Politico quoted McCain mocking Obama, neglected Obama's direct rebuttal

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER

In a report on an exchange between Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama, in which McCain falsely suggested that Obama said that Al Qaeda was not currently in Iraq, the Politico left out part of Obama's response proving that McCain's suggestion was false.

In a February 29 article, Politico national politics editor Charles Mahtesian quoted an attack by Sen. John McCain directed at Sen. Barack Obama, yet did not quote Obama's most explicit response to McCain's comment. In the article, Mahtesian addressed an exchange between Obama and McCain regarding Obama's statement during the February 26 Democratic presidential debate that as commander in chief, Obama would "reserve the right to make sure that we are looking out for American interests if Al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq." Mahtesian quoted McCain mocking Obama: "I have some news: Al Qaeda is in Iraq." In that response, McCain falsely suggested that Obama had said that Al Qaeda does not currently have a presence in Iraq. He did not say that; indeed, he said the opposite. However, Mahtesian neither pointed out McCain's false representation of Obama's statement, nor included the part of Obama's rebuttal to that false suggestion, in which Obama said: "Well, first of all, I do know that al-Qaeda is in Iraq; that's why I've said we should continue to strike al-Qaeda targets." Mahtesian also left out the part of Obama's response in which he said: "I have some news for John McCain, and that is that there was no such thing as al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq."

From Mahtesian's February 29 Politico article:

For his part, Obama is increasingly directing his fire at McCain. For the past two days, the pair has engaged in a thrust-and-parry over Iraq war policy.

"[I] am told that Senator Obama made the statement that if Al Qaeda came back to Iraq after he withdraws, after American troops are withdrawn, then he would send military troops back if Al Qaeda established a base in Iraq," McCain said Wednesday in Texas. "I have some news. Al Qaeda is in Iraq. It's called Al Qaeda in Iraq. My friends, if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base. They'd be taking a country, and I'm not going to allow that to happen.''

"I have some news for John McCain," Obama responded the same day at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. "He took us into a war along with George Bush that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged."

In contrast to Mahtesian's reporting, Washington Post staff writers Michael D. Shear and Shailagh Murray noted Obama's full response in a February 28 article:

Speaking to 7,000 voters at Ohio State University on Wednesday, Obama answered McCain's mocking tone with his own.

"McCain thought that he could make a clever point by saying, 'Well let me give you some news, Barack, al-Qaeda is in Iraq.' Like I wasn't reading the papers, like I didn't know what was going on. I said, 'Well, first of all, I do know that al-Qaeda is in Iraq; that's why I've said we should continue to strike al-Qaeda targets.

"I have some news for John McCain, and that is that there was no such thing as al-Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq." The crowd roared its approval. "I've got some news for John McCain. He took us into a war along with George Bush that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged. They took their eye off the people who were responsible for 9/11, and that would be al-Qaeda in Afghanistan that is stronger now than at any time since 2001.

"So John McCain may like to say he wants to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, but so far all he's done is follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq that's cost us thousands of lives and billions of dollars."

Network/Outlet
The Politico
Person
Charles Mahtesian
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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