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Fleischer Stumped When Asked How McCain Differs From Bush, Begins Citing Similarities

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"Fleischer Stumped When Asked How McCain Differs From Bush, Begins Citing Similarities"

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Last night on CNN, host Larry King — taking a viewer question — asked former Bush administration press secretary Ari Fleischer, “How would a McCain administration be different to Bush’s on foreign and economic policies?” Instead of answering the question, Fleischer diverted into how both McCain and Bush are similar:

FLEISCHER: Well, you know, on foreign policy, number one, John McCain will be a powerful supporter of Israel, just as George Bush was. So I’m going to go right to that where there is an agreement.

When King tried to steer him back on course, noting that “the question was different,” Fleischer finally settled on taxes and global warming and falsely claimed that McCain called on Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld. Watch it:

It is rather odd that Fleischer cited taxes as an economic policy difference between Bush and McCain. While McCain did vote against Bush’s tax cuts, if elected president, he plans to extend and double those same cuts — giving most of the benefit to big corporations and the wealthy, while allowing the federal deficit to skyrocket.

Moreover, Fleischer’s example of a foreign policy difference between McCain and Bush isn’t even true. McCain never called for the firing of Rumsfeld, a fact that even the McCain campaign has acknowledged.

Fleischer does have a point in that McCain has differed slightly from Bush on global warming — if only to recognize that something needs to be done about it. But he isn’t the only McCain supporter who has had difficulty separating Bush from McCain. Top McCain surrogate Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has said that McCain’s policies would “absolutely” be an extension and enhancement of Bush’s.

Transcript:

KING: Quick question, Ari Fleischer, it’s a blog question from Amica who writes, “How would a McCain administration be different to Bush’s on foreign and economic policies?”

FLEISCHER: Well, you know, on foreign policy, number one, John McCain will be a powerful supporter of Israel, just as George Bush was. So I’m going to go right to that where there is an agreement.

KING: The question was different.

FLEISCHER: I really have a lot of worries — yes, but I want to make this point, Larry, because at the first debate Barack Obama was asked to name America’s three most important allies. He didn’t even name Israel as one of the three most important.

So when it comes to that, to turn the question around, I really worry about where Barack Obama is going to be on very important foreign policy issue. And that is America’s relationship with the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.

On domestic issues, you know, John McCain, global warming has always opposed George Bush. John McCain voted against George Bush’s tax cuts. He’s got a pretty consistent message of taking on the Bush administration.

And on foreign policy, of course, he demanded that Donald Rumsfeld be fired. He was the first to say so and he said it frequently. This is where he’s been somewhat of a maverick and I think he does earn his credit there.

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