Thursday, August 21, 2008

McCain campaign flails over housing gaffe

Americablog has two posts up reporting the McCain campaign's response to Republican presidential candidate John McCain's gaffe over his inability to recall how many houses he owns (Or would that be how many houses his wife Cindy owns?). The McCain campaign's response to this latest McCain gaffe was to first attack Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama for living in a "frickin' mansion," while trying to link Obama's purchase of this mansion to convicted felon Tony Rezko. A "frickin' mansion." So Barack Obama should be questioned for having one "frickin' mansion," however it is okay for John McCain to have seven mansions--that McCain can't even remember. Of course, the McCain campaign will certainly start a series of negative attacks in connecting Obama with Rezko. And I'd tell the McCain campaign to bring on the Rezko attacks. That way, the Obama campaign can respond by attacking McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal, the or even the lobbyist controversy with Vicki Iseman. There was John McCain's attending a fundraiser hosted by Ralph Reed, who was connected with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and the email cover-up McCain enacted to protect his Republican colleagues. And finally, let us not forget McCain's connection with Republican Representative Rick Renzi, where Renzi was a member of McCain's National Leadership Team and co-chair of his Arizona Leadership Team. Renzi was indicted last February for extortion, money laundering, and wire fraud. McCain refuses to pass judgment on the Renzi indictment. What I am saying here is that if the McCain campaign wants to get into a dirty war with Obama over scandals, they better first look into McCain's own closet because McCain has plenty of skeletons that Obama can attack with.

The McCain campaign's second response to McCain's inability to remember how many houses he owned is even more bizarre. Going to the Washington Post's The Trail Blog:

The McCain campaign was in full damage-control mode as the housing story took off today. [McCain spokesman Brian] Rogers tried to play down the story, saying that reports of the many McCain houses were overstated.

"The reality is they have some investment properties and stuff. It's not as if he lives in ten houses. That's just not the case," Rogers said. "The reality is they have four that actually could be considered houses they could use."


He also added: "This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison," referring to the prisoner of war camp that McCain was in during the Vietnam War.

WHAT? So it is okay for John McCain to not remember how many houses he owned because he was...a...POW? How does John McCain's POW status, which took place between 1967 to 1973, affect his inability to remember how many houses he owns? And if the McCain campaign wishes to blame McCain's POW status for this latest gaffe, then you have to seriously wonder just how much McCain's experience as a POW will affect his judgment in the Oval Office.

The McCain campaign has been playing this POW card before. Talking Points Memo reports that the McCain campaign "cited McCain's POW years in explaining away the Miss Buffalo Chip gaffe, and in dealing with the allegation that he broke the rules and listened in on Barack Obama during the Rick Warren forum." This latest McCain POW excuse has prompted The Politico's Ben Smith to speculate that:

It does seem like they're flirting with Giuliani/9/11 territory here, in which at subject that seems utterly immune to humor, used as a first resort, suddenly becomes a running joke among your political enemies and your late night comic friends.

McCain himself, it should be noted, doesn't tend to talk about his prisoner-of-war experience in random contexts; but his staff and surrogates have been doing it a bit lately.

It appears that the ridiculing of McCain's POW excuses has already started. From YouTube:

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