Abrams: Did McCain spokesman mock candidate on national TV?
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday July 30, 2008

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Republican presidential candidate John McCain shook up his conservative supporters on Sunday when he suggested that he might be prepared to raise Social Security taxes.

By Tuesday, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds had gone on Fox News to perform damage control, insisting repeatedly, "There is no imaginable circumstance where John McCain would raise payroll taxes. Itís absolutely out of the question. ... There's no imaginable circumstance where he would raise taxes."

MSNBC's Dan Abrams asked his guests, "Did I miss something there? Or did John McCain just say it is on the table and then his campaign spokesperson almost mocked it, as if, 'Oh, don't listen to that guy. Come on. He doesn't represent the campaign.'"

Republican strategist Andrea Tantaros suggested that she thought Bounds' actions were appropriate. "I'm a diehard fiscal conservative," she stated, "so this doesn't send a tingle up my leg. It actually sends a chill down my spine. ... If they don't keep hammering home that he will not raise taxes, this will be a loss. But for now, I think they tried to put a band-aid on it."

"It's shocking ... after 25 years of running for office, of being in office, that he's running such a miserable campaign," countered Roy Sekoff of the Huffington Post. "He could not give an answer instead of melting down."

"I think that McCain is actually a practical guy," Abrams suggested. "And he does not want to box himself into saying, 'No way, no how, no new taxes.' I think he just wants a little leeway."

"He may be practical," responded Democratic analyst Tanya Acker, "but a straight talker he is not." She suggested it was time to be "done with this myth of the straight-talking maverick who says one thing and holds fast to it for 35 years. That's just not true."

"He's gotten in the habit of even denying that he said something the day after," Sekoff agreed.

This video is from MSNBC's Verdict, broadcast July 29, 2008.

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