I'm a bit surprised by how little coverage The Great McCain-Spain Gaffe has gotten (Well, not really that surprised given the relative insularity of the American media/political complex).

But anyway you cut it, you've got to be alarmed. McCain's campaign is now officially saying that in a phone interview earlier this week on a Miami Latino radio station, the GOP candidate did not misunderstand the question nor make any mistake when he said he would not necessarily meet with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.

Huh? The President of the U.S. would not receive the leader of a fellow member of NATO? Presumably because Zapatero represents a mildly left-of-center social democratic coalition that withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq?

This is pretty friggin' far out, no?

Josh Marshall has been all over this story from the beginning and now reaches a rather startling conclusion about this incident. Marshall argues that the simplest, most logical explanation is that McCain just didn't understand what he was being asked and got confused. Perhaps, maybe, possibly understandably confused. And then he was too proud to ask for clarification. Or, worse, he didn't figure out his gaffe until after it happened and now his campaign is covering for him.

Which would mean something really terrifying i.e. that the campaign was willing to snub a key Western European NATO ally merely to paper over a simple campaign trail snafu.

Here's Marshall's grim conclusion.

Dios MIo! We're so far from God yet so close to a Mumbling John McCain.

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