AP uncritically reported McCain's assertion that Obama "tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge"

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

The Associated Press uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's charge that Sen. Barack Obama "tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge." In fact, Obama, who has voted in the past to provide funds for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he voted against a troop funding bill in May 2007 because it did not include a timeline for withdrawal. Further, McCain himself has voted against legislation to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

An August 19 Associated Press article uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's charge that Sen. Barack Obama "tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge." In fact, contrary to the AP report, Obama did not try "to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge." Rather, Obama said he voted against a troop funding bill in May 2007 because it did not include a timeline for withdrawal. Moreover, Obama has voted in the past to provide funds for fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz wrote, "Obama has frequently voted to finance the war but was one of 14 Senate Democrats to oppose a war-funding bill last year -- after Republicans removed troop withdrawal deadlines -- saying he did not want to be 'validating the same failed policy in Iraq.' "

The AP also did not point out that McCain himself has voted against legislation to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to direct more than $1 billion to the Department of Veteran Affairs, as well as other legislation funding care for veterans.

As Media Matters for America noted, the AP has previously ignored McCain's own votes against troop funding while uncritically quoting his attacks on Obama.

From the August 19 Associated Press article:

McCain said Obama placed his political self-interest ahead of his country's, a theme the Arizona Republican has often repeated. McCain told a convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that Obama's positions had changed as his political ambitions grew.

"With less than three months to go before the election, a lot of people are still trying to square Sen. Obama 's varying positions on the surge in Iraq. First, he opposed the surge and confidently predicted that it would fail. Then he tried to prevent funding for the troops who carried out the surge," McCain said.

"Not content to merely predict failure in Iraq, my opponent tried to legislate failure."

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