John McCain Has Gone Crazy

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Facing a strong challenge from  J.D. Hayworth for the primary election in August, John McCain is desperate.

When McCain gets desperate, the McC-man lies or gets seriously deluded. It’s almost embarrassing, but I don’t like McCain so let the good times roll though a charitable diagnosis is that McCain has gone bat-shite crazy uttering “pathetically, obviously untrue statement(s),” as Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) noted yesterday. So, crazy it is.

McCain is saying now that back in the Fall 2008, “Bush called him in off the campaign trail, saying a worldwide economic catastrophe was imminent and that he needed his help. ‘I don’t know of any American, when the president of the United States calls you and tells you something like that, who wouldn’t respond,’ McCain said. ‘And I came back and tried to sit down and work with Republicans and say, ‘What can we do?'”

Problem is the event never happened. McCain parachuting in to save the day when no one wanted him in Washington as the world economy teetered on the brink left everyone wondering what the hell McCain thought he was doing. McCain said at the time he was “suspending” his campaign for the good of the country, skipping a scheduled debate, and then went into a rescheduled meeting and sat there with almost nothing to say and nothing to add.

From Newsweek’s 2008 Post-Campaign Issue:

[A]fter McCain’s ride to the rescue had been mocked in the press, some of his advisers blamed Steve Schmidt for the fiasco. The campaign’s chief strategist was forever searching for the bold stroke, the instant game changer, but by urging McCain to go to Washington, he had impetuously and blindly steered the candidate into a trap. ‘McCain never saw it as a stunt,’ insisted one aide. But to most commentators, the bizarre rush back to Washington seemed gimmicky—one more tactical gambit in a campaign that seemed to lack any coherent or consistent strategy.

The Obama team never took seriously McCain’s announcement that he was suspending his campaign and putting off the first debate. They noted that McCain never canceled his hotel reservations (or most of his ads) or informed the Commission on Presidential Debates that the candidate would not be attending. Some McCain staffers later confessed they didn’t think for a second he’d skip the debate.

From John Amato at Crooks and Liars and from Arizona Central:

John McCain is fighting for his political life as tea-bagging wingnut blowhard J.D. Hayworth is giving him a run for his money for his Senate seat. And as we’ve seen with all Republicans, hypocrisy is one of their favorite tools in trying to obstruct, deflect and then take credit for anything.

In his new book ‘On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System,’ Paulsonbelittles McCain’s contribution to the response, noting that ‘when it came right down to it, (McCain) had little to say in the forum he himself had called.’ He also called McCain’s decision to return to Washington, apparently without a plan, ‘impulsive and risky’ and even ‘dangerous.’

Barney Frank was on with Rachel Maddow.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Heather posted a longer version of this clip when Maddow did a full-length segment on flip flopping Republicans, but the segment on McCain was spot on.

MADDOW: At the time that Senator McCain called off his campaign in 2008, you called this campaign suspension the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys. Any comment on the idea it was President Bush who asked Senator McCain to suspend his campaign?

FRANK: I‘m—I‘ve gone beyond being disappointed for John McCain to feeling sorry for him. This is such a pathetically, obviously untrue statement. Those of us who were there know it.

He was in trouble on the campaign. He was trying to change it. In fact, there was a very tough bipartisan negotiation going on. And by the way, for him to blame Paulson or Bernanke is cowardly. This was Bush. Paul and Bernanke were acting for George Bush.

And we believed that we had to do something. Democrats were pushing to add some restrictions on compensation. We‘re adding to put in those provisions that ultimately led to the TARP being paid back with a profit, but we did agree something had to be done.

Everybody was trying to get a solution, from the president to the members of Congress who were trying to work on this were unpleasantly surprised by John McCain‘s announcement. As a matter of fact, if you read what Paulson says, at one point, he came to find there had been an agreement, he was unhappy, because he wanted to be the one who did it. I said he reminded me of kind of Andy Kaufman as Mighty Mouse. “Here I come to save the day.”

So, no. John‘s recollection there—I mean, it‘s not his recollection. It‘s an invention. Look, he‘s got a very conservative primary opponent. He voted for the TARP money. He clearly supported it. And he‘s now just trying to reinvent history, but it‘s unseemly for a man like that to blame other people, because he changed his mind for political reasons.

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