The Campaign Spot

Rockefeller: Fighter Pilots Like McCain Don’t ‘Care About the Lives of People.’

Senator Jay Rockefeller, jerk:

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) Today: “McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they [the missiles] get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues.” (Paul J. Nyden, “Jay Defends Endorsement Of Sen. Obama,” The Charleston Gazette, 4/8/08)

A longer version of his remarks (the context doesn’t seem to be much help to Rockefeller) can be found here.
Team McCain’s response:

ARLINGTON, VA — Lt. Col. Orson Swindle, USMC (Ret.), today issued the following statement demanding that Barack Obama denounce Senator Jay Rockefeller’s smear against John McCain and the men and women of our military:
“Senator Rockefeller’s statement is an insult to all the men and women who are serving or have served in America’s military. Had Senator Rockefeller served himself, he would appreciate and understand that most who have been to war emerge with a much deeper concern for humanity than they otherwise might. If he knew what he was talking about, he would know that John McCain wasn’t dropping laser-guided missiles at 35,000 feet in 1967.
“Barack Obama has a responsibility to denounce Senator Rockefeller’s smear against John McCain’s character and military record. The question remains: Does Senator Obama have the courage to stand up and hold himself to the principles of ‘new politics’ he outlined in his book, The Audacity of Hope?”

Where to begin?
That you don’t drop a missile? That laser-guided bombs weren’t deployed until after McCain was a POW? That he was shot down at 4,500 feet, a lower altitude because they wanted to minimize collateral damage?
That McCain certainly got to see “what happened on the ground” as a POW? That Senator McCain gets impression of how things are on the ground in Iraq from his son? That a guy in a party who spent the past five years beating the drum on “chickenhawks” ought not send a guy who spent Vietnam in the Peace Corps to contend that fighter pilots don’t “care about the lives of people.”
UPDATE: As one of my readers notes, ‘boy, the Democrats just don’t want any votes from any current or former Naval Aviators and/or current or past members of the Air Force, huh?’
ANOTHER UPDATE: Apologies are flying.

On Tuesday, Rockefeller issued a statement, saying, “I have deep respect for John McCain’s honorable and noble service to our country. I made an inaccurate and wrong analogy and I have extended my sincere apology to him.

“While we differ a great deal on policy issues, I profoundly respect and appreciate his dedication to our country, and I regret my very poor choice of words,” he said.

“Senator Obama has a deep respect for Senator McCain’s service to this country and doesn’t agree with what Senator Rockefeller said,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Apologies are all well and good, but millions of Americans can’t help but recognize that Obama’s supporters are ignoring the candidate’s call to take the high road – Ed Schultz calling McCain a warmonger, Powers calling Hillary a monster, this latest outburst, etc.

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