Well, we've heard the interview now. And John McCain either doesn't know who the Prime Minister of Spain is, thinks Spain is a country in Latin America, or possibly both.
In case, you haven't seen our updates from last night, yesterday John McCain was interviewed on the Florida affiliate of Spanish radio network Union Radio. And in the interview McCain appeared not to know who the Prime Minister of Spain was and assumed he was some anti-American leftist leader from South America.
After the interviewer presses him a couple times on the point and tries to focus him on the fact that Prime Minister Zapatero isn't from Mexico and isn't a drug lord either McCain comes back at her saying, "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."
Then there's a moment of awkward pause before she says. "But what about Europe? I'm talking about the President of Spain."
McCain: "What about me, what?
Interviewer: "Are you willing to meet with him if you're elected president?"
McCain: "I am wiling to meet with any leader who is dedicated to the same principles and philosophy that we are for humans rights, democracy and freedom. And I will stand up to those who do not."
At this point, the interviewer gets tongue-tied presumably because she can't get over McCain not knowing what Spain is.
Here's a link to the interview in English -
Today, McCain's camp is furiously spinning his confusion and embarrassment.
The confrontation resulted in mega-headlines around the Spanish speaking world and pitted Chavez, Castro and others against the Spaniards.
So, was McCain purposely trying to diss the Spanish leader? Questions about whether McCain forgot which country Zapatero leads, got confused about Spain's geographic relationship to Latin America, or confused Zapatero with the Zapatista rebels from Mexico have exploded on blogs since reports of the interview first surfaced.
McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann said McCain's answer was intentional.
"The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain's willingness to meet Zapatero (and id'd him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred). Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview," he said in an e-mail.
Insulting the PM of Spain? Getting confused in the middle of an interview about basic world facts? And then having your campaign insist that you WEREN'T confused, and intentionally chose to insult Spain?
Not a good week for McCain, to say the least