McCain Didn't Know the Price of Gas, Doesn't Think It Matters
by Jonathan Singer, Sun Jun 29, 2008 at 12:43:31 PM EDT
On the heels of reports that the McCain family failed to pay property taxes on one of their seven homes for four years, the Orange County Register reports that John McCain didn't know what the price of gasoline was the last time he pumped it -- and doesn't think this example of just how out of touch he is matters (h/t Think Progress).
When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?
Oh, I don't remember. Now there's Secret Service protection. But I've done it for many, many years. I don't recall and frankly, I don't see how it matters.
I've had hundreds and hundreds of town hall meetings, many as short a time ago as yesterday. I communicate with the people and they communicate with me very effectively. (emphasis added)
It's hard to see how this isn't damaging to John McCain's presidential candidacy. Nate Silver is probably right that the tax deliquency scandal, while burning McCain to an extent, is probably a medium-impact scandal. But not knowing the price of a gallon of gasoline and then going ahead and saying that it doesn't really matters probably cuts harder against McCain. For one, Americans rank the price of a gallon of gas as one of the two or three biggest problems facing the country today, so this is a story that voters are already primed to pay attention two. But beyond that, McCain has demagogued on the issue so much in recent weeks and months -- trying to badger Barack Obama into supporting a temporary repeal of the federal gas tax, a move that would not provide any meaningful savings to the American driver while either robbing the federal highway trust fund (thus weakening the national infrastructure and cutting jobs) or increasing the national deficit -- that I think this embarrassing admission by McCain exposes the Republican nominee as not only ill-informed but also surprisingly out of touch with the situation facing voters.
Does this mean I trust the establishment media to give this story a full airing in the coming days, or even tomorrow? Not really. I am now beyond being surprised by the extent to which some have been willing to cover for McCain's mistakes and admissions (did any of the Sunday shows mention the McCain tax delinquency issue today?). Nevertheless, if the gas price ignorance story is able to reach a broader audience, I believe it would likely cause some real headaches for the McCain campaign.
(The wording of this post, including the title, has been slightly altered to be more precise.)