Mitchell's Mistake: Claims McCain Hurt in GOP by Support for Iraq War

Would someone please let Andrea Mitchell know that John McCain is competing for the Republican presidential nomination? He's not going up against Obama, Hillary et al. in a race to determine who can surrender fastest in Iraq.

Giving her expert analysis on this morning's "Today" of John McCain's lackluster fundraising results, Mitchell claimed that John McCain is "hurt by his support for the Iraq war."

Could Andrea possibly be more wrong? McCain's support for President Bush's Iraq policy is the only thing keeping him alive, if barely, in the GOP race. Opposition to the war would put McCain in Chuck Hagel territory -- so unpopular among Republican voters that he dare not even throw his hat into the ring.

What's hurting McCain is not his support for the war. It is the reputation he has earned in the GOP for being unreliably conservative on everything from campaign finance to tax cuts to immigration to having played footsie with John Kerry in 2004 regarding a possible veep nomination.

As I noted here, Hannah Storm of CBS fell into the same error when recently interviewing McCain, asking him whether "your position on this war, and your support of sending more troops in" has caused him to fall behind Rudy in the GOP primary polls.

Mitchell's mistake this morning again demonstrates how hard it is for the MSM, trapped in a liberal, anti-war prism, to understand things from a Republican perspective.

UPDATE:  NB Senior Editor Rich Noyes, noting this isn't the first time Andrea has trotted out this theory, passed along this exchange from last month:

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: John McCain is having so much trouble in the poll rankings because he’s embraced the war.
Host Chris Matthews: Yeah!
Mitchell: That’s his big problem.
Matthews: And his numbers are sinking because he’s a hawk.
Mitchell: Exactly.
— the Chris Matthews Show, March 11th, 2007

Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at mark@gunhill.net

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.