CNN's Bash ignored McCain flip-flop on administration's Iraq war rhetoric

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

On the January 25 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN congressional correspondent Dana Bash aired a statement by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) criticizing the Bush administration for presenting "rosy scenarios" about the situation in Iraq, which he said "exacerbated" public "disillusionment" with the war. But Bash did not tell viewers that McCain has previously commended President Bush for providing the public with what McCain characterized as an accurate assessment of the situation in Iraq.

CNN aired McCain saying the following:

McCAIN: They [the American people] were assured that "mission accomplished," "last throes," "stuff happens," "a few dead-enders," you know, the list goes on and on. So -- and then they've -- then they find out that the situation continues to deteriorate.

We want -- I think it would be important to them -- for them to have some specific benchmarks as to whether those are being met or not met. You see what I mean?

I think the disillusionment was exacerbated by the rosy scenarios.

As Media Matters for America has noted, McCain made nearly identical comments at an August 22, 2006, fundraiser in Ohio, only to backtrack on them days later and praise Bush for his "honest" "public statements" regarding the war (see here, here, and here).

McCain's comments from an August 22, 2006, fundraiser for then-Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH):

I think one of the biggest mistakes we made was underestimating the size of the task and the sacrifice that would be required. "Stuff happens." "Mission Accomplished." "Last throes." A few "dead-enders." I'm as -- more familiar with those statements than anyone else because it grieves me so much that we have not told the American people how tough and difficult this task would be.

McCain's statement from an August 25, 2006, press release, in which he restated his support for the war in Iraq and then praised Bush for his statements regarding the war:

And I commend the President for his public statements offering Americans an honest assessment of the progress we have made in Iraq and the challenges that still confront us there, and, of course, for his determination to defend American security and international peace and stability by succeeding in this arduous and costly enterprise.

McCain has complimented or defended Bush's management of the Iraq war on numerous occasions, as Media Matters has documented.

From the January 25 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BASH: Well, you know, since the vote was cast in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, what we have seen is those who support sending troops to Iraq trying to figure out a way to blunt the impact of any resolution or resolutions that will be on the Senate floor in the next week or two.

John McCain, of course, has been one of the most vocal supporters of a troop increase in Iraq. And what he said is that he is trying to come up with a resolution that would perhaps issue some benchmarks for the Iraqi people and also in some way increase Congress' oversight on this issue.

McCAIN [video clip]: They were assured that "mission accomplished," "last throes," "stuff happens," "a few dead-enders," you know, the list goes on and on. So -- and then they've -- then they find out that the situation continues to deteriorate.

We want -- I think it would be important to them -- for them to have some specific benchmarks as to whether those are being met or not met. You see what I mean?

I think the disillusionment was exacerbated by the rosy scenarios.

BASH: Now, McCain admits his resolution is in its embryonic stages right now. He's not sure exactly where this is going to go.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Dana Bash
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.