On Thursday, McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker attacked Obama’s upcoming trip to the Middle East, saying “Let’s drop the pretense that this is a fact-finding trip and call it what it is: the first-of-its-kind campaign rally overseas”.
McCain disagreed, saying that he was personally “glad” that Obama was making a trip to Iraq and Afganistan, adding that he would have to “talk to” Hazelbaker about the remark.
Unfortunately, it proved difficult to claim that Hazelbaker’s comment didn’t represent the campaign, since they had already emailed out an official campaign message that included it. Not only that, but other campaign surrogates were taking her remark as a talking point:
- North Carolina Senator Richard Burr told reporters “I think it’s safe to say that as this trip becomes reality, it’s also reality that it’s more about politics than it is about fact-finding or about exploring the relationships abroad for our country and others in the future.”
- Congressman Eric Cantor declared “This is nothing but a political stunt.”
Speaking of surrogates, Bud Day — best known for his work with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — on a conference call with reporters, defended the war in Iraq by saying that “The Muslims” are “going to kill us”.