VIVA (PRIME MINISTER) ZAPATERO!

Adam sets 'em up, I knock 'em down. After John McCain's gaffe yesterday he had basically two potential responses: Either admit that he didn't know who Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero is, or pretend that his Spain policy is crazy.

Apparently, he's chosen the latter, as his campaign's foreign-policy adviser Randy Sheunemann tells the Post: "The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain's willingness to meet Zapatero (and id'd him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred). Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview."

Yes, Zapatero is a center-left politician who pulled troops out of Iraq, but Spanish troops are also fighting alongside American troops in Afghanistan. He stood up to Hugo Chavez, a dictator who is actually problematic for the U.S., at the Ibero-American Summit. He is the leader of an important European democracy. And John McCain wouldn't meet with him as president? That is just nuts.

Update: I forgot to mention, as Matt notes, that Spain is also part of NATO, binding us to defend its territorial integrity. But of course we wouldn't want our president to meet with its leader.

--Tim Fernholz

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