STEPHANOPOULOS (11/19/06): Let me ask one question about abortion, then I want to turn to Iraq. Youre for a constitutional amendment banning abortion with some exceptions for life and rape and incest.McCain supports a constitutional amendment—and hopes the Court will overturn Roe. But his position didnt surprise Stephanopoulos—and just this fall, the straight-talking solon had supported South Dakotas proposed ban on all abortions. But this current position is a clear flip from stands McCain took during Campaign 2000—when, to be fair, he managed to take all possible stands on this subject (link below). For the record, heres Tim Grieves run-down of McCains positions on abortion in 1998, 2000 and now. In this post, Think Progress cites a McCain stance from 1999.
MCCAIN: Rape, incest and the life of the mother, yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So is President Bush, yet that hasn't advanced in the six years he's been in office. What are you going to do to advance a constitutional amendment that President Bush hasn't done?
MCCAIN: I don't think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place. But I do believe that it's very likely, or possible, that a Supreme Court should—could overturn Roe v Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you'd be for that?
MCCAIN: Yes, because I'm a federalist. Just as I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states. So do I believe that we would be better off by having Roe v Wade returned to the states. And I don't believe the Supreme Court should be legislating in the way that they did on Roe v Wade.
MATTHEWS (11/19/06): Welcome back. Kathleen, tell me something I don't know.I just know, Parker said—and most likely, she does. Her statement struck us as very bad news. Many pundits will be looking for ways to maintain their preferred Hero Tales RE McCain. Its getting harder to maintain these scripts because of the senators endless reversals. This type of nasty persecution could give them a way to proceed.
PARKER: The nasty push polling in 2000 that was so brutal against McCain is going to be much, much worse in the next round.
MATTHEWS: Against McCain?
PARKER: Much worse.
MATTHEWS: Did you know he has a black child?
PARKER: I'm—it's much, much—it's going to be raunchier and meaner and nastier than that, and I'm not going to say what it is because I hope it's going to go away.
MATTHEWS: How do you know this?
PARKER: I just know.
OLBERMANN (11/20/06): With Rudy Giuliani obviously at his left, Senator McCain seeming intent on fitting into the groove occupied by his former competitor for the party nominations, George W. Bush. Is that a fair assumption at this point?We know what his real position is? Were not sure why Alter said that. (In Campaign 2000, McCain didnt seem to have a real position on a wide range of domestic issues.) But Alter, who is reality-based, has clearly adjusted his view of McCain. Our question: Will others follow suit? Remember: Theres nothing our Big Pundit Class loves more than sticking to memorized scripts.
ALTER: Yes, I think it is. Hes moving to the right. That`s his game plan for sewing up the nomination. But, you know, Keith, we have to figure out what to rename his campaign bus from 2000. It was called the Straight Talk Express. You remember that?
ALTER: We cant call it the Gay Talk Express, we cant call it the Crooked Talk Express. You know, so I don`t know what we should call it. Maybe the Convenient Talk Express, because he`s clearly tacking this way and that in order to reposition himself.
We know that hes really a moderate on abortion. I remember, I was on the Straight Talk Express in 2000 one day when he was asked by a Boston Globe reporter what he would do if his daughter got pregnant. And he said it would be her decision whether to have an abortion or not. And by the next stop, there was a feeding frenzy, and he had to back off and say, yes, yes, he really is against abortion, and so forth. But we know what his real position is, and its, in this age of transparency, where everything is out there, its fascinating to watch him reposition himself.