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Mccain's Memory Excuse

There's a LAT piece today about how, in her wooing of women voters, McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina isn't above stretching the truth about the candidate's positions. For instance, Fiorina recently suggested that McCain took issue with insurance companies who pay for Viagra but refused to cover birth control. (As you might imagine, this a sore spot with many gals.)

The folks at NARAL were quick to point out that, in fact, Senator Straight Talk has twice voted against measures--once in 2003 and once in 2005--that would require insurance companies to pay for birth control. When asked about this apparent discrepancy, McCain insisted that he did not recall those votes and noted, "It's something that I had not thought much about."

This response brought to mind an episode from last month regarding McCain's record on supporting probes of the Katrina disaster. While campaigning in Louisiana, McCain boasted that he had "voted for every Katrina investigation"; when a New Orleans reporter pointed out that the Senator had, in fact, twice voted against establishing an independent panel along the lines of the 9/11 Commission, McCain insisted that he was "not familiar with exactly what you said."

Now, Senators cast a lot of votes that they don't pay that much attention to. They also cast a lot of votes that they wish people would forget. But Senator Straight Talk should be careful about falling back on the I-don't-remember-or-I-wasn't-paying-attention excuse. Some people might get the idea that McCain doesn't give a damn about his domestic policy votes. Worse still, others might start to wonder if perhaps the 71-year-old candidate's memory isn't what it used to be. McCain cannot afford for either of those concerns to start tickling the electorate's brain. 

--Michelle Cottle