McCain’s understanding of American manufacturing

MCCAIN’S UNDERSTANDING OF AMERICAN MANUFACTURING…. I really have retired my ongoing count of John McCain’s Sunday show appearances. I’m sure folks have gotten the point — Sunday show bookers continue to be obsessed with McCain, and they shouldn’t be.

With that in mind, I won’t mention that the senator has made four Sunday show appearances over the last four weeks. And I also won’t mention how ridiculous this is. Wouldn’t dream of it.

I will mention, however, that during McCain’s latest appearance, yesterday on ABC’s “This Week,” the confused senator made an interesting error.

In an appearance on ABCs “This Week” on Sunday, the Arizona senator mistakenly said that iPads and iPhones were made in the U.S. when speaking about free trade agreements.

“It’s obviously recognition of the reality and the trends that cheaper, lower-cost products will usually prevail over the products made in higher wage and income countries,” McCain said. “But I would also point out that, if you’d emptied that house, if you’d left a computer there or an iPad or an iPhone, those are built in the United States of America.”

No, actually, they’re not. Apple is an American company, but every iPad and iPhone is built in China.

The senator’s office later said McCain misspoke and that he “is aware they were designed but not assembled in the U.S.”

That’s just not believable. In context, before McCain was on, ABC ran a lengthy segment about just how little is actually made in the United States. Christiane Amanpour asked McCain to reflect on this, and he immediately boasted about Apple products.

He’s “aware” that iPads and iPhones aren’t assembled in America? Clearly, that’s the opposite of the truth — McCain wasn’t aware of it at all.

There’s no need for the senator’s office to lie about this. The point should be a renewed interest on the weaknesses of American manufacturing, and the need for a renewed commitment to bolstering industries.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.