Time to give yourselves a round of applause. Kudos to everyone here, and across the blogosphere who forced the TM to cover a story that only 48 hours ago was being completely ignored here in the States. The power of a massive effort, starting at TPM, spilling over to here at Dkos, onto Digg, then to HuffPo and other left blogs put the TM on notice.
The first crack was TIME magazine, but it was soon to become a flood, and the McCain campaign, reeling under its inability to staunch their economic platform bleeding was forced to do "damage control" which created even more damage.
This effort was even more important than you think, because McCain is running on his two mythological strengths - foreign policy experience and defense. Spain is not only our ally in NATO, but currently has forces in Afganistan. The issue also allowed the press to recount the series of previous gaffes and mis-speaks made by McCain over the course of the campaign, and to focus on the top of the ticket, not simply on the total lack of experience of Sarah Palin. This will now provide fodder for the comedic left for at least a week - helped along by the facile rhyming of McCain with Spain, plain, rain, shame...oh the comedic value is priceless!
While many Americans aren't focused on this story, since Wall Street and the economy are the story of the day, week and months ahead, any story that further emphasizes McCain's cluelessness about anything with a Spanish surname is a win for us, given the fact that we need a huge turnout from Latino/Hispanic voters.
We all know where the story started, and there are numerous diaries here that covered the initial gaffe and visibility efforts, but I'd like to round-up the "fallout". Will update throughout the day with your help.
TIME has updated it's earlier story, Did McCain Diss Spain?.
The new one is now: The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on McCain
AP had this article:
Jose Luis Rodriguez Who?
The Spanish press is of several minds: It's possible McCain, who in April said he would be pleased to meet with Zapatero, forgot the Prime Minister's name. Or maybe, because of all the previous talk about Latin American leaders he confused Zapatero with Zapatista? Does he really thinks Spain is a troublesome country somewhere in the Andes? Others wonder if the Republican candidate is still sore about Spain pulling its troops out of Iraq.
When told of McCain's refusal to invite him to the White House, Zapatero brushed it off, saying he'll work with whichever man gets elected. Then he stumbled into what would be a gaffe here in the U.S., by graciously adding: "tenga el color que tenga" meaning, "whatever his color."
Rick Sanchez did this long piece (though his Spanish translations are off and his accent is lousy)
Rachel Maddow did a brilliant summary:
Sept 18: Rachel Maddow talks to Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia about politics, foreign policy and whether John McCain was confused or just making a bizarre foreign policy statement when he refused to commit to a meeting with Spain’s prime minister.
can't find an embed yet.
Reuters:Lets Talk About Spain, Or Not
Youtuber's are having fun with this:
McCain Stains Spain
US Republican presidential candidate John McCain has raised suspicions in Spain that he thinks the country's prime minister is Latin American.
McCain's statement was a clear departure from earlier this year, when McCain said it was time for the two countries to move past their differences over Iraq. "I would like [Zapatero] to visit the United States. I would be very interested, not only in normalizing relations with Spain, but in achieving good and productive relations," McCain told the Spanish newspaper El Pais in April.
The apparent reversal drew rebukes from several quarters.
"This is insane," Max Bergmann, deputy director of the liberal National Security Network, said in a statement. "McCain won't meet with a NATO ally, that has nearly 1,000 troops in Afghanistan, that has lost more than 20 soldiers there, has been brutally attacked by Al Qaeda, is incredibly influential in Latin America, has the seventh largest economy in the world, is a DEMOCRACY, and is a large and influential country in the EU. Won't meet with them?"
All of a sudden, John McCain has a problem with Spain. In an interview Monday with Radio Caracol WSUA 1260AM, a Spanish-language station from Miami, the Republican presidential nominee was asked whether he would "be willing to invite President Jose Luis Zapatero to the White House." This should have been an easy question for McCain to answer--because he's answered it before.
Except it's not what McCain said Monday. Instead, the Arizona senator responded to Radio Caracol's question with some boilerplate about being "willing to meet with those leaders who are friends and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion." Pressed to be more specific, McCain simply repeated his talking point: "I can assure you I will establish closer relations with our friends and I will stand up to those who want to do harm to the United States of America." Needless to say, that's an unusual way to refer to a European democracy and fellow member of NATO--as confused Spanish commenters have pointed out in the days since McCain's remarks broke overseas. Especially if you've already said that you "would like" its leader "to visit" the U.S.
US News and World Report
Memo to Randy Sheunemann: Your candidate can do worse things than get confused. Like he could imply that a NATO ally might mean us harm.
I'm pretty sure that John McCain was the former, not doing the latter, in a recent Spanish-language radio interview, but his chief foreign policy adviser apparently insists otherwise.
Sheunemann's insistence to the Washington Post that McCain knew who he was talking about when he clearly didn't is not only bizarre but affirmatively counterproductive to the campaign. If McCain was on the ball when he seemed unsure whether the leader of a NATO ally wanted to do harm to us, then he has larger issues than mere confusion—larger even than the difference between "Zapatero" and "Zapatista."
This isn't going away. As it fades as a nice blip, it gets added to the litmus test litany of McCain gaffes, blunders, flip flops and lies.
But the most important point of all - is that WE make a difference. We can force the TM to cover stories, and we aid the Obama campaign by dragging McCain into defense mode.
Si Se Puede! Obamanos!
John McCain Knows Nothing about Foreign Affairs
For those of you who speak Spanish - this is hysterical - currently on the air on radio in Florida making fun of McCain's total inability to understand Spanish:
MIXED-UP MCCAIN IS THE LAUGHINGSTOCK OF FLORIDA!