McCain claims al-Qaida, Iran link

John McCain claims, on multiple occasions, that Shiite Iran is training Sunni al-Qaida.

By Alex Koppelman
Published March 19, 2008 3:38PM (EDT)

John McCain has now said, on more than one occasion, that Iran is training members of al-Qaida to fight in Iraq. In my latest video for our partners at Current, which is below, I discuss why that's implausible and why Joe Lieberman felt the need to correct McCain at a recent press conference where McCain had made that assertion. (Video of that moment is at the end of this post.)

On Tuesday, confronted with the falsity of what McCain had said, his campaign released a statement in which it said:

In a press conference today, John McCain misspoke and immediately corrected himself by stating that Iran is in fact supporting radical Islamic extremists in Iraq, not Al Qaeda -- as the transcript shows. Democrats have launched political attacks today because they know the American people have deep concerns about their candidates' judgment and readiness to lead as commander in chief.

But did McCain really misspeak? That's thrown into a question by a statement his campaign released Wednesday that -- perhaps just through sloppy writing -- seems to attempt to make the connection again. The statement reads, "Al Qaeda and Shia extremists -- with support from external powers such as Iran -- are on the run but not defeated."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections Al-qaida Iran John Mccain R-ariz. Middle East