Jamie Rubin’s dirty trick

James Rubin is the former Clinton administration State Department flack. He is now a commentator on England’s Sky News who prefers to describe himself as an adjunct professor at Columbia’s School of International Affairs. On Friday the Washington Post published his op-ed column criticizing John McCain for noting Hamas’s preference for Obama in the current campaign. In his column Rubin asserts that two years ago, in an interview with Rubin, McCain spoke out in favor of doing business with Hamas. According to Rubin, McCain should therefore be the last person to advertise Hamas’s support for Obama. Rubin likens McCain’s doing so to a Nixonian dirty trick.

There is only one problem with Rubin’s column. Its thesis is built on a quotation from his interview with McCain that Rubin truncated and falsely represented. The falsehood was quickly exposed by the McCain campaign (noted in this Washington Post online report), by Ed Morrissey (here and here) and by Jim Hoft, among others. Morrissey’s second post on Rubin’s column includes the video and transcript of a report by Lou Dobbs on CNN finding in favor of McCain against Rubin.

The Washington Post has yet to run a correction or clarification of Rubin’s column. One can only speculate why. Perhaps the reason the Post has stood by the column so far is that the column is illustrative of the large truth on which Rubin predicates it: “If the recent exchanges between President Bush, Barack Obama and John McCain on Hamas and terrorism are a preview of the general election, we are in for an ugly six months.” Both Rubin and the Post have made early contributions to the ugliness.

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