Wallace Defends McCain’s POW Dodge On Houses Gaffe: ‘It’s Not A Talking Point, It’s A Fact’

On the Tonight Show last night, host Jay Leno asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) about his inability to say how many houses he owns. Before giving an answer, McCain turned to an unrelated subject, his years as a prisoner of war:

LENO: For $1 million, how many houses do you own?

MCCAIN: You know, could I just mention to you Jay, in a moment of seriousness, I spent five and a half years in a prison cell. I didn’t have house. I didn’t have a kitchen table. I didn’t have a table. I didn’t have a chair. And I spent those five and a half years because — not because I wanted to get a house when I got out. … I’m proud of my record of service to this country, and it has nothing to do with houses. It has to do with putting Americans in houses and keeping them in their homes.

On Morning Joe today, Mika Brzezinski called it “an awkward moment” and Joe Scarborough said it reflected Maureen Dowd’s point that McCain’s “going to the well a bit too often.” But McCain spokesperson Nicole Wallace disagreed, saying, “it’s not a talking point, it’s a fact.” “It’s not thrown out there in anything other than an explanation,” said Wallace. Watch it:


The problem with McCain’s housing gaffe is that it highlights how he is running a campaign of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich:

— Asked to “define rich” recently, McCain joked, “How about $5 million.” Asked to refine that answer, McCain later said that some people “are poor if they’re billionaires.”

— McCain’s is proposing a tax policy that primarily benefits the rich. Under his tax plan, McCain’s family would get a $300,000 tax break while middle class Americans would save only $319.

— One of his top economic advisers, Phil Gramm, who has been called McCain’s “econ brain,” recently said that America has “become a nation of whiners” when it comes to what he deems “a mental recession.”

— As recently as last week, McCain said, “I still believe the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

In his interview with Leno, McCain said his “service to this country” has “nothing to do with houses,” but with “putting Americans in houses and keeping them in their homes.” But this ignores the fact that he has a record of denying assistance to homeowners.


NBC’s First Read reported yesterday that the McCain campaign “will be prepared to show McCain’s ‘home’ in Hanoi by using images of his cell. They claim they have not overused the POW element and insist they have ‘underused it.’”