According to Spain’s El Pais, John McCain would not answer this week whether he would be willing to meet with Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. “Would you be willing to meet with the head of our government, Mr. Zapatero?” the questioner asked multiple times. Five months ago, McCain said he would be willing. But in the interview earlier this week, McCain could not offer a coherent and logical response:
McCain proceeded to launch into what appeared to be a boilerplate declaration about Mexico and Latin America — but not Spain — pressing the need to stand up to world leaders who want to harm America. “I will meet with those leaders who are our friends and who want to work with us cooperatively,” according to one translation. The reporter repeated the question two more times, apparently trying to clarify, but McCain referred again to Latin America.
Finally, the questioner said, “Okay, but I’m talking about Europe – the president of Spain, would you meet with him?” The Senator offered only a slight variance to his initial comment. “I will reunite with any leader that has the same principles and philosophy that we do: human rights, democracy, and liberty. And I will confront those that don’t [have them].”
Josh Marshall observed that one possibility is that, since the questioner “asked about Castro and Chavez,” McCain didn’t know who Zapatero was and assumed he “must be some other Latin American bad guy.” Yglesias has the audio.
UPDATE: Listen to the audio: