The missing C-SPAN footage showing Sen. John McCain preventing a Democratic senator from getting an extra 30 seconds to finish a speech has been found.
The Republican senator from Arizona was outraged last week when Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), who was presiding over the Senate, prevented Sen. Joe Lieberman from getting extra time to finish his comments on the Senate floor.
"I've been around here twenty-some years, first time I've seen a member denied a minute or two to finish his remarks," McCain said. "And I must say that I don't know what's happening here in this body, but I think it's wrong."
Political observers quickly pointed out that, in October 2002, McCain himself prevented Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) from finishing a speech opposing the Iraq war and Congress' move to authorize President Bush to launch military action against Iraq.
But when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show went to find footage of that incident in the C-SPAN archives, producers found the relevant part of the video mysteriously blacked out.
Now C-SPAN has provided an explanation -- as well as the footage of McCain shutting down debate.
"C-SPAN library video content created prior to 2003 was originally captured on two-hour VHS videotapes which were later digitized for permanent storage in our archives," the broadcaster said in a statement. "This process is occasionally susceptible to small errors that can occur at top-of-the-hour tape changes. An example of this type of error in the digital online file from
Oct. 10, 2002 at noon ET."
The recovered footage shows Sen. Dayton asking for an extra 30 seconds to complete his speech. Sen. McCain's voice can be heard off-camera: "I object."
"Either Sen. McCain cannot remember that he himself objected to a senator getting an extra 30 seconds to finish his remarks during the Iraq war debate, or Sen. McCain knows perfectly well that this stuff happens in the Senate," Rachel Maddow said Monday night. "It happens, and he just said it was unprecedented out of sheer hackitude."
This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Dec. 21, 2009.