Unfortunately, We Won’t Be Seeing a Putin-McCain Debate

The Arizona senator’s op-ed is up at <em>Pravda</em>. But the Russian president’s press secretary says not to expect much more than that.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his visit to the new headquarters of "Russia Today" TV channel in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 11, 2013. 
AP
Matt Berman
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Berman
Sept. 19, 2013, 5:30 a.m.

The mo­ment you were maybe wait­ing for has ar­rived: Sen. John Mc­Cain, R-Ar­iz., is of­fi­cially a pub­lished colum­nist in Rus­sia’s Pravda (but not the Pravda you’re think­ing of, see up­date be­low). The opin­ion piece is head­lined “Sen­at­or John Mc­Cain: Rus­si­ans de­serve bet­ter than Putin.” But un­for­tu­nately, Putin’s press sec­ret­ary thinks we all de­serve bet­ter than see­ing the two square-off.

In the op-ed, Mc­Cain pushes aside the idea that he is some­how anti-Rus­si­an. “I am pro-Rus­si­an,” he writes, “more pro-Rus­si­an than the re­gime that mis­rules you today.” He con­tin­ues:

Pres­id­ent Putin and his as­so­ci­ates … don’t re­spect your dig­nity or ac­cept your au­thor­ity over them. They pun­ish dis­sent and im­pris­on op­pon­ents. They rig your elec­tions. They con­trol your me­dia. They har­ass, threaten, and ban­ish or­gan­iz­a­tions that de­fend your right to self-gov­ernance. To per­petu­ate their power they foster rampant cor­rup­tion in your courts and your eco­nomy and ter­ror­ize and even as­sas­sin­ate journ­al­ists who try to ex­pose their cor­rup­tion.

In his con­clu­sion, Mc­Cain writes that he longs for the day when Rus­si­ans have a gov­ern­ment that an­swers to them. The column is worth read­ing, if only for the pure oddity of how it came about and how Mc­Cain tries to ad­dress the Rus­si­an people. 

And yes, Vladi­mir Putin will be read­ing the op-ed.

At least that’s ac­cord­ing to his press sec­ret­ary, Dmitry Peskov, quoted by Rus­sia’s IT­AR-TASS. “We will def­in­itely read it,” he said, but “en­ga­ging him in de­bate is un­likely — it’s the point of view of someone liv­ing across the ocean.”

Peskov also quibbled with what Mc­Cain ac­tu­ally wrote:

As far as what Rus­si­ans de­serve ““ they’re cap­able of an­swer­ing this ques­tion them­selves and they do an­swer it dur­ing elec­tions. I don’t think that point of view of someone across the ocean plays any sort of role in how Rus­si­ans ex­press their will.

Ap­par­ently, be­ing on the oth­er side of the ocean means that you can’t help guide the policies of an­oth­er coun­try. Per­haps this mes­sage should be trans­mit­ted to Putin.

UP­DATE (9:40 a.m.): CNN re­ports that the Mc­Cain op-ed saga may be even stranger than we thought. Ac­cord­ing to CNN, the Pravda that pub­lished Mc­Cain’s op-ed is just a Rus­si­an web­site, and not ac­tu­ally the Pravda news­pa­per that’s been around since 1912. The two or­gan­iz­a­tions have no con­nec­tion, and just hap­pen to share a name.

Sen. Mc­Cain’s of­fice sent a draft of his op-ed to both the news­pa­per and the un­affli­ated web­site. The news­pa­per didn’t ac­tu­ally pub­lish the piece.

What We're Following See More »
TWO MONTHS AFTER REFUSING AT CONVENTION
Cruz to Back Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST
WHO TO BELIEVE?
Two Polls for Clinton, One for Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST

With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:

  • An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clin­ton lead­ing Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary John­son at 7%.
  • A Mc­Clatchy-Mar­ist poll gave Clin­ton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way bal­lot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
  • Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
TRUMP NO HABLA ESPANOL
Trump Makes No Outreach to Spanish Speakers
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."

Source:
$1.16 MILLION
Clintons Buy the House Next Door in Chappaqua
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."

Source:
×