Fox News' Smith on McCain's misstatements: "It's not as if he misspoke three times about the exact same thing" -- but he did

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On Studio B, after Dan Gerstein noted that Sen. John McCain "confused Sunni and Shia," Shepard Smith asserted, "[I]t's not as if he misspoke three times about the exact same thing, about gunfire in Bosnia." In fact, McCain made the admittedly false claim that Iranian operatives were training Al Qaeda for fighting in Iraq three times over the course of two days.

During the April 14 edition of Fox News' Studio B, after Democratic strategist Dan Gerstein noted that Sen. John McCain "confused Sunni and Shia," host Shepard Smith asserted, "[I]t's not as if he misspoke three times about the exact same thing, about gunfire in Bosnia." In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, McCain made the admittedly false claim that Iranian operatives were training Al Qaeda for fighting in Iraq three times over the course of two days -- once on March 17 while being interviewed by nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt and twice during March 18 remarks to reporters in Amman, Jordan. In Jordan, McCain corrected himself after Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) whispered in his ear: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda," and McCain's presidential campaign subsequently acknowledged the misstatement.

Moreover, as Media Matters further documented, during Gen. David Petraeus' April 8 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain asked Petraeus: "Do you still view Al Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?" Petraeus replied: "It is still a major threat, though it is certainly not as major a threat as it was, say, 15 months ago." McCain then asked: "Certainly not an obscure sect of -- of the Shiites all -- overall --" Petraeus replied, "No," as McCain said: "or Sunnis or anybody else?" In fact, Al Qaeda in Iraq is a Sunni group, not a Shiite group.

From the April 14 edition of Fox News' Studio B with Shepard Smith:

GERSTEIN: John McCain -- again, I have a lot of respect for John McCain -- he confused Sunni and Shia. This is a guy who's supposedly an expert on national security and Middle East politics. So this idea that Obama --

SMITH: You can't make an argument that he misspoke?

GERSTEIN: He misspoke, just like -- wait, wait --

SMITH: It's not as if he -- it's not as if he misspoke three times about --

GERSTEIN: Actually, he did. He did it twice.

SMITH: -- the exact same thing, about gunfire in Bosnia. There's a big difference.

GERSTEIN: Well, that's true.

SMITH: And I bet he wouldn't take a six-shooter into a duck blind.

GERSTEIN: That's true. But again, it all goes to show that I think a lot of this stuff about who misspoke about what isn't relevant to people's lives. And ultimately, people are going to judge him based on their actions, their record, and what they're going to do for the American people.

SMITH: We shall see.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Terrorism, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Shepard Smith
Show/Publication
Studio B
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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