Yesterday, ThinkProgress noted that during a press availability, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he’s been concerned by “a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days,” including “reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia.” Of course, “Czechoslovakia” dissolved into two independent countries 15 years ago and now, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are member states — separately — of the European Union.
Slip of the tongue? Perhaps. The McCain campaign even scrubbed the transcript of the event. However, he did it again today. Touting his “League of Democracies” idea to garner support for action against Iran’s nuclear program during a town hall meeting this afternoon, McCain cited a recent example of Russia working against American interests:
McCAIN: And I regret that and I regret some of the recent behavior that Russia has exhibited in I’ll be glad to talk about that later on including reduction in oil supplies to Czechoslovakia when they agreed with us on a missile defense system.
This is at least the fourth time in the last year that McCain has harkened back to the old days when the Iron Curtain divided Europe. But his forgetfulness has more history. McCain referred to the non-existent country — once in 1994 and another time in 1999 — which caused then Gov. George W. Bush to question McCain’s cozy relationship with the media:
“I don’t think there is any plot; I hope there isn’t,” Bush said. “But it’s an amazing phenomenon, I’ll tell you that. It’s like the flap over the foreign-leader deal. A guy gets up and quizzes me — it’s my fault for trying to answer — but John McCain says something about the ‘ambassador to Czechoslovakia.’ Well, I know there is no Czechoslovakia (there’s a Czech Republic and a Slovakia), but yet it didn’t make the nightly national news. I’m not going to gripe about it, but the media question is starting to pop up.”
But “McCain is running on his supposed foreign policy superiority” and as MoJo blog points out, he “really shouldn’t be making these mistakes…[he] can’t possibly be ignorant of the basic state of the world.”