In Jennifer Steinhauer's page-one report on John McCain's Senate campaign today, she refers to a memorable 2008 campaign incident -- when McCain defended Barack Obama against a supporter who referred to the Democratic candidate as an "Arab."
"No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man, citizen who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues," McCain said at the rally, on October 10, 2008, according to the NYT's original report. (Here's a link to a video of the event.)
But in today's recounting of the episode, Steinhauer made the unfortunate slip of conflating the words "Arab" and "terrorist."
"Back in 2008, at a town-hall-style meeting," Steinhauer wrote, "presidential candidate McCain snatched the microphone away from an older woman who referred to Mr. Obama as a terrorist and protested: 'No, no ma’am. He’s a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements.'"
Hmmm. Not such a serious mistake, really. Not unless you're an Arab who isn't also a terrorist!
UPDATE: The NYT has published this correction of the Steinhauer article in its Wednesday editions:
A Political Memo article on Tuesday about Senator John McCain’s having gone from presidential candidate to a senator furiously defending his seat quoted incorrectly from a comment about Barack Obama at a town-hall-style meeting during the 2008 campaign. Mr. McCain came to the defense of Mr. Obama when a woman at the meeting called him “an Arab” — she did not say “a terrorist.”