On GMA, Sawyer didn't challenge McCain's false claim that Obama said he would "attack Pakistan"

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer failed to challenge Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Barack Obama has said that as president, he would "attack Pakistan." Nor did Sawyer challenge McCain's reference to "the Iraq-Pakistan border," which does not exist.

On the July 21 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, co-anchor Diane Sawyer failed to challenge Sen. John McCain's false claim that Sen. Barack Obama has said that as president, he would "attack Pakistan." After Sawyer asked, "Do you agree the situation in Afghanistan is 'precarious and urgent'?" McCain said: "[T]here's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do, and I'm afraid that it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border. And I would not announce that I'm going to attack Pakistan, as Senator Obama did when he was during his campaign." In fact, Obama has not said he would "attack" Pakistan. Nor did Sawyer point out in response to McCain's reference to "the Iraq-Pakistan border" that Iraq does not share a border with Pakistan:

Middle East map

The ABC News political newsletter The Note said of McCain's "Iraq-Pakistan border" comment: "[I]t was McCain who owns the first big gaffe of the trip," referring to Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe.

In his July 15 foreign policy speech, Obama said: "We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps, and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like [Osama] bin Laden if we have them in our sights." Previously, during an August 1, 2007, foreign policy speech, Obama stated: "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and [Pakistani] President [Pervez] Musharraf won't act, we will." Obama made any actions conditional, not definite, and he subsequently noted that he "never called for an invasion of Pakistan."

Media Matters for America has documented instances in which the media falsely claimed Obama said he would "invade" Pakistan or uncritically reported McCain's false assertion that Obama "once suggested bombing our ally, Pakistan."

From the July 21 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

SAWYER: Do you agree the situation in Afghanistan is "precarious and urgent"?

McCAIN: Well, I think it's very serious. I think --

SAWYER: Not "precarious and urgent"?

McCAIN: -- it's a serious situation. Oh, I don't know exactly whether -- run through the vocabulary, but it's a very -- it's a serious situation. And -- but there's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do, and I'm afraid that it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border. And I would not announce that I'm going to attack Pakistan, as Senator Obama did when he was during his campaign. But most importantly, he railed against, voted against, and said the surge wouldn't work. He said it wouldn't work and couldn't work, and has failed to acknowledge it did work and we have succeeded. Thank God.

SAWYER: I can't let you leave, Senator McCain, this morning without making one more valiant attempt at the vice presidential question. Can you tell us anything new about your timetable and how many people are on your list right now?

From the July 21 edition of ABCNews.com's The Note:

And it was McCain who owns the first big gaffe of the trip -- appearing to confuse Iraq and Afghanistan.

Asked by ABC's Diane Sawyer Monday morning whether the "the situation in Afghanistan in [sic] precarious and urgent," McCain responded:

"I think it's serious. ... It's a serious situation, but there's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border," said McCain, R-Ariz. ... on "Good Morning America."

Iraq and Pakistan do not share a border. Afghanistan and Pakistan do.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Diane Sawyer
Show/Publication
Good Morning America
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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