WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Two reporters were caught on a hot microphone mocking Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., prior to Thursday’s press conference on the Iraq crisis, the two are heard joking whether anyone had “checked on” McCain after Gen. David Petraeus showed opposition to military action.
Fox News’ Ed Henry and MSNBC’s Chuck Todd are heard on the microphone just before President Barack Obama’s press conference on the ISIS situation in Iraq, with the longtime GOP senator for his support to “go in” to Iraq with more U.S. military troops.
Todd is first heard asking if anyone has “checked on” McCain after Gen. Petreaus rejected the notion of increased military action.
“I’ve got to think McCain must have had heart palpitations,” Todd joked.
“What’s funny is that McCain was on our air an hour ago saying we should send Petraeus to Iraq,” Henry responded.
“That’s what’s amazing. He’s wanting Petraeus to be like the guy, and Petraeus is saying, ‘Hey, we’re not taking sides…,” Todd replied.
The hot mic comments come after McCain’s Wednesday statements calling for Petreaus and the Obama administration to step up military action against the ISIS insurgency in Iraq.
“Of course Maliki has to be transitioned out,” McCain said, despite the Obama administration’s statements that it is not interested in interfering with the Iraqi leadership. “But the only way that’s going to happen is for us to assure Iraqis that we will be there to assist. And let me make it clear: no one that I know wants to send combat troops on the ground, but airstrikes are an important factor, psychologically and many other ways, and that may require some forward air controllers and some special forces…“[the U.S. military should] go in, we use airpower, we get some boots on the ground, a few that can identify targets.”
McCain added that the U.S. only has negative option in the Middle East, calling for action in both Iraq and Syria.
“We cannot afford to allow a Syria-Iraq enclave that will pose a direct threat to the United States of America, and if we act, we are going to have to act in Syria as well,” McCain said.