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HOUSTON, Tex. (CAP) - The McCain campaign dove headlong into more controversy over its "100 year Iraq war" claim this week as it sought to clarify its candidate's original comment. This latest message meltdown started innocently enough at a Houston, Tex. fundraising luncheon attended by Sen. McCain and a host of Texan GOP leaders.
"My friends, when I was talking about staying in Iraq for a hundred years, I was not talking people years," McCain said, flashing his token smile. "I was talking dog years, and my opponent knows this. Shame, shame on Barack Obama for thinking I meant people years."
If McCain's people were hoping to finally put an end to what has become a touchy campaign trail issue and a virtual goldmine for late-night comedians, they quickly realized that this clarification wasn't going to do it.
"I think the question Mr. McCain will have to face next is: what exactly is a dog year?" said Dr. Louis Freeman, a canine geriatric specialist with the Rosemont Baptist Dog Hospital in Rosemont, Tex. "Is he basing his computation on the outdated and cliched one human year equals seven dog years? If so, we'll be in Iraq for a little over 14 years.
"Is he basing it on a slightly more accurate ruler where the first two years of a dog's life each equal 10.5 human years, with each successive year after equaling four? If that's the case, then we'll be in Iraq for over 30 years."
An even more accurate measurement, says Dr. Freeman, is to pin John McCain down on what size and breed of dog he has in mind, a feeling shared by Sharon Hunan, Houston-chapter president of the canine advocacy group Up With Dogs.
"John McCain needs to be upfront about what kind of doggie he thinks the Iraq war is," Hunan told CAP News. "Is it a little Chihuahua, yip yip yip, nipping at your heels and occasionally firing RPG's at your back when you're not looking? Or is it more like a pit bull, grrrarrr, latching on, shaking a few million Iraqis from their homes, not letting go?
"It will make a big difference in the occupational math," Hunan added.