It seemed rather evident Wednesday night that some personal issues exist between Senator John McCain and Jay Carney. Carney made his debut as a CNN contributor, after working as President Barack Obama’s press secretary for more than three years.
Anderson Cooper asked McCain for his reactions to the president’s address concerning ISIS and the terrorist threat in the Middle East, but McCain quickly pivoted to respond to something Carney had said previously.
“I’m astounded that Mr. Carney should say that the Free Syrian Army is now stronger,” McCain said. When Carney tried to clarify his statements, it set off a series of back-and-forth interruptions between the men that lasted for several minutes.
Carney tried to “agree to disagree” with the senator, but McCain wasn’t willing to settle for that, telling him that “facts are stubborn things.” He went on to add, “You, in your role as a spokesperson, bragged about the fact that the last American combat troop had left Iraq. If we had left a residual force, the situation would not be what we have today.”
Carney retorted, saying, “It is basically a whitewash of history to suggest that there weren’t periods of enormous chaos and fighting and bloodshed in Iraq when there were tens of thousands of Americans troops on the ground. That is a fact. And that was true in 2004, it was true in 2007. And it was true even when we had the highest number of U.S. troops on the ground. We cannot — the United States of America — ask our military to be a permanent occupying force in a country like Iraq.”
While the men might not have agreed to disagree, it was evident that they disagreed fundamentally both about elements of Obama’s current strategy in battling ISIS and about what has already occurred in the Middle East. Both men accused the other of having his facts wrong at one point or another in the lively debate.