Sept. 15, 2008
"Honestly, I have to analyze our relationships, situations and priorities, but I can assure you that I will establish closer relationships with our friends, and I will stand up to those who want to harm the United States."
McCain, after being asked whether he would receive Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in the White House during a radio interview with the Spanish-language station Union Radio. Throughout the exchange with the interviewer, the candidate appeared not to know who Zapatero was, and at one point seemed to think he was from Latin America; McCain even spoke of his record with leaders "in the hemisphere" like the President of Mexico and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez when answering the question. McCain's campaign vehemently rejected that interpretation and insisted that he knew exactly who Zapatero was and fully meant that he would not commit to a White House meeting. Critics seized on this as an equally bad gaffe, since Spain is a NATO member and U.S. ally.
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