Thursday, September 18, 2008

¿Que Pasó?

Did John McCain just diss the Prime Minister of Spain? Josh Marshall has the original interview here where Sen. McCain is interviewed by a reporter on a Spanish-language station here in Miami in English, and then gets translated into Spanish. Here’s a summation:

In the interview, McCain is asked about Hugo Chavez, the situation in Bolivia and then about Raul Castro. He responds to each of these with expected answers about standing up to America’s enemies, etc. Then the interviewer switches gears and asks about Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister. And McCain replies — very loose translation — that he’ll establish close relations with our friends and stand up to those who want to do us harm. The interviewer has a double take and seems to think McCain might be confused. So she asks it again. But McCain sticks to the same evasive answer.

The folks at TPM have been following this story and have come to the conclusion that Mr. McCain does not know who the prime minister of Spain is or that Spain is in Europe, not Latin America.

The interview was conducted entirely in English (with Spanish translations inserted later), so there’s no excuse that the question got lost in translation, and it’s not like Spain is an insignificant little country, so he’s probably heard of it before now. And it doesn’t sound like a “gotcha” kind of question, either; after all, the program was conducted by a Spanish-language station here in Miami, which is the one of the few places in the country where Republicans have a strong affiliation in the Latino community.

If Mr. McCain doesn’t know who the prime minister of Spain is or where Spain itself is, then el tiene un problema. Or, as I’m sure someone else noted, the reign in Spain falls mainly on McCain.

UPDATE: Here is the original interview as conducted in English.