El Cid! (More on Mccain’s Liberation of Spain)

September 17, 2008 8:35 p.m.

We wanted to give you an update on the post below where we described Sen. McCain’s latest gaffe in which he seemed to suggest that he might not be willing to meet with Spanish Prime Minster Zapatero because he is among those world leaders who want to harm America.

The story is already getting picked up pretty quickly in the Spanish press. And the way it’s being interpreted in the Spanish press is that McCain got confused about the fact that Spain is a country in Europe, rather than a rogue state in Latin America.

Our review of the audio suggests the same conclusion. 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.

This is obviously a story that’s difficult to get a handle on because of multiple layers of translation and retranslation. So I would ask that those of you who are speak Spanish fluently to review this article in El Pais and the audio in the post below, and let us know any other information you find.

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