McCain: ‘You Don’t Announce That You’re Going To Attack Another Country’

Last night, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) sat for an interview with CBS’s Katie Couric. Couric asked Palin about a comment she made last week in Philadelphia in response to voter’s question about combating terrorism inside Pakistan.

Appearing to endorse Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) position on the matter, Palin had said, “the United States should ‘absolutely’ launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan in the event that it becomes necessary to ‘stop the terrorists from coming any further in.’” McCain said in reference to Obama’s position during last week’s debate that “you don’t say that out loud.”

Last night, Palin defended her remarks. McCain dismissed the Palin matter as “gotcha journalism,” before concluding, “Governor Palin and I both agree, you don’t announce that you’re going to attack another country.” Watch it:


In the days and weeks following the 9/11 attacks, McCain said multiple times to national audiences that he believed the U.S. would soon attack Iraq and several other countries:

October 2001, on CNN:

PAULA ZAHN: And as you know, Senator, the U.S. and Great Britain notified the U.N. Security Council yesterday that they reserve the right to strike against other countries in this campaign. What countries are we looking at?

MCCAIN: Well, I think very obviously Iraq is the first country, but there are others — Syria, Iran, the Sudan, who have continued to harbor terrorist organizations and actually assist them.

October 2001, on the Late Show with David Letterman:

LETTERMAN: How are things going in Afghanistan now?

MCCAIN: I think we’re doing fine …. I think we’ll do fine. The second phase — if I could just make one, very quickly — the second phase is Iraq.

January 2002, on the deck of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt:

MCCAIN: Next up, Baghdad!

More recently, in response to a hypothetical question about authorizing a military strike on Iran during a Republican primary debate, McCain said, “I believe that this is a possibility that is maybe closer to reality than we are discussing tonight.”


COURIC: Over the weekend, Gov. Palin, you said the U.S. should absolutely launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to, quote, “stop the terrorists from coming any further in.” Now, that’s almost the exact position that Barack Obama has taken and that you, Sen. McCain, have criticized as something you do not say out loud. So, Gov. Palin, are you two on the same page on this?

PALIN: We had a great discussion with President Zardari as we talked about what it is that America can and should be doing together to make sure that the terrorists do not cross borders and do not ultimately put themselves in a position of attacking America again or her allies. And we will do what we have to do to secure the United States of America and her allies.

COURIC: Is that something you shouldn’t say out loud, Sen. McCain?

MCCAIN: Of course not. But, look, I understand this day and age of “gotcha” journalism. Is that a pizza place? In a conversation with someone who you didn’t hear the question very well, you don’t know the context of the conversation, grab a phrase. Governor Palin and I agree that you don’t announce that you’re going to attack another country…