Democratic National Committee: McCain Myth Buster: John McCain and Fear Tactics

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — After casting himself as a «Maverick» in 2000, the new John McCain is walking in lockstep with President Bush, pandering to the right wing of the Republican Party, and embracing the ideology he once denounced. On the campaign trail McCain has callously abandoned many of his previously held positions, even contradicted himself, in a blatant attempt to remake himself into a candidate Republicans can accept in 2008. So just who is the real John McCain? The Democratic National Committee will present a daily fact aimed at exposing the man behind the myth.

Today’s McCain Myth: John McCain Is Not Going to Use the Same Kind of Divisive Rhetoric and Fear Tactics Bush Republicans Have Used in the Past.

On the campaign trail, John McCain tries to bolster his «maverick» image and brand himself as a «different» kind of Republican by claiming to be above the fear and smear tactics that Bush Republicans have used for the past seven years. In reality, McCain has consistently used exactly the same kind of tactics to try to bring down his opponents and scare the American people when it suits his political needs.

McCain has used this type of divisive rhetoric on Republicans and Democrats alike. Even as McCain is campaigning tonight for a Republican candidate who set a ten-year timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, when it suits his purposes McCain has challenged the motives of critics. McCain said anyone who talks about how long we’ll stay in Iraq «does not understand the military,» said Romney should «apologize» to our troops in Iraq for comments he made on war strategy, smeared Democrats for their «lack of patriotism» on Iraq, and said they were raising the «white flag» of «surrender.» [, 2/11/08; The New Yorker, 2/25/08; Wall Street Journal, 12/15/08; Chicago Tribune, The Swamp Blog, 1/24/08]

The fact is, John McCain will say anything to try to bring down his opponents — not the kind of president Americans are looking for.

Myth: John McCain’s Track Record and Fear and Smear

In 2004, McCain Called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth Claims «Dishonest and Dishonorable.» McCain’s response to claims made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was to charge that they were «dishonest and dishonorable.» [Baltimore Sun, 8/8/2004]

McCain Claims Anyone Talking About How Long Our Troops Will Be in Iraq «Does Not Understand the Military.» Campaigning in February, McCain said «Anyone who worries about how long we’re in Iraq does not understand the military and does not understand war» and that «the argument is really almost insulting to one’s intelligence to say how long we’re in Iraq.» [, 2/11/08]

McCain Said Romney Should «Apologize» to Troops in Iraq. After Mitt Romney said President Bush should discuss a timetable for withdrawal privately with the Iraqis, McCain told reporters «He ought to apologize to the men and women who are serving, because they deserve steady and steadfast leadership, particularly when times are tough. And his statement obviously was looking for the blinking exit sign.» [The New Yorker, 2/25/08]

McCain Smears Democrats for Their «Lack of Patriotism» on Iraq. When asked at a Wall Street Journal editorial board meeting «what surprised him the most about the behavior of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with regard to Iraq» McCain replied «their lack of patriotism.» [Wall Street Journal, 12/15/08]

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SOURCE Democratic National Committee

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