"He did this," Douglas Holtz-Eakin told reporters this morning, holding up his BlackBerry. "Telecommunications of the United States is a premier innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you're looking at the miracle John McCain helped create and that's what he did."
It's like they're trying to test the media, to see just how far they can push the IOKIYAR* rule before they get labelled as pathological liars.
* It's OK If You're A Republican!
The point here, in case it's not obvious, is that there's a double standard: Can you imagine the firestorm that would've erupted if Al Gore had said something like this in 2000? And Gore actually did fight for funding and regulatory protection (i.e. net neutrality type rules) for the internet, and knew telecom policy issues as well as anyone in DC. Gore was an authentic tech wonk. Whereas McCain has openly confessed that he doesn't know how to send a frickin' email.
The media went after Gore for the "invented the internet" comment for weeks, and that was a figment of their imagination -- nobody from his campaign ever said that. And here one of McCain's top advisors actually is saying it.
ETA: Martin catches McCain using this line in his answers to a science-issues questionnaire:
I am the former chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The Committee plays a major role in the development of technology policy, specifically any legislation affecting communications services, the Internet, cable television and other technologies. Under my guiding hand, Congress developed a wireless spectrum policy that spurred the rapid rise of mobile phones and Wi-Fi technology that enables Americans to surf the web while sitting at a coffee shop, airport lounge, or public park.
"Under my guiding hand..."? Seriously?
So no, this is not a one-time slip-up by an advisor who was letting his tongue get ahead of his brain. This was an actual McCain campaign talking point. The campaign is now trying to backpedal, because they realized what a dumb statement it was. But again, double standard: Was Gore ever given credit for "clarifying" an "exaggeration," once it had been picked up and distorted?
PS: Also? McCain apparently believes the Wall Street Journal that the poor don't pay enough taxes.
PPS: Unsurprisingly, it turns out that McCain's voting record on advancing telecom is abysmal. He of course favors letting an unregulated monopoly screw over consumers, while continuing to let America drop further and further behind. We're already, what, 15th in the world on broadband penetration, and our cell phone service is a joke compared to Europe, Japan, Taiwan, or South Korea. Even some areas of China and India get better cell service than we do.