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John McCain thinks Spain is a rogue state in South America

AndesBarack ObamaBoliviaEvo MoralezForeign policyHugo ChavezJohn McCainLatin AmericaPresidential ElectionSarah PalinspainVenezuelaZapatero
John McCain, Barack Obama, Presidential Election, Latin America, Hugo Chavez, Evo Moralez, Venezuela, Bolivia, Andes, Foreign policy, Sarah Palin, spain, Zapatero
John McCain (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Enough worrying about Sarah Palin's foreign policy expertise, time to return to John McCain's.

The Spanish press -- in Spain, on the Iberian Peninsula, east of Portugal and south of  France -- is having a field day over a Cadena SER radio interview  in which the senator seems to confuse Spain's prime minister with a strongman in Latin America.

In the beginning of the interview, McCain discusses how he would not sit down with presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or Evo Morales of Bolivia and certainly not with Raul Castro.  Standard fare. The interviewer then says, "Let's shift to Spain, would you invite President [Jose Luis Rodriguez] Zapatero to meet with you in the White House?" This is a big deal for Spaniards; Zapatero never received such an invitation from President George Bush. At first McCcain gives a vague answer about how he'll work with anyone who cooperates withe U.S. but is determined to stand firm against our enemies. When pressed again, he makes no promises but notes "the importance of "our relationship with Latin America."

Perplexed, the interview blurts out "But I'm talking about Europe. About Spain!" Even then, McCain indeed does stand firm. He never giving a clue that he acutally knows who Zapatero is. He speaks in English and a Spanish translater is speaking over him so I'll translate back to English: He'll be friends with our friends and stand firm against those who oppose us."

John McCain, Barack Obama, Presidential Election, Latin America, Hugo Chavez, Evo Moralez, Venezuela, Bolivia, Andes, Foreign policy, Sarah Palin, spain, Zapatero
Zapatero (PEDRO ARMESTRE/ AFP /Getty Images)
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."


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If you are a McCain adviser, you have a choice. Do you want him to appear clueless in foreign policy, his claimed strength? Or do you want him to appear belligerent toward Spain, an important ally with great influence across South America?

Tough choice.


Its very impressive how a simple back and for conversation , is spinned around a interviewer sideup, is very clear the confusion is created to later make his own conclusions. Like a talk show host has remarkable habilities, but like journalist is professional despicable.



Unpatriotic Sacrifice of American Wealth and Blood for the Benefit of Judeofascist Israel
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Roberts and Falwell, “agents of intolerance”
Roe vs. Wade Sacrificial Killing of Children
To “occupy Iraq for 100 years”, “bomb Iran”, and “just keep Afghanistan”.
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Long Scandalous, Contentious, and Non-Productive Political Career



Here is the transcript of the radio interview:

QUESTION: Senator, finally, let's talk about Spain. If you're elected president, would you be willing to invite President Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero to the White House to meet with you?

MCCAIN: I would be willing meet, uh, with those leaders who our friends [sic] and want to work with us in a cooperative fashion, and by the way, President Calderon of Mexico is fighting a very very tough fight against the drug cartels. I'm glad we are now working in cooperation with the Mexican government on the Merida plan. I intend to move forward with relations, and invite as many of them as I can, those leaders, to the White House.

QUESTION: Would that invitation be extended to the Zapatero government, to the president itself?

MCCAIN: I don't, you know, honestly I have to look at relations and the situations and the priorities, but 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.

QUESTION: So you have to wait and see if he's willing to meet with you, or you'll be able to do it in the White House?

MCCAIN: Well again I don't, all I can tell you is that I have a clear record of working with leaders in the hemisphere that are friends with us, and standing up to those who are not, and that's judged on the basis of the importance of our relationship with Latin America, and the entire region.

QUESTION: Okay... what about you, I'm talking about the President of Spain?

MCCAIN: What about me what?

QUESTION: Okay... are you willing to meet with him if you are elected president?

MCCAIN: I am willing to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for human rights, democracy and freedom, and I will stand up to those that do not.


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."

Yes, it's good that the writer or editor insisted on this clarification. In Spain the color blue is now associated with the conservative PP and red is the color of the socialist PSOE.

Here are their websites.




This just gets worse and worse. First the clueless and un-worldly Caribou Barbie, and now McBush.

Hey McCain, I've been to Spain at least eight times....how many times have you been there? Spain is in Europe, not South America!

The problem with America, and the majority of Americans, is that they are not well-traveled, and have no clue about other countries. They tend to believe only what they read with the biased media.

Folks, it's time to get a passport and you'll realize that the USA is not the only country on this earth! (But now that the economy has tanked, maybe now is not a good time.)


Heaven help us.


Can you please fix all your typos? This is the LA Times? Your errors make it look like a rant on AOL.

John Egan

Please! Just what we need! Another George Bush.... Good God! Don't we have enough problems? I am soooooo sorry I have voted Repub all my life... Never again! Not for dog-catcher... That would just give these yahoos a foothold!

jegan ;-\


And I thought Palin who claims she can see Russia from Alaska (it is Russian Siberia, far removed from Moscow and most of Russia's citizens and life) was clueless! He has been in the Senate how long?


He's losing it. I think it's completely appropriate to question his mental fitness for the job.

D. McArthur

This is absurd. Senator McCain never said that Spain was in Latin America. You have to really twist what was said to make it look that way, but because you're a bunch of liberal morons, that is exactly what you're trying to do.

The MSM is just trying to create a gaffe because they're afraid the Republicans are going to win the election. We all know that the MSM is largely Democrat. Why not get a real job.


Well, they all speak SPAINish. That's pretty confusing.


Look, all politicians make gaffes -- however, I somehow think Barack Obama would not confuse the two. Not so long ago, John McCain would have made a fine president. But his time has passed. He does not deserve to be elected.


D. McArthur, it's not a liberal v. conservative issue in which we are all homogenous.

Anyway, to me the interview did not reveal that he thought Spain was in South America. Let's not be silly. I think it is more likely that he was focusing on what his next answer would be - it's not uncommon to do that when the pressure is on, right? He may have missed the transition to the discussion/question regarding Spain. Either way, hopefully he'll learn how important it is to listen first so that your answer best reflects the questions asked of you.

barbara girga

Republcans will, of course, have an answer to defend this type of conversation. This is high school talk, trying to pass an exam without the knowledge of the test. Who cares.. if a Republican or Democrat said this conversation... it smacks of not knowing the issue. The answer is not at all specific. Sadly, McBush and Barbie will probably win because of all of the reasons they shouldn't...PTA Mom, ideal mother (who's spouse and she are all over America and NOT at home with the children). An ideal family is one who lives together, not having a nanny care for the kids while Mom and Dad try to get elected (yes, he is with her, not with the special needs child). Oh, well, we will all get what we deserve with all of this nonsense. Back to basics, everyone, so America can become a world force and one that is respected.

mr sparky

Man o man are the left wingers out in force today. Apparently the welfare offices are closed on Thursdays, they have nothing to do. I did not know that.


Even if this story is true, how many states did Obama recently say make up our country? Was it "57"? Forget about international affairs, would you trust a person who said this with domestic issues? :) Everybody mispeaks, but this is not a mispeech/typo: Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama!

Aznar Cheerleader

ok, don't worry for the mistake. I'm an admirer of Mr. McDonald. Being myself another Spanish supporter of my right-wing national leaders, I will be happy to receive the new Australian President in my land. We are close friends and a growing force of minds around the world. God give us our brilliant intelligence to command this complex, recent, and probably flat planet. First we will send a new armed coalition to invade Russia bombing the South Pole. Later we will send some space-ships to colonize the Sun.


HI American people:

I'm Spanish, from Barcelona, i write from there.

Is normal McCain, does not know anytthing about my country, really we do not exist, normally, we have Zapatero president, an stupid, bad education,, do not stand up in front your flag, all nations need and wants respect and cortesy.

Zapatero friends are Castro, Chaves, Iran, these aren't good friends for anybody.

Sincerely i do not like these bad treatment from my country to yours, sudently reire our poor troops fom Irak, without notice,,,i is normal McCain and OBama, doesn't want to know anything from Spain, i feel bad in my heart, but i understand it.

We are going very bad way with Zapatero.

Sorry my mistakes writing and sorry i do not want disturb here



To McArthur,

Hey, they all speak english in US and in Brittain, and in Australia, does that mean they are in the same place? how stpued could be that way of thinking..., There is a lot more people speaking spanish as his own language than english man... its normal thet it's spoken in diferent places in the world dont you think?

You guys should be ambarassed of people like McCain or Bush opt and even get to, be a president of USA.

Ben, from spain ;)

Less Pain

Its too late folks! This country hasn't the will or intelligence to return to its past glory. Welcome to the new improved middle ages! You better start learning Chinese!


Jane, Americans speak English and we Spaniards don't think they/you (guessing you are American) are from the United Kingdom.

Are you saying we should be confused as well? Maybe next time we'll think America is right next to Scotland...

Ah! And I hope we don't need to explain why people in Latin America speak Spanish.

Mark Billar

McCain has all the signs of early Alzheimers. I'm serious.


J.Diaz: Don't confuse others, you know this is not true. I really hope Obama to win the generals. I think I'll be a change on our/yours society.

Best Regards. Marc from Spain on holidays in San Francisco (CA)


Well, he was interviewed by SER, first Spain radio. He must guess something about Spain will be in the questions, and about meeting Zapatero was an easy one, as Bush never did.
Zapatero will be soon head of EU because now it's turn for spanish presidence, as now is Sarcozy for France.


To Suedehead

McCain never said Spain is in Latin America... nor the opposite. In fact, the feeling you get from the conversation is that his vague answers are clearly trying to hide the fact that he does not know at all where it is. His cautious approach is that it is in Latin America (why else would he mention president Calderon of Mexico, and Latin America again later on in the conversation?), but when he sees the journalists' reaction tries to escape the situation with the vaguest of all answsers.

To Scientist: journalist is asking a simple question and he cannot get it answered. His insistance represents the well informed voter who wants to know what kind of guy is running for office. Sorry for republicans, but if McCain does not even know what continent one of his allies is in, I want to know. The journalist's job in that sense is perfect.

Regarding the opinion of Aznar Cheerleader: Aznar is the previous president of Spain. His party lost the power to Zapatero. With that nickname, I would not take his opinion as an objectivity model. The equivalent nickname in the US would be something like Bush Fan.


Hi. I'm spanish (from Spain, Europe) also, as J.Diaz.

But please don't listen to him, he speaks as a retarded partisan of sorts (in his case, conservative).

Of course we exist as a country. Spain is a key player in the EU, behind the UK, France and Germany, but already ahead of Italy, even in economic terms.

I believe if McCain was thinking about the past bad relationships USA-Spain, he would have explicitly said so. Possibly dismissing the issue and calling for hypothetical "good relationships with all US friends, as is Spain".

It seems clear in the interview he didn't really know what to say about Spain. He didn't say it was in Latin America, BUT he answered about Mexico. Sure, we have a lot in common with Mexico... only the language and some very basic cultural link.

Quite obviously, his answers are generic ones for any kind of question about any country.

I don't know if he ignores where Spain is, or if he was tired at the moment and didn't think before answering. Anyway, McCain is not in the same intellectual terms as G. W. Bush, thankfully.


We could learn a lot from Spain. Look at where Spain was politically in 1975 and check out the vast improvements in the economy, health care, the arts, and democracy since. Then check out what the USA has done (or not done) in the same time frame. Why do we always chauvinistically ignore the accomplishments of other countries, and reject every opportunity to learn?


You can get more context if you actually listen to the interview, rather than read it.

You can hear in McCain's voice that he's clearly exhausted. I think he's human and he just spaced it, like we all do from time to time.

That said, what's the implication for his ability to lead competently - make important decisions with clear mind - given the relentless schedule and pressure of being the leader of the free world? If he's making these mistakes on the campaign trail, can we trust him to be competent the 3rd day into a crisis situation?

McCain is a man I respect, but as each day passes I grow more doubtful, based on his behavior overall. He is proving not to be the man I'd hoped he was.


"tenga el color que tenga" meaning, "whatever his color." is not a gaffe, in spain we all now that it means blue(pp) or red(psoe) for political reasons.

And not red is diferent from comunist.


It's not really "a big deal" for Spaniards whether the american president invites spanish prime minister to meet with him at the White House or not. Spanish opposition leader uses this to attack prime minister Zapatero, but he is the only one in the whole country who gives a shit.


don't be depressed and vote for Change. I doubt you can learn special things from Spain, except how to avoid the decadence of our past Empire. I think it is a pity the USA cannot be again an strong country to defend our western values like human dignity and equality. Now there are new powers in the world and everybody is happy if they can improve their lifes. However, still they should walk a long way to assume many values that to us are a natural thing. How can you defend all these conquests? Instead using your strong power in education and knowledge to spread democracy and human rights around the world, we check in the last years your government was in a psychotic race to pursue invisible terrorists and bombing the poor countries. What happens to you?. The USA are a part of everybody. We dress the same robes, we list the same music and we see the same cinema. It is not possible be anti-USA but you must take care of your own responsibility with your past and the planet. To be again the first front to defend our best values. If you vote the same guys you will fall in dark hole, dragging the rest of us!!! Can you see this?


The point here is that he showed himself kinda doubtfull about the question. He wasn't able to give a straight answer. And therefore, it was made clear that he had no clue about what was he talking about, at that's crucial for a man who wants to rule with words (and some tons of guns as well, of course).

To Mario

Unfortunatelly, all imperia are decadent.


SPAIN > usa

no more

Just a question

Does anybody think that McCain just sucks Zapatero and he talked about Mexico because he don´t want to lose the support of the latin people of the USA?


Obama doesn't even know where Latin America is. As a latin american that can vote in the U.S. my vote is still going to John McCain. He is still the most pragmatic and reasonable of the presidential candidates.

Luis Zapatista

Zapatero is the grandson of guerrillero assasin Zapata, and we are a big family of incompetent burocrats. Vote McCain in order to bomb Madrid!


Don't worry Mr. McCain. Even Ms. Britney Spears referred to singer Shakira as Mexican, when she really is from Colombia! Mistakes do happen.

Don't be surprised if some people think Puerto Rico, Guam, and US Virgin Islands are all foreign countries!


The man is incompetent. For years the early-onset Alzheimers that plagued Ronald Reagan was hidden by the handlers. It appears that the same is happening with John McCain. I smell a rat and its name is Cheney. That man will not "go gentle into the good night."

Jorge G.

Don't trust on J.Diez its just one nerd who tries to piss on us. Jane, we know who are the people from Canada,Australia, U.S.A. and the 99.9% of the spanish people knows that they espeak english, but we know there are different countries. Spain is one of the biggest(in extension) coutries in Europe an one of the most important. You should know Spain was one of the "3 Conquerors" with France and England a couple of centuries ago and you should know Spain took part in some USA states indepence. And if you should know that Spain is related to USA, your future(who is going to fake the elections) president MUST, at least, know where is spain...

Javier. Madrid.Spain.European Union.Planet Earth

LOL, It does not surprise me at all, I was an exchange student 12 years ago at New Jersey, and a great bunch of my high school fellows, thought Spain was somewhere between Mexico and Dragon`s land.
Well, i guess you can forget that over 500 years ago we colonized America from South Argentina to North of Oregon (killing all native americans)..but that`s just history...and who cares about that, More over, a fellow asked me Can you really see the moon? How come if you haven`t been there?


I am From Spain;

Jhon Mc. Cain should not be seated with our President Zapatero, because the most of the times our president is busy with Hugo Chaves, The Muslim problems, Castro,...

Spain with Zapatero is an absolute disaster, before with President Aznar we was should to should with US, UK, Germany and the most developed countries and our economy was better than never, but now with President Zapatero we are totaly lost.

About if Mc Cain knows where is Spain or not, something used several times in Socialist Publications in my country to create more hate to the US I will recomend to any US paper to make an intervew to a few of our main Socialist Politicians asking then where is Washington DC and Where is Seattle, or asking where is Grand Canyon they will have very nice surprises.


The problem is the confusion that exists between whites with Spanish, as Latin, and so on. Spain was a great empire that conquered America and took possessions from Vancouver Island (Nootka) to Patagonia, among many other places in the world. Hence the Iberian or Hispanic heritage that exists in America, if they were the French now speak French. When I see a Sioux or Cheyenne do not think that is English but a Native American, why not true when it is a Mayan, Aztec, Guarani ,...? Madrid, capital of Spain, is the same latitude as New York, (a girl from California was surprised to discover the fall of Madrid ) we are Europeans like the French and American independence to help when our troops cleared of English throughout the southeastern U.S.. Why all these historical oversights? On another occasion a few Americans in Madrid told me that they had been surprised to see that the Spaniards we were white, again we are confused with Native Americans. I would like to improve education about the reality of Spain in the wonderful country that is USA.
And as Latin is a Spanish as an English, indeed the best of Anglo agreed to a much lesser degree and the time the Roman invasion that Celtiberians (which is equivalent to the Spanish and Portuguese for the Anglo-Saxon England). And least of all Latino is a native of America, please review the concepts.

José Manuel

I'm Spanish, and I have to say I don't think McCain said that. However, I think that, in my opinion, US needs a different type of leader, a leader who knows what is really the important things and who has coherence (our leaders have not it sometimes). When you want an other country support you, you must understand the reasons of them, because US is not the only and supreme form of life or liberty, there is a world apart of US and it's really important understand it if you want it understand you


All I know is that we are in deep caca. If our leaders don't know the other countries politicians and their history. I think we are in big problems. We need to make sure to give them some world history class before they even go to The White House.


This seriously reminds me of Miss Teen USA 2007 when it comes to the geography issues. For some good commentary on ridiculous issues such as this check out:


Michael Murphy

I think the press has been too harsh on McCain's diplomatic war with Spain. He still hasn't gotten over his boyhood trauam when he read about the sinking of the USS Maine in the Havana harbor.


I'm Spanish and I feel terribly sorry and ashamed of this lack of culture Mr McCain shows. Is that the image of the leader USA wants to show to the world?

I think that it's really pathetic that a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America simply doesn't know where or even WHAT is Spain!

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