John McCain’s Very Bad Week: A Cheat Sheet

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I was asked to appear on Hardball on Friday to discuss John McCain’s week–that is, his very bad week. It’s been tough to keep track of all that’s gone wrong for him–all the self-inflicted wounds–in recent days. So I made a cheat sheet. Here it is.

* McCain adviser Phil Gramm remark: Americans who worry about the economy are “whiners” and there’s no problem with the economy, just a “mental recession.” McCain response: Gramm doesn’t speak for me. But, um, that day Gramm was speaking for McCain, explaining McCain’s economic policies to the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

* Called the fundamental funding mechanism of Social Security a “disgrace,” essentially attacking the whole program.

* Released list of 300 economists who supposedly support his economic plan. Guess what? Not all of them do.

* Became visibly uncomfortable when asked whether health plans that cover Viagara should also cover birth control for women (after McCain surrogate/adviser Carly Fiorina raised this issue).

* Joked about killing Iranians with cigarette imports.

* Attacked Obama for not voting for a bill designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. Whoops–McCain didn’t vote for the bill, either.

* His campaign accused Obama of flip-flopping on Iraq. Politifact.com said that’s not true.

* Denied ever saying he’s not an expert on the economy. Well, he said it. Memory problems?

* McCain wants to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes and routinely blasts Obama as a defeatist for proposing a timetable for withdrawal. Yet Iraqi leaders said they now want to set up a timetable. There goes that issue.

* Campaign accused of screening reporters allowed to ask questions on its conference calls for the media, and did not declare, we do not screen.

* Claimed to have a perfect voting record on veterans affairs. Veterans groups disagree. (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America gave him a grade of D.)

* Pledged to cut the deficit by end of his first term. Prominent experts said not possible.

* McCain campaign ad charged that Obama voted to raise taxes on people making as little as $32,000 a year. Factcheck.org said this is false.

* Pro-McCain RNC ad said Obama has no new energy solutions. But Obama proposes $150 billion in new tax credits for alternative energy.

I might have missed a few other McCain slip-ups of this week. But the Hardball segment was only scheduled for a few minutes. McCain supporters ought to hope the guy and his entire campaign take the weekend off.

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