CNN's Crowley repeated accusation that Obama "distort[ed]" McCain's "100 years" remark, without reporting what McCain actually said

››› ››› KATHLEEN HENEHAN

On The Situation Room, Candy Crowley stated that Sen. Barack Obama "accus[ed] [Sen. John] McCain of wanting to be in Iraq for another 100 years." She then reported "that is a distortion of what McCain said, and they push back very hard -- the McCain campaign -- when they hear this." In fact, during a January 3 town hall meeting in New Hampshire, McCain said a U.S. military presence in Iraq for the next 100 years would "be fine ... [a]s long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."

During the April 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, senior political correspondent Candy Crowley stated that Sen. Barack Obama "accus[ed] [Sen. John] McCain of wanting to be in Iraq for another 100 years." She then reported "that is a distortion of what McCain said, and they push back very hard -- the McCain campaign -- when they hear this." Without pointing to a specific statement by Obama, Crowley claimed that he distorted McCain's comments by saying, in Crowley's words, that McCain "want[s] to be in Iraq for another 100 years." In fact, during a January 3 town hall meeting in New Hampshire, McCain said a U.S. military presence in Iraq for the next 100 years would "be fine ... [a]s long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed":

QUESTIONER: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years.

McCAIN: Maybe a hundred.

QUESTIONER: Is that how long --

McCAIN: We've been in South Korea -- we've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That'd be fine with me as long as Americans --

QUESTIONER: So that's your policy?

McCAIN: As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, then it's fine with me. I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting, and equipping and motivating people every single day.

QUESTIONER: By the way, I forgot to say that I hope that you kick Mitt Romney's butt back to Massachusetts --

McCAIN: I knew there was a reason I called on you.

QUESTIONER: -- or Utah or Michigan or wherever he is. That man does not -- cannot lie straight in bed. But I want to go back to Iraq. I want to go back to Iraq. Now, 50 years? What if U.S. soldiers are being killed at the same rate, one per day, four years from now?

McCAIN: Well, I can't tell you the ratio or what it is, but I can tell you I understand American public opinion, sir, and --

WOMAN: [inaudible]

McCAIN: Yes, ma'am. And so I understand what's at stake here. That's why -- and I understand that American public opinion will not sustain a conflict where Americans continue to be sacrificed without showing them that we can succeed.

QUESTIONER: So what I hear is an open-ended commitment. That's my last [inaudible]. An open-ended commitment?

McCAIN: I have a, quote, "open-ended commitment" in Asia, I have an open-ended commitment in South Korea, I have an open-ended commitment in Bosnia, I have an open-ended commitment in Europe. I have an open-ended commitment everywhere.

QUESTIONER: Thank you for going on record. Thank you.

According to an April 1 post on the FoxNews.com blog Embed Producers, McCain responded to Obama's criticism of his "100 years" remark by touting the role of the postwar U.S. military presence in South Korea, Japan, and Germany:

"(He) either hasn't read or (doesn't) understand ... the history of this country in warfare, and the way that we secure alliances and secure the peace -- and that's through military government to government agreements that call for United States presence and mutual defense. Not only in that country itself, but also in the region. Our troops in Japan maintain a military presence in Asia. Our troops in Japan and South Korea maintain stability in Asia. The same thing was true after World War II about our troops in Germany."

An April 1 FoxNews.com article reported that McCain, responding to Obama's criticism, again compared a U.S. military presence in Iraq to that in South Korea, Japan, and Germany:

"We fought a war with Japan and Germany. Afterwards we maintained a military presence there, which we are doing today. We fought a war in Korea, we maintained a military presence in Korea, which we are doing to this day. The first Gulf War, we threw Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait, and we have a military presence there to this day," McCain told reporters aboard his campaign plane.

"So he [Obama] doesn't either, hasn't read or understand ... the history of this country in warfare, and the way that we secure alliances and secure the peace.

Further, during her April 1 report on The Situation Room, Crowley stated: "Hillary Clinton went after McCain on the economy, saying -- repeating his phrase from a long time ago that he doesn't really know much about the economy, and she said he is proving that now by blaming homeowners for the mortgage crisis." However, as Media Matters for America previously documented, The Boston Globe reported that McCain said as recently as December 18, 2007: " 'The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should,' McCain said. 'I've got [former Federal Reserve chairman Alan] Greenspan's book.' "

From the April 1 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

[begin video clip]

CROWLEY: At least on the trail, it has mellowed out a bit. And you get the sense they have heard the worry of party leaders that, while the two of them battle it out to the final delegate, John McCain is getting a free ride.

OBAMA: Senator McCain has been saying, I don't understand national security.

[end video clip]

CROWLEY: Now, what both the candidates did was go after McCain. Barack Obama, after McCain's policy in Iraq, accusing McCain of wanting to be in Iraq for another 100 years. As you know, John, that is a distortion of what McCain said, and they push back very hard -- the McCain campaign -- when they hear this.

Hillary Clinton went after McCain on the economy, saying -- repeating his phrase from a long time ago that he doesn't really know much about the economy, and she said he is proving that now by blaming homeowners for the mortgage crisis -- John.

JOHN KING (guest host): Candy Crowley for us in Pennsylvania.

And I'm guessing by the tone of that, Senator McCain's not invited to the bowl-off.

Candy, thanks very much.

Posted In
Elections, National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Candy Crowley
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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