Today, the Washington Post published statements posted on al-Hesbah, an extremist website with ties to al Qaeda, which declared the terrorist group “will have to support McCain in the coming election.” The site said if al Qaeda wants to exhaust the United States militarily and economically, “impetuous” McCain is the better choice because he is more likely to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The McCain campaign swiftly disavowed the statements, arranging a conference call with top national security advisers Randy Scheunemann and James Woolsey. Woolsey declared that the post was not an endorsement but was in fact clearly intended to boost McCain’s opponent, by providing a “kiss of death” to McCain’s campaign:
WOOLSEY: This individual knows that the endorsement of people like him is a kiss of death, figuratively and literally. So it seems to me it’s pretty clear that, by making this statement, that he wants — it would be a good thing for McCain to be president, he’s clearly trying to damage John McCain, not speaking from his heart.
However, just minutes earlier in the call, Scheunemann went through a laundry list of “bad guys” who support Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), cited dubious quotes from Hamas, Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya. In fact, the McCain campaign pounced on Hamas’s endorsement of Obama in March. “If Senator Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly,” McCain declared ominously.
When a reporter pointed out the contradiction, Woolsey replied that the difference was that McCain’s endorsement came from “simply an individual blogger,” saying that this extremist’s true concern about a McCain presidency “seems very clear to me, frankly.” So when a terrorist supports McCain, it’s a head fake, but when one supports Obama it’s a legitimate issue voters should “make judgments” on?
Yglesias has more on how al Qaeda might try to influence the November elections.