On Sunday's Media Buzz, Senator John McCain brushed off Jon Stewart's latest blast at him over the Iraq War. Host Howard Kurtz wondered, "Is Jon Stewart fair to Republicans?" McCain bluntly answered, "No, but it doesn't matter really. He's a comedian." When Kurtz brought up Stewart's "sizable following among young people," the Republican contended that "he's a very entertaining and funny guy, but...when he says things...that are absolutely wrong, he gets away with it."
Earlier in the interview, the Fox News Channel host raised the conservative critique about the liberal media's deferential treatment of President Obama. Kurtz wondered if that was less true since his second inauguration: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
HOWARD KURTZ: A lot of people, as you know, say the press has always been very sympathetic to Barack Obama. You ran against him six years ago. But has that been as true in the second term, where there have been all these scandals and controversies?
JOHN MCCAIN, (R), ARIZONA SENATOR: I think that the press, in some ways, would have been harder on George W. Bush, when you look around the world and see the turmoil in the world today. Literally every place you look is in some kind of turmoil. And so, I think the media, in many respects – particularly, when I read some of the – quote, commentators' columns – they continue to apologize and justify what is clearly a failed national security policy on this administration.
Kurtz followed up by bringing up a criticism from the left that McCain, Dick Cheney, and others who were in favor of the Iraq War now have no credibility on foreign policy matters:
KURTZ: Is that true with the current chaos in Iraq? Now, you, in fairness, were very critical of the war under George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. But you also say the U.S. had the war won after the Bush surge. But a lot of people in the media – and Dick Cheney's has gotten some of this – say those of you who supported the invasion in 2003 are discredited because you never apologized for your misjudgment.
MCCAIN: The reason why I think some of us don't apologize for our misjudgment is because the secretary of state – one of the most respected individuals in the world – went before the United Nations Security Council-
KURTZ: Colin Powell-
MCCAIN: And made a compelling argument that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction-
KURTZ: Which turned out to be wrong-
MCCAIN: Yeah, which turned out to be wrong – but faced with the same scenario again, the most highly-respected man in America, literally, making that case, I would have made the same judgment and cast the same vote. Now – but also the fact is, we did have it won.
Also, what I find totally lacking in the media is they accept this idea that it was all the Iraqis' fault that we didn't leave a residual force behind.
The Fox News host then brought up Stewart's latest shot at McCain on Comedy Central. After making his "get away with it" line about liberal comedian, the Arizona senator added, "I frankly have no beef with late night comedians who make fun of politicians. That's the nature of the business." But he took the opportunity to again attack the media: "I do resent when respected commentators – who are columnists, particularly – say things that absolutely are contradicted by the facts – like, oh well, we wanted to leave a force behind in Iraq, but the Iraqis wouldn't take it. That's just wrong."
Near the end of the interview, Kurtz asked his guest an odd question about his daughter over her potential gig with ABC's The View:
KURTZ: Your daughter, Meghan, was on 'The View' – and I'm not making this up – she was talking about your wife's butt. There's talk that she might end up on 'The View' an a permanent panelist. How do you feel about her career eclipsing yours?
MCCAIN: I think I'm very proud of Megan – and we do have our disagreements. She's of a different generation. But our discussions – she's a little fiery, too – and we have very vigorous discussions. But I think it's good for me, particularly – more so than for her – because I learn what people of her generation are thinking – what their priorities are – and I think it makes me a better senator.