During the Republican debate last night on MSNBC, moderator Tim Russert asked candidate John McCain about his previous comments that he didn't know as much about economics as he did about other issues. McCain's answer suggested he had never made such a comment. In fact he did so as recently as December, as the Globe's Sasha Issenberg reported at the time.
Here's the exchange from the debate transcript last night:
RUSSERT: National security, the war in Iraq had been the dominant issue in the campaign until a few weeks ago. And now the economy has taken hold. Ask any of the voters; it's the economy. Senator McCain, you have said repeatedly, quote, I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated. Is it a problem for your campaign that the economy is now the most important issue, one that by your own acknowledgment you're not well versed on?
MCCAIN: Actually, I don't know where you got that quote from. I'm very well versed in economics. I was there at the Reagan revolution. I was there when we enacted the first -- or just after we enacted the first tax cuts and the restraints on spending.
But Issenberg quoted McCain as telling reporters on December 17 in New Hampshire: "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should," McCain said. "I've got Greenspan's book."