Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) talked to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer this morning about Gadhafi’s death in Libya, and at the end of the interview, Blitzer said, “All right, senator, thanks very much. I know you’re happy on this very special day, an historic day.”

McCain may be pleased, but perhaps now would also be a good time to remember what the senator was up to two years ago.

In August 2009, the Republican lawmaker traveled to Tripoli for a personal visit with Gadhafi, and the two discussed delivery of American military equipment to the Libyan dictator. There’s even a video of the introductions.

YouTube video

Yes, you’ll notice that McCain actually bowed a little to Gadhafi. After the meeting, the conservative senator even praised the Libyan leader online. (You might also recognize Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman, and Susan Collins, all of whom attended the meeting and shook Gadhafi’s hand.)

McCain changed his mind earlier this year and compared Gadhafi to Hitler, but I’m curious why the media has been so quick to forget about the senator’s willingness to cozy up to the dictator just two years ago. Politics can move pretty fast, but 2009 wasn’t that long ago.

Put it this way: if a Democratic senator who claims superior foreign policy expertise literally bowed to Gadhafi two years ago, chatted with him in Tripoli, and soon after praised him online, do you think he or she might be asked about it today? Especially as the senator makes the rounds doing interviews anyway?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.