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Matthews: If Mitt agrees with McCain, he'd have us fighting wars 'in five different Islamic countries'

In a bellicose GOP convention speech, Sen. John McCain attacked President Obama for "not being true to our values" by declining to intervene militarily in several ongoing international conflicts. That prompted a horrified Chris Matthews to declare that Mitt Romney, "if [McCain] speaks for him, would have us on a war footing, in fact involved militarily on the offensive, in five different Islamic countries."

McCain charged that "by committing to withdraw from Afghanistan before peace can be achieved and sustained," Obama is substitut[ing] a political timetable for a military strategy." And, apparently referring to the Syrian and Libyan conflicts, he declared: "When long-suffering peoples demand liberation from their jailers and torturers and tyrants, the leader of the free world must stand with them."

In Iran, too, McCain said, Obama isn't listening to the call of freedom. "The president missed a historic opportunity," he said, "to throw America’s full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorizes the Middle East and threatens the world."


"The situation is far worse in Syria," he continued. "What began as peaceful protests has now become, 18 months later, a savage and unfair fight."

"Sadly, for the lonely voices of dissent in Syria, and Iran, and elsewhere, who feel forgotten in their darkness, and sadly for us, as well, our president is not being true to our values," McCain said.

Chris Matthews called the speech, and McCain's previous calls for military intervention, "frightening."

Referring to Romney, he said: "This candidate, if this man speaks for him, would have us on a war footing, in fact involved militarily on the offensive, in five different Islamic countries. He thinks that should be sound U.S. policy. That's a frightening concept."

Matthews also pointed out that the appointment of former Bush aide Dan Senor as a top Paul Ryan adviser, and talk of a possible role for John Bolton as Secretary of State, point to a possible resurgence of "all the hawks, all the Neocons that brought us into Iraq [who] are now coming back festering for a chance to get us into Iran."

"There's nothing more frightening than a Neocon surrounded by a president who has no experience in foreign policy or military experience to push back from," Matthews said.

Does McCain speak for Romney and Ryan? Moments after the speech, Rachel Maddow asked the senator directly if the GOP ticket agrees with his calls for intervention in Syria. The short answer: yes.

"They agree with me, Rachel," McCain said, "on that we need to provide arms to the Syrian resistance, that its shameful -- and it is shameful -- that we've sat by and watched 20,000 people massacred, men, women, and children, tortured and gang raped. And I think they obviously are embarrassed, as I am, that the President of the United States won't even speak up. When was the last time the President spoke up for these people, much less did something abut it? So I'm sure that their view is very different from this president, who is A-W-O-L, and if you missed what that means, Absence Without Official Leave."