CNN catches McCain making contradictory statements about Sadr.

In an interview with CNN earlier today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) claimed that he has long understood the influence of Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr:

I said he was still major player and his influence is going to have to be reduced and gradually eliminated.

But in a report on The Situation Room today, the network noted that just two weeks ago McCain — trying to paint a rosy picture of Iraq — described Sadr very differently while speaking to CNN’s John King in Baghdad:

His [Sadr’s] influence has been on the wane for a long time.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/04/mccainsadr322.320.240.flv]

This isn’t the first time McCain has inaccurately characterized Sadr’s influence in Iraq. In April 2007, McCain claimed that Sadr’s forces were “not contesting American forces,” at the same time Sadr’s urged his loyalists to “turn all their efforts on American forces.”