The Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com's The Trail both quoted Sen. John McCain's false assertion that Sen. Barack Obama "once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan." McClatchy Newspapers -- apparently quoting from the prepared text of McCain's January 19 speech -- reported that McCain said Obama "once suggested invading our ally, Pakistan." In fact, in an August 2007 speech, Obama stated: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will."
Responding to Chris Matthews' question, "[W]ill Barack Obama's oratorical ability on the lectern in front of big rooms continue to be his winning edge?" The New York Times' David Brooks said: "Yes, but he's got to get away from colleges. Go visit a factory for once." In fact, Obama delivered what his campaign called a "major economic policy address" at a Wisconsin General Motors factory a few days before Brooks made his comment.
A Wall Street Journal article about a hypothetical general election matchup between Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama asserted that "Mr. McCain might enter a race versus Mr. Obama with an advantage among Hispanic voters." However, recent polls have found that significantly more Hispanics would vote for Obama than McCain in a head-to-head contest.
A Wall Street Journal article asserted that "[w]hile Sen. [John] McCain has shifted his emphasis, talking more now about 'securing the border first,' he remains committed to the broad strokes of his original approach [on immigration reform]." And the Washington Post editorial board wrote that McCain has made "what amounts to only a mild shift in emphasis in his longstanding position." However, McCain's current position -- that the borders must be secured before other reforms can be addressed -- is a reversal of his prior position; McCain previously argued that border security could not be disaggregated from other aspects of comprehensive immigration reform without being rendered ineffective. Moreover, he now says that he would not support his own legislation if it came up for a vote in the Senate.
The Washington Post's Paul Kane claimed that Sen. John McCain is "using his blanket opposition to earmarked spending as a regular line of attack" against Sen. Hillary Clinton. But in the same article, Kane contradicted his claim that McCain has a policy of "blanket opposition to earmarked spending," reporting: "McCain, who has helped lead efforts to strip some earmarks from Senate bills, has not focused on the money headed to his home state. Other Arizona lawmakers secured more than $214 million in pet projects in fiscal 2008 spending bills."
NBC's David Gregory stated: "John McCain is not going to pander to the right. He did that once and it didn't work." The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson and MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan both agreed, asserting: "He's not going to do it." In fact, McCain has attempted to satisfy conservative Republicans by reversing his positions on issues such as taxes, immigration, and the religious right.
In endorsing Sen. John McCain's bid for the Republican presidential nomination, The Baltimore Sun asserted that McCain has "stood his ground" on "immigration reform." However, while McCain now says that border security must be addressed first, he previously said that border security could not be disaggregated from other provisions in the legislation on immigration reform. Similarly, the San Antonio Express-News claimed in its endorsement of McCain that his "advocacy for comprehensive immigration reform" is among the positions that may "be attractive" to "independent voters"; but McCain has said he "would not" vote for his own comprehensive immigration reform proposals.
The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg wrote that Sen. John McCain's "differences with the White House are well known," and added: "He did not vote for the president's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, a sore point with groups like the conservative Club for Growth." However, Stolberg did not note that after opposing the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, McCain now supports making the tax cuts permanent -- a position Bush noted during his Sunday interview.
A New York Times article about Sen. John McCain's speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference asserted that on the issue of immigration, McCain "has not changed his basic position." Similarly, National Public Radio's Mara Liasson stated, "McCain hasn't changed his position on providing illegal aliens with a pathway to citizenship, but he now has a new approach: secure the border first." In fact, McCain's current support for securing the border first represents a reversal of his prior position.