Weekend Watchdog:McCain Still Dodging

Bill Scher

It was another 0-for-3 week on the Sunday shows, as the hosts failed to ask any of the Watchdog’s questions about the war in Iraq and President Bush’s greenwashing at the G-8 summit. Here’s what we wanted to know:

• For Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. (ABC’s This Week): At this past week’s presidential debate, a woman who lost her brother in Iraq asked you and the other candidates what you would do to “safely bring our troops home.”

NBC talked to her afterwards and reported, “she never did get the answer she was looking for.” (See the video at ThinkProgress.) Why were you unable to answer her directly and say what you would to bring our troops home?

Stephanopoulos did not force McCain to respond to the citizen questioner from last week’s presidential debate. However, Stephanopoulos does deserve some praise for pressing McCain on permanent bases—an issue of past Watchdog posts.

After asking multiple times if McCain supports an “open-ended, unconditional commitment,” “perpetual war” and “permanent bases” in Iraq, McCain said, “No, not forever, but certainly, you would be there for a long period of time in a support role in many ways.”

When asked if that meant 30 or 40 years, McCain said, “Oh, I don’t know.”

• For Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. (CBS’ Face The Nation): McClatchy Newspapers reported that when you visited U.S. troops in Iraq recently, many wanted to tell you about the lack of progress and their desire to come home, but were afraid to.

CNN noted that and asked you if you’re getting “the real picture”? You only responded that the McClatchy report made you “upset.” (See the video at ThinkProgress.) But you didn’t answer the question, nor did you revise your view about conditions on the ground.

So once again, are you getting the real picture when you visit Iraq? And why don’t these more candid assessments alter your opinion about how things are going?

Schieffer did not press Lieberman to answer the question he ducked earlier in the week on CNN — since troops in Iraq told a reporter they were afraid to tell Lieberman their true feelings about the war, is he “getting the real picture”?

(Additionally, when Lieberman said he supported a military strike in Iran, the only follow-up question asked by Schieffer was, “Would you go in on the ground, or could you do that from the air?”)

• For White House Press Secretary Tony Snow (CBS’ Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday): German Chancellor Angela Merkel would have forged a consensus among the most powerful industrial nations for a binding cap on greenhouse gas emissions, if it weren’t for President Bush.

As 6 out of 10 Americans support such a cap as necessary to stop global warming, why does the White House continue to ignore the public will and refuse to be environmentally responsible?

Neither Schieffer nor Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace even mentioned global warming in their respective interviews with Snow.

Bill Scher posts his questions for the Sunday talk shows Friday afternoons on the Common Sense blog at the Campaign for America’s Future. He then discusses how the talk shows did 4 p.m. Sunday on Air America Radio’s “Seder on Sundays” program and in this space on Mondays.

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