Reporters Dismiss McCain’s Iran ‘Joke’ As Part Of His ‘Real Guy’ Persona

The AP reported yesterday that U.S. exports to Iran “grew more than tenfold during President Bush’s years in office.” When a reporter informed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) of the story, noting that “America sent more cigarettes to Iran…than any other products,” McCain said, “Maybe thats a way of killing them.” After being poked in the back by his wife, McCain quickly added, “I meant that as a joke!” — presumably one similar to his bomb Iran “joke.”

Some reporters dismissed McCain’s new Iran “joke,” suggesting that it is perhaps just part of his “regular guy” persona, an endearing quality for a man running for an office that commands the world’s strongest and most advanced military:

NBC’s Chuck Todd: “That’s what makes him real and that’s what makes people who disagree with him say ‘ah, you know what? The guy seems like any guy you’d want to have around the dinner table or the bar stool.’”

CNN’s Jessica Yellin: “People who love him think his a maverick and think he’s a real guy who makes a joke off the cuff just like real people do [but] we’re all waiting to see if something explodes, this kind of comment doesn’t.”

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Despite agreeing with Todd’s assessment, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough noted that McCain “jokes a lot about killing Iranians.” And as Matt Yglesias noted, this time, “the targets of his lust for killing foreigners are clearly ordinary Iranian civilians.”


But the press have once again decided to let McCain slide, choosing instead to hype his alleged “real guy,” “maverick” and “straight talker” status.

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Atrios notes: “When it comes to joking about killing Iranians… just what is the joke? I appreciate that it was a failed attempt at a joke, but the underlying premise is…it would be funny to kill Iranians. That’s some straight talk we can believe in, my friends.”