Maddow Scolds McCain for Meeting Gaddafi in 2009, Ignores Obama Meeting Him Month Prior

The hypocrisy of Rachel Maddow knows no bounds.

On Tuesday's "Late Show," the MSNBCer scolded Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for meeting with Libya's Moammar Gaddafi in August 2009 while completely ignoring the fact that President Obama met him at the G8 summit the month before (video follows with transcript and commentary):

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST: The United States was able to deal with Moammar? We were comfortable with him as the dictator there? More or less we had interests and so forth that was manageable?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: We have a creepy level of comfort with dictators all over the world.

LETTERMAN: Right.

MADDOW: I mean, when, there’s, you know, when Mubarak got toppled in Egypt, the American government had to turn from our dear but slightly creepy ally who we criticize but only sotto voce to "We're so glad he’s gone."

LETTERMAN: Yeah.

MADDOW: And some of the same thing with Gaddafi. I mean Gaddafi was public enemy number one for a while, but we’ve got pictures of, you know, senators essentially sitting in his lap from the last few years. So, I'm talking to you, John McCain.

(Laughter)

MADDOW: But, I mean, we have an awkward relationship with dictators around the world, and the people in those countries is calling us on it and telling us to be on the right side of history.

LETTERMAN: Let me ask you about two things I learned I think from watching MSNBC.

Tells you a lot about a person who not only watches MSNBC, but is willing to admit on national television that he actually learned something from this farce of a so-called "news network." But I digress:

LETTERMAN: One, John McCain is saying that criticizing Obama that he stayed out of Libya on the other hand completely ignoring the fact that Americans were not in jeopardy and no American lives that we know of were lost in that conflict, but criticizing him for just that, staying out too long. Do I have that correct?

MADDOW: McCain said it's good Gaddafi seems to be gone but it took too long, if only America had been bombing more and heavier earlier.

LETTERMAN: Right.

MADDOW: So this worked but I'm still mad at you Obama.

LETTERMAN: Yeah, he would rather have seen a third front of war. An active third front.

MADDOW: That seems to be what he was calling for after the fact. But there is, I mean, it's two years ago I think this week that there's these shots of McCain like meeting Gaddafi and giving him a little bow and telling him how much he wants to work with him. So if he wants to be the tough guy on Gaddafi it’s a little creepy.

 


Yes, McCain did indeed meet with Gaddafi in August 2009. Here's how Agence France-Presse reported it at the time:

A US senate delegation said on Friday that it had told Libyan leaders of Washington's strong opposition to any early release by the Scottish authorities of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet al-Megrahi.

"We have made clear to the Libyan authorities that we are resolutely opposed to his release," said Senator John McCain, the defeated Republican candidate in last year's presidential election.

Fellow Senator Joseph Lieberman, who sits as an independent, warned of "damage" to US-Libyan relations if Megrahi, who is serving a life sentence with a mininum 27-year tariff for the deadly 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over the Scottish village, is freed early on compassionate grounds.

"Relationships between Libya and US could be tested in the days ahead if Abdelbasset Ali al-Megrahi is released by Scottish authorities," he told a news conference at the end of the delegation's 24-hour visit.

"If Megrahi is released, there will be a very negative reaction by the American people."

So McCain and Lieberman were part of a Senate delegation - conceivably sent by Obama - to, amongst other things, warn Libya about consequences if Megrahi was released to them by the Scots.

Maddow chose not to share that detail with Letterman, or that Lieberman was there as well.

What she also conveniently ignored was that Obama met with Gaddafi a month before. As reported by the Tripoli Post (h/t NB reader Josh):

The Libya leader Muammar Gaddafi who is also the current President of the African Union met Thursday night with United States President Barack Obama.

Both leaders shook hands and exchanged words of greetings.
This is the first time that the Leader Muammar Gaddafi to meet a US president for the last 39 years. [...]

Later, both sat at the same dining table for dinner hosted by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi whose country is hosting the annual Group of Eight (G8).

I wonder why Maddow opted not to tell Letterman this, or that on Tuesday, Wikileaks released a November 9, 2008, letter from Gaddafi to Obama congratulating him for his election victory:

SUBJECT: LIBYAN LEADER AL-QADHAFI'S CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO THE
PRESIDENT-ELECT

REF: STATE 118192

¶1. (U) Post received on November 9 via telefax a letter from
Leader Muammar al-Qadhafi conveying his congratulations to the
President-elect. We have not yet received the note in hard copy.

¶2. (SBU) Post's informal translation of the Arabic language
letter follows:

Begin text of letter:

Dear Mr. President Obama,

I have the pleasure to send a congratulation note for the first
time to an American president, and on behalf of all Africa, and
of Cen-Sad, the base of the African pyramid, and on behalf of
the Arab Maghreb Union, and in the name of all Arab leaders as I
am their dean.

Since relations are resumed between our two countries, we have
the right to congratulate you from the bottom of our hearts
because you are the son of Africa.

God gives reign to whom He wishes and takes it away from whom He
wishes; he holds dear whom he wants and humiliates whom he wants
as well. He retains all the good in His hands, and He is the
all powerful; and He pledged to confer His favors on those
deemed weak and to bequeath them the Earth.

Blacks were deemed weak and were oppressed, and were taken to
the American continent as slaves and indentured servants.

The main point is that Blacks shall not have an inferiority
complex and imitate the Yankees.

They have to prove that they are partners to the whites and
sharing the same continent; that the Whites themselves are not
indigenous, but that they have come from overseas; that the
black man is not less competent than the white man; and that the
black color shall prevail in the world as predicted by the Green
Book.

I salute the American people who have chosen you in these
historical elections for such a high position, so that you may
lead the change that you have promised them and for which they
have rallied around you.

We hope that you lead the United States of America on the path
of good and respect peoples' sovereignty and observe the policy
of neutrality.

Sincerely,

Muammar al-Qadhafi

So, on November 9, 2008, Gaddafi sent his first ever congratulatory letter to an American president, and eight months later, Obama became the first American president to meet Gaddafi.

Yet Maddow chose not to mention any of this to Letterman.

She's one heck of a journalist, isn't she?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.