what she asked McCain (per the translation):Aravosis observes:"Senator, finally, let's talk about Spain. If you're elected president, would you invite President Zapatero to meet with you in the White House?"McCain then gives this odd answer about America's friends and America's enemies. He also, oddly, talks about Mexico (why Mexico? The question was about Spain) and how he'd invite friendly leaders to the White House. She then asks him again, would that invitation include President Zapatero? He says again that he'd have to review relations first, blah blah. She then says again, "so you'd have to wait to see, so would you meet with him in the White House?" He again repeats his weird statement about friends and enemies. McCain also throws in, oddly, to the Spanish reporter, when she's asking him about meeting the Spanish president, a line about the importance of our relationship with Latin America (this is now the second time he answered a question about meeting the president of Spain with an answer about Latin America). She then says to McCain one last time:"Okay, but I'm talking about Europe - the president of Spain, would you meet with him?"This time, there was no room for confusion. McCain then gives this very bizarre answer:"I will meet with any leader who has the same principles and philosophy as us in terms of human rights, democracy, and freedom and I will stand up to those who do not."
McCain had no idea what was going on in the interview. She specifically told him, twice, that she was talking about Spain and the Spanish president. She's a Spanish reporter with one of the largest, if not the largest, newspaper in Spain, El Pais. I know this paper, McCain certainly knows this paper (and it's not like McCain's staff didn't tell him who he had the exclusive interview with for ten minutes). She made it clear she was asking about her own country and her own president and Mccain had no clue what she was talking about.Time Magazine chimes in:
Either McCain had no idea what the woman was talking about when she said "Spain," and then said "the President of Spain," repeatedly, or McCain intentionally snubbed the country of Spain tonight for no apparent reason, which is very hard to believe, especially given his earlier interview in which he said he was fine meeting Zapatero. The interview is absolutely bizarre, especially in that it sounds like McCain wasn't even lucid, it sounds like he simply doesn't have complete control over his faculties anymore. And judging by the fact that just a few months ago McCain was fine with Zapatero, it sounds like McCain simply wasn't quite all there any more during the interview. He got horribly confused and didn't know what was going on.
I've been saying for months that McCain appears to have lost some of his mental faculties -- and been flamed and accused of "ageism" for saying so. Well, sorry, but this job is too important to hand over to someone losing his edge, and it seems pretty obvious that McCain is well on the way there.
During an interview in Miami earlier this week with Spanish-language station Union Radio, a reporter asked McCain whether, if elected, he would receive Zapatero in the White House. McCain answered, "Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations, and priorities, but I can assure you that I will establish closer relationships with our friends, and I will stand up to those who want to harm the United States."
Ouch. The question about Zapatero, clearly framed by the reporter as a question about Spain, came after inquiries on Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba. As a result, much of the Spanish press has decided that the Republican candidate, who hails himself as the experienced foreign policy choice in this election, confused Spain — a NATO member and key ally in the fight against terrorism — with one of those troublesome Latin American states. That was certainly the interviewer's impression, for she followed up with a gentle reminder that Spain was a country in Europe. As Spanish newspaper El País put it, "In the best-case scenario, [his answer] demonstrates his ignorance with respect to Zapatero."
Of course, there's a worse-case scenario: that McCain would, if elected, maintain his predecessor's chilly relationship with Spain.
Can we survive four more years of inept foreign policy? I don't want to find out.