Mitchell falsely claimed McCain has not set a "threshold" for his VP to be "ready to step in on a moment's notice"

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell falsely asserted that Sen. John McCain had not set a "threshold" that his vice presidential pick would be someone "ready to step in on a moment's notice." In fact, McCain has said that the "overwhelming priority" for his selection "is a person who shares my principles, my values, my priorities ... and could be -- immediately take my place."

On the August 29 edition of MSNBC Live, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell falsely asserted that Sen. John McCain had not set a "threshold" that his vice presidential pick would be someone "ready to step in on a moment's notice." In fact, McCain has asserted that his "key criteria" in selecting a running mate would be that that person was "most prepared to take my place" and that his selection would be someone "who is ready to take my place at a moment's -- you know, immediately."

In an interview with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Mitchell said: "[I]f your threshold -- and this wasn't his [McCain's] threshold -- but if your threshold ought to be, ready to step in on a moment's notice, is [Alaska Gov.] Sarah Palin ready to be commander in chief and president of the United States in some horrible, unforeseen circumstance?" But contrary to Mitchell's assertion that "this wasn't his threshold," McCain has repeatedly highlighted the need to pick a running mate who would be able to "take my place." For example:

  • On the April 1 edition of CNN's Situation Room, McCain asserted: "I think about whether that person who I select would be most prepared to take my place. And that would be the key criteria."
  • On the April 6 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, McCain said of his selection, "[T]he first and really major and overwhelming priority is a person who shares my principles, my values, my priorities -- as you know, priorities are very important in presidents -- and could be -- immediately take my place. That's, I think, the overriding criteria." He added, "It is who can best take my place and carry on the agenda and the vision that I have outlined and will continue to outline during this campaign."
  • In a July 8 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interview, when asked, "What kind of a vice president do you want?" McCain reportedly responded: "Someone who shares my priorities and my principles. And also obviously who is ready to take my place at a moment's -- you know, immediately."

From the 11 a.m. ET hour of the August 29 edition of MSNBC Live:

MITCHELL: Let me share with you, of course, the latest New York Times/CBS poll, in advance of all of this on who should be the running mate: Mitt Romney with 38 percent; Mike Huckabee, 7; Tom Ridge, 4; Tim Pawlenty, 4; Sarah Palin, at the bottom, 2 percent -- recent poll, New York Times/CBS. Not only that, but if your threshold -- and this wasn't his threshold -- but if your threshold ought to be, ready to step in on a moment's notice, is Sarah Palin ready to be commander in chief and president of the United States in some horrible, unforeseen circumstance?

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

BASH: One more question on this: You -- when you're asked about who your vice president would be, you say that there are two real roles for the vice president, and one is to check on the health of the president. And you joked a couple of weeks ago in Pennsylvania that that would be especially important in your case.

McCAIN: Sure.

BASH: What did you mean by that? And I know you don't want to talk about the process of picking a vice president, but in terms of your approach, do you, in all candor -- straight talk -- think about your age when you -- and the fact that you're 71, will be 72, when you are deciding who would be a potential president?

McCAIN: No. And in all candor, I will continue to use humor, and if any commentator chooses to take a humorous remark and turn it into something serious, they are free to do that. But I will continue to use humor. And I think the American people like to have a little humor from time to time --

BASH: Absolutely.

McCAIN: -- and that was what that whole line was about.

BASH: Absolutely. But it -- but, understanding that completely, in all seriousness, when you're approaching who you're picking for the vice president, do you think about your age as a factor? And --

McCAIN: Not particularly, no. I think -- I think about whether that person who I select would be most prepared to take my place. And that would be the key criteria.

From the April 6 edition of Fox News Sunday:

WALLACE: A couple of final questions I'm going to ask you, sir. You said this week that you have started putting together the list of possibilities for vice president. Given that you call radical Islam the transcendent challenge of our age, fair to assume that your running mate must have firsthand foreign policy experience?

McCAIN: I don't know if that's -- I think that the person -- the first and really major and overwhelming priority is a person who shares my principles, my values, my priorities -- as you know, priorities are very important in presidents -- and could be -- immediately take my place. That's, I think, the overriding criteria.

WALLACE: So it could be someone who's, in effect, a foreign policy novice?

McCAIN: Well, it could be someone who has a lot of experience and someone who doesn't on national security issues. And frankly, the process that we're in -- you know, it's so early in the process that, honestly, it's -- the sole criteria I'm looking at is not that. It is who can best take my place and carry on the agenda and the vision that I have outlined and will continue to outline during this campaign.

From the July 9 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interview:

Trib: How is your vice presidential search coming?

McCain: Moving down along in the process. Now you are going to mention Tom Ridge. Every place I go to we mention the name, and just let me say on the subject of Tom Ridge, he's a great American, he's a tremendous leader, he's an old and dear friend, and he has a great place in America's future and that of our party. But we are not mentioning anybody's name, it's just not appropriate, nor is it helpful to the person or the process.

Trib: Do you feel pressured to pick a woman or a minority vice president?

McCain: No, frankly, I hadn't thought about that. I ...

Trib: What kind of a vice president do you want?

McCain: Someone who shares my priorities and my principles. And also obviously who is ready to take my place at a moment's -- you know, immediately.

Posted In
Elections, Government
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Person
Andrea Mitchell
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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