McCain: I never said American leadership was better under Obama

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Published by: Robert Laurie on Tuesday June 13th, 2017

Not buying it.

Last week, John McCain was asked "what message" Trump was sending when he attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter. McCain, probably happy to be in the papers again, obliged with a quote that accused Trump of damaging America's standing on the global stage.  Despite eight years of disastrously failed foreign policy, the Senator indicated that Trump was faring worse as a global leader than Obama.

In case you missed that, here's what he had to say:

Senator John McCain, a prominent Republican voice on foreign policy, was visibly irked when asked by the Guardian what message Trump had sent to the United Kingdom, one of America’s most enduring allies.

“What do you think the message is? The message is that America doesn’t want to lead,” McCain said, while adding of the rest of the world: “They are not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or whether it be in Antarctica.”

Asked if America’s standing on the global stage was better under Barack Obama, McCain, a fervent critic of the previous administration’s foreign policy, responded: “As far as American leadership is concerned, yes.”

Now, I'm on record agreeing that the Sadiq Khan tweet was not the best idea. If McCain had said that, most people would be agreeing with him.

However, the above quote is pretty much the standard boilerplate you'd expect to hear out of any congressional lefty.  McCain clearly despises Trump, and he's not too far from your everyday centrist Democrat, but he is - at least in name - a Republican. So, the comment raised eyebrows.

Now, he's trying to claim he never said it. The Daily Caller caught up with McCain and asked him about the interview.  McCain's denial is ...unconvincing.

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain denied Monday that he said U.S. leadership under President Donald Trump is worse than when Barack Obama was in office.

“I never said such a thing. A thousand times I said, ‘Look at the world in 2009 and look at it today.’ Of course, I never said [that]. If I did I was joking,” McCain told The Daily Caller.

Uh-huh. A joke. Sure thing.

Look, I'll be the first to admit that media outlets have their own agendas. Are they above misquoting a prominent politician, or even inventing a quote that serves their agenda?  Of course not.

However, in this case, I have no problem imagining John McCain saying precisely what they claim he said.  McCain loves attention. Offer him any excuse to get his name in a paper or his face on TV and he'll take it.  His entire career is littered with moments where he decided to claim the perceived moral high ground - and media praise - that he enjoys when he trashes members of his own party.

If it's not Trump, it's Rand Paul. If it's not Rand Paul, it's Ted Cruz. Before those two, there was a laundry list of other GOP Senators. Then, it was Bush. He always has someone on "his own side" he likes to attack, all while whining about how vitriolic and personal modern politics have become.  In fact, as Rush Limbaugh once noted, McCain only really makes news if he attacks a Democrat - because it's such a seldom-seen occurrence.

So you'll forgive me if I don't buy the backpedaling.

His original quote is straight out of the McCain playbook.

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