While speaking to the Israeli Knesset yesterday, President Bush compared those who advocate speaking directly to our enemies to Nazi appeasers, a comment interpreted as a hit at Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Speaking on MSNBC this afternoon, Nancy Pfotenhauer, a policy adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), stood by Bush’s comparison even as she tried to claim that McCain had never used the word appeasement:
PFOTENHAUER: Senator McCain responded directly himself and said he took the president at his word, that those comments were not directed toward Senator Obama. […]
SHUSTER: Nancy, does the McCain campaign believe that talking to our enemies is the same as appeasing them?
PFOTENHAUER: We have never used the term appeasement and you know that.
SHUSTER: But the president did. […]
PFOTENHAUER: We have specifically not used the term appeasement.
Pfotenhauer needs to get her facts straight. First, McCain himself specifically used the word “appeasers” yesterday, insisting “the president is exactly right“:
Yes, there have been appeasers in the past, and the president is exactly right, and one of them is Neville Chamberlain. I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.
What’s more, it’s unclear what Pfotenhauer was referring to when she said the McCain campaign “took the president at his words,” considering Bush never said that his comments were not directed toward Obama. In fact, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino confirmed that the comments did “include” him. CNN’s Ed Henry reported yesterday, “White House aides are acknowledging that this was a reference to the fact that Sen. Obama and other Democrats” support meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
TPM highlights another part of Pfotenhauer’s appearance, when she insisted that McCain’s pledge to “deal with” Hamas could include “anything from bombing to a bed of roses.”