MSNBC.com's First Read again falsely claimed McCain "did not vote" against troop funding

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

MSNBC.com's First Read again falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain "opposed, but did not vote," on a 2007 troop-funding appropriations bill. In fact, while McCain did not vote on a later version of the appropriations bill, he voted against the measure on March 29, 2007, and said at the time that he was opposing it, in part, because it "would establish a timeline" for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

In an October 8 post, MSNBC.com's First Read again falsely claimed that Sen. John McCain opposed -- but did not vote on -- a 2007 troop-funding appropriations bill. Discussing Cindy McCain's claim that Sen. Barack Obama's "vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body," NBC News/National Journal reporters Matthew Berger and Carrie Dann reported: "Both McCain and Obama have opposed Senate measures with troop funding attached. ... McCain opposed, but did not vote, on a troop-funding measure earlier that year that did call for a withdrawal timeline, a position with which he vigorously disagrees." In fact, while McCain did not vote on a later version of the appropriations bill, he voted against the measure on March 29, 2007, and said at the time that he was opposing it, in part, because it "would establish a timeline" for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

As Media Matters for America documented, First Read's Dann and NBC News deputy political director Mark Murray also falsely claimed in an October 2 post that Sen. Joe Biden was wrong when he said during that day's vice presidential debate that McCain "voted against funding the troops" in a 2007 appropriations bill. First Read wrote: "McCain OPPOSED -- but did not vote on -- a Senate measure with troop funding because it contained a timetable for withdrawal" [emphasis in original].

On March 29, 2007, McCain voted against H.R. 1591, an emergency spending bill that would have funded the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and would have provided more than $1 billion in additional funds to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Senate passed that bill, H.R. 1591, by a margin of 51-47. The Senate subsequently agreed to the bill's conference report on April 26, 2007, by a vote of 51-46, but McCain did not vote on that version of the bill. By contrast, Obama voted for the bill on both occasions. President Bush vetoed the bill, citing its provision for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Media Matters has noted other media who have falsely claimed that McCain did not vote on the troop-funding measure, but who have since corrected themselves. After Media Matters noted that FactCheck.org falsely claimed that Biden's debate statement was "simply wrong," FactCheck.org removed its section on Biden and troop funding and issued a correction in an October 3 update to its article, noting that "Biden was ... correct. McCain did vote against the troop-funding bill in question, H.R. 1591, on March 29, 2007, when it originally cleared the Senate."

On October 8, after Media Matters noted that on the October 3 edition of NBC's Nightly News, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell reported that "McCain didn't vote" on a troop funding bill, Mitchell reported accurately in response to Cindy McCain's comments: "In fact, Obama voted against money for the troops once, in May 2007 -- he said because the bill didn't include a timetable for withdrawal. But John McCain also voted against a troop-funding bill two months earlier for the opposite reason: because that bill called for a troop withdrawal."

From the October 8 post on First Read:

Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin went after Barack Obama's lack of military service Wednesday, with both women making personal appeals as mothers of sons serving overseas.

"The day that Sen. Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body," Cindy McCain said at a joint McCain-Palin rally at Lehigh University. "I would suggest that Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day. And see what it means, and see what it means to have a loved one serving in the Armed Forces, and more importantly serving in harm's way."

Both McCain and Obama have opposed Senate measures with troop funding attached. Obama voted against a troop-funding bill in May 2007 because it did not contain language calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. McCain opposed, but did not vote, on a troop-funding measure earlier that year that did call for a withdrawal timeline, a position with which he vigorously disagrees.

Palin later suggested Obama did not understand the cost of war.

UPDATE: First Read subsequently posted the following:

*** UPDATE *** Per an amended entry from Factcheck.org: On April 26, 2007, McCain did, in fact, not vote on the final version of a troop-funding bill after it emerged from a House-Senate conference committee. But he DID vote "nay" on an earlier version of the bill when it first moved through the Senate, before the final version was agreed to by a House and Senate compromise.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Defense Funding
Network/Outlet
MSNBC
Show/Publication
MSNBC.com
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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