Cindy McCain's Fallacious Rebuttal

In spite of what you the newspapers, and on shows like The View--I don't know if any of you saw The View yesterday, they picked our bones clean--in spite of what you see, that's not what the American people are saying and what they are believing....They are now seeing a clear difference with these candidates, and they are seeing who is going to make the best president, and that's why we're pulling ahead.-- Cindy McCain

Source: CNN

Cindy's paradoxical rant on the media's sudden bias against her husband is one of the poorest pieces of persuasion I have ever seen. Period. In two sentences she manages to present two contradicting arguments that make no logical sense, and I literally mean no logical sense. I'm going to take a mathematical approach and destroy her logic. I'll start by looking at her first sentence. After I parse out her sixty-four references to The View and her repetition of "In spite of what you see" her statement essentially reads like this:

"People see things in newspapers and people driven TV shows but that's not reflective of what the American people are saying and what they are believing."

If I let the first portion that reads "People see things in newspapers and people driven TV shows" refer to the variable P and the second portion which reads "The American people are saying and what they are believing" as Q. The statement can then be mapped as follows:

P implies not Q:
"People see things in newspapers and people driven TV shows" which implies that "the American people are not saying [those same things] and that they are not believing them."

Here's where it gets wacky: using the idea of contrapostion the statement can be rewritten as Q implies the opposite of P and the statement should still be valid:

"The American people are saying [things] or they are believing [things]" implies that "people see [these same things] in newspapers and people driven TV shows."

Using a truth table for implication and going through the various possibilities for the previous statement we run into a fallacy. Cindy has worded her response so poorly that her argument essentially breaks down to "People can only believe things that are told to them by other people," which of course is not true. As an aside this perception seems to highlight the entire McCain campaign's strategy: "Vote for McCain because I tell you to."

Her second erroneous statement boils down to a classic AND (&) structure in which all fragments must be true for the statement to be true, (A & B & C = true means that A, B and C must all be true). The breakdown goes like this:

A = "[The American people] are now seeing a clear difference with these candidates"
B = "[The American people] are seeing who is going to make the best president"
C = "we're pulling ahead."

This should be much easier than the prior result because I only have to disprove one statement. I've already disproved B based on the result of Cindy's first point so I'm essentially done. The easy refutation to B reads as follows:

If "[The American people] are seeing who is going to make the best president" then the media should also see who is going to make the best president. We know the media does not think John McCain will be the best president because shows like The View and newspapers are sticking it to him, as Cindy pointed out earlier. Therefore B invalids Cindy's second statement and serves to highlight the point that the McCain entourage has yet to realize that American people are represented in the American media.

The common thread running through all of this discussion is that the entire McCain campaign is devoid of logical thought.

Update: I had a bad equivalence relation that was not sound (as a commenter pointed out), but it didn't affect my fundamental argument. The erroneous statement was meant to serve as a segue between the math and the exact wording; but my attempt to increase comprehension in effect decreased the quality of my logic. The error has been fixed and hopefully my argument is now mathematically valid.

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42 Response(s) to Cindy McCain's Fallacious Rebuttal

9/14/2008 10:09:39 PM CT

I would argue with some of your translations of English language to mathematical equations but my proposed revisions would still match your conclusions. Nice job.

Sandra S
9/15/2008 1:25:45 AM CT

"The common thread running through all of this discussion is that the entire McCain campaign is devoid of logical thought."

You could say that again.
9/15/2008 4:01:33 AM CT

Let us please encourage all the sane people that we know to help register and educate as many people as possible about the foolish illogical vile and destructive campaign McPain is running - The Doctors are calling for him to release his medical records because of the likelyhood of the recurrance of a terminal disease and they state that he is heavily medicated maybe that explains why he has taken to throwing Hail Mary passes.
rose london
9/15/2008 6:22:39 AM CT

You are so right. It goes to show how untoch with reality th Mccains are with American People. Is it possible that Cindy is on medication as well as her husband?. Just wondering..because the flip flops coming from them is gangatic, unbelivable. AND THANKS TO THE LAZY MEDIA. THE MCCAIN'S ARE GETTING AWAY WITH.
9/15/2008 7:21:43 AM CT

Cindy dear. It's McCain stupid!
9/15/2008 8:44:45 AM CT

Here's the flaw in your logic. First off, you add "people driven" to the phrases she uses, when it isn't in the quote to give you what you need to form your theorum the way you want to. You just skipped a very important step in any theorum in not stating your postulates. Then you expect that people will get so lost in the big words and long explination that they won't see it. Secondly, it seems that you are using the tactic where people believe what they are told by people who sound like they know what they're talking about to push your issue. At the same time you criticize Cindy McCaine for abstractly possibly implying this is the tactic that is being used by these shows to sway voters (although you don't state it word for word like I just did, it is the same thing). If it doesn't work, why are you using it? Thirdly, she says "in the newspapers and on shows shows [LIKE] The View." Not all newpapers and shows are anti-mcCain and Pro-Obama. You are even skewing your own logic to support your view more profoundly. Although, they do have a lot to criticize as of late, I think you're trying way too hard to dig more up to cite in your vendetta against them.
This being the first article I have read from this site, I thought I would see what your site was about to make sure I'm not posting this on a Democratic or agenda-oriented site. I begin to wonder if you've read it yourself. I'll just end my rant on this, because, I couldn't have stated your contradiction more effectively if I was actually digging for it.

The purpose of is to provide statistically sound information and logically sound arguments that seek to inform rather than persuade.
9/15/2008 10:30:34 AM CT

You apply the rules of math and logic to Cindy McCain's statements? Now, that has lots of sense...
9/15/2008 10:52:28 AM CT

I quess that Palin's daughter gets her support because Palin had a shot-gun marriage herself. Her first child was born less than 8 months after her quick trip to the court house. She then has the nerve to spout her high morals and ethics. What a phoney!
John Paul Telhomme
9/15/2008 12:07:05 PM CT

People, I don't know about commenters on this page but this woman does not speak English and given her husband's performance on the View, I think the debates are going to be thrilling... I predict 70 million will watch and after that the Republicans are clearly going to fizzle out. Keep the pressure building and don't look back. This thing is clearly winnable.
Carol Cain
9/15/2008 12:40:11 PM CT

I saw them on The View, and the women did pick them to the bone...but as a result McCain was forced to be more forthcoming about his intentions with this country should he be elected then ever. He stated clearly that he would look to overturn Roe vs. Wade which got a hugh "boooooo" from the audience. He stated that he appoint more conservative justices to the supreme court and have them "review the constitution", which made Whoopie Goldberg ask, "Should I be afraid of becoming a slave again?"

He also blamed Obama for his (McCain's) campaign being so meanspirited and low stating, "He didn't agree to run this election in joint town hall meetings." Thus, we will have to resort to mudslinging...and lastly when confronted about the lies of his most recent ads, stated, without remorse, "They aren't lies." There's soooooo much more this man let out and that's why his wife is so livid. I never watch this show, but am glad I did...he was candid and terrifyingly honest all the same time. Oh yes, and so much for "change"..he als said that he is THE SAME man/politician he has always been, nothing about him has changed. Good to know.
9/15/2008 10:16:33 PM CT

The guy that was her assistant years ago during the drug abuse said in the Wash Post the other day that he currently sees some of the same behavior in her now that he did when she was hooked years ago.
9/15/2008 11:44:24 PM CT

omg, i just realized that the blonde mccain hauls around with him is his wife. i've been frantically searching all the online escort sites to see if i could have her when he sent her back. oh well, guess i'll have a go at that brunnette instead.
Hey baby
9/15/2008 11:44:51 PM CT

wrong premises, correct conclusion.

She's detached and feels entitled.
9/16/2008 2:27:58 AM CT

I like your statement: "If the American people are seeing who is going to make the best president, then the media should also arrive at this same conclusion."

Unscientific survey. For 3 or 4 days last week after polling showed Senator McCain had pulled ahead of Senator Obama (for the first time ever?) I watched - in vain - the Chicago Tribune, for either a mention of this fact, or an uptick of editorials favorable to McCain.
Result: the first 2 days, there was no mention of this and the Tribune had 100% editorials (plural) unfavorable to McCain and/or Palin. The next day there was no mention and there were 3 or so editorials unfavorable to McCain and/or Palin, and one that was borderline/neutral. The same with my local newspaper, in which the polling result was not mentioned and there were perhaps 1 1/2 editorials over a week that might be construed as favorable to McCain. (I don't think I read more than one editorial unfavorable to Obama in either newspaper in all that time.)

If I were only a newspaper reader for my news, (a little logic here), and did not look online, I would never have known this information, or had the satisfaction of hearing about so many others (a majority, actually) who shared my sentiments.

But then, I fear that is the point - to manage the exposure of a candidate in ways that will attempt to either help or, in this case, hurt, their base.

So, as a result, I agree with Cindy McCain - media coverage is not (in this case and in many others) representative of what so many people think.
9/16/2008 9:28:22 AM CT

They say that Cindy is a smart business woman, then why is she not running her beer company, she just tells them how much money she wants each month and leaves the daily operations to someone else. No hands on experience. Her role reminds me of Nancy Reagan during her husband's last years in office when he had altzheimers and kept it from the public until he was out of office. We now have the opportunity to see McCains onset alzheimers before he gets into office.
R. Davis Wa. state
9/16/2008 11:30:55 AM CT

Melanie from Ct.---your statement is "right on". I couldn't have said it better. I appreciate God given sense.
Mike Greco
9/16/2008 4:18:14 PM CT

To R Davis and Melanie,

What Americans think? They don't -that is why this election is even close.

Cindy and John McCain are phoneys. The View women did an excellent job, asking better questions than some journalists. Let America know that a vote for McCain is a vote for Bush and the Neocons.
9/16/2008 8:50:18 PM CT

Yes we know that they are illogical, but they have irreversible belliefs of infallibility!!
9/16/2008 9:16:30 PM CT

It is very hard to find a repuke with more than 10 brain cells.
9/16/2008 9:18:53 PM CT

The polls don't mean anything as they only call landlines and nobody I know has a landline.
9/16/2008 9:27:00 PM CT

Cindy McPills...a smart businesswoman? I think not. Daddy left her the beer distributorship.
9/17/2008 8:58:23 AM CT

I hate pedantic assholes as much as the next person, but I have to say you butchered the rules of logic. "p does not imply q" is not equivalent to p --> ~q, and neither of those statements is equivalent to "p implies the opposite of q." "Not q" does not mean the opposite of q, it just means not q. If you have a relation s.t. p --> q then the contrapositive would be ~q --> ~p. Likewise, p --> ~q = q --> ~p. I know this is all in good humor, but it's just the math-geek in me.
Haba Jebe
9/17/2008 4:08:49 PM CT

So Caribou Barbie was knocked up when she and the First Dude tied the knot. Imagine that. Now young daughter (whose name escapes me) is unwed and preggers too. And this is supposed to be the "Family Values" crowd. Guess it's cold and dark in Alaska a lot of the time. The young folks just have to figure out ways to amuse themselves. It's easy when Momma is driving back and forth to Anchorage (not Juneau?) playing Guv and First Dude is off snowmobile racing in Saskatoon. Some values.
9/17/2008 8:26:55 PM CT

I don't blame Cindy for getting her knickers in a twist. The fabulously wealthy are not used to "the little people" questioning their reasoning, ethics or word on anything. They are certainly never ever called out on outright lies and misrepresentations either.

Count up all the votes on 4 November and you will see how many really stupid people we have in this country. They will all be voting Republican.
9/17/2008 11:06:07 PM CT

Beer distributorships were always owned or controlled by Mafia back in thoe days. That is why she sought validation for her family in marrying MacSlime and he sought her money for power. She lives in Arizona, he in Washington, and this arrangement has gone on for 11 years. He lies, she's got that platic smile pasted on throughout. Yesterday and Monday were two of the bleakest economic days inUS history and she's standing there smiling. Stepford is right.
9/18/2008 1:18:06 AM CT

I have to agree with Cindy McCain, The view needs to ask some of the same questions of Obama when he doesnt have someone answering before him so he can agree with them.( kinda like peeking at your neighbors test paper) . Some of you need to get a life, 3/4ths of America either had to get married or had kids out of wedlock. (Now days they just go out and get an abortion ,like birth control.) Take a good look at HOLLYWOOD. Did any of you see The View???
9/18/2008 9:35:11 AM CT

Cindy, obviously, has no clue what Americans are thinking. Remember Cindy also said that Palin has foreign experience, since Alaska is so close to Russia. Why on earth do we settle for the dumb ones? You can say whatever you want about Obama, the man is NOT stupid. Let's for ONCE vote for brains. PLEASE.
9/18/2008 1:05:18 PM CT

9/19/2008 1:25:41 AM CT

Lois is spot on. He's not too bright himself - doesn't have a clue on the economy, much less how to fix it - and chose a running mate to match! The worst case scenario is that they win, and the corporate plundering resumes with his blessings, while she works on setting the country back by 50 years from the perspective of equality, individual freedoms (free guns for everyone while you're profiled, wire-tapped, and tracked), and education. We would indeed be the laughing stock of the world as we implode!
9/19/2008 2:26:34 AM CT

As an American, a retired Army NCO, a Christian, and a Husband/Father, I am deeply saddened by the trend I am seeing with this election...that McCain has repeatedly stated and exemplified his lack of knowledge about the economy; used his experience as a POW from 40 years ago to defer any and all criticism of his military judgement; abused his power in Washington to strip down the laws that served to protect the environment, the public, and the poor; and worst of all, has resorted to misleading, deceptive, and slanderous ads (as well as pandering to women via Palin) just for the sake of winning at ALL COSTS. This election will, indeed, cost our country dearly should George McBush win and we have another 4 years of total failure, incompetence, lawlessness, arrogance, and abuse of power as we have seen on an unprecedented scale for the past 8 years. The American people MUST open their eyes to see what is at stake here...and I'm not talking about the little tidbits of bribery in the form of tax breaks for the wealthy...the President of this country needs to be selected based on more than just one issue. And Barack Obama is our ONLY choice if we truly love this country and care about the men and women who are ready to lay down their lives to protect it (military, law enforcement, and emergency-responders included). That's all I have to say about that... ;-)
9/19/2008 9:46:10 PM CT

Bravo Trickled-On. You've got it!!
How can we get others to understand our situation as well as you do?
Sargeants Rule
(I'm ex Navy so I'd say Chiefs Rule)
9/20/2008 1:12:59 PM CT

I am also a vet. I volunteered for Viet Nam. This country is the epitome of stupid if they vote this man and his eye candy VP into office. Never have I witnessed a presidential candidate with so low moral standards than this man McCain. He has traded whatever few principles he had to become president. Everyone and their grandmother knows that Palin was forced on him and instead of standing up for what he believed in, he caved in and selected this woman of dubious character.

The very fact that she said I can see Russia from parts of her state show just how simplistic her thinking is. She has no idea what's involved in making decisions on a monumental scale. She, like McCain, lie lke a Persian rug, saying' "I said thanks but no thanks to that bridge to nowhere." Even after it was pointed out to her that that statement was a lie she still insisted on repeating it over and over again. McCain is equally as depraved of moral fiber as his running mate. He has told one lie after another and stubbornly continues to do so in spite of the lies being debunked.

We have had 8 long years of individuals in the White House (Bush and Cheney) lying through their teeth right in front of our faces with no hesitation. As Obama said; 'Enough is Enough". That should be everyone mantra this election year, it is mine.

BTW, as a Viet Nam I feel I have license to say that John McCain collaborated with the NVC voluntarily for medical treatment. The information he gave to the enemy involved ship deployment and air lanes of attack and preferred targets. Thus during this period there was a 60% increase in the number of planes shot down, pilots killed or captured. That is the truth. McCain is a coward and a traitor...
9/20/2008 2:06:12 PM CT

I I I I am comfortably numb........ok Cindy
9/20/2008 4:57:08 PM CT

Mama believes in abstinance and had a shotgun wedding. Now Mama's teen daughter is unwed and pregnant. Someone in that family needs to believe in birth control pills.
9/20/2008 8:59:26 PM CT

Look into Cindy's tombstone eyes.
She is still on the pain meds.
Think the the wrist injury was a coincidence?
9/21/2008 2:21:14 AM CT

With the obvious lies that he feeds daily to the American public, McCain is no longer the same honorable man that he used to be because of his ambition to become president. His irresponsible choice of a vice-president reflects the kind of judgment that he will bring to the oval office should he win this election, God forbids. His choice of Palin is clearly for McCain first instead of the America first that he proclaimed. Maybe, McCain thinks that Americans are STUPID.
9/21/2008 2:23:46 AM CT

This is a silly article. Cindy McCain is on drugs and completely inarticulate. That's obvious. We all know she meant to say that what is stated in the media does not reflect what people really feel. And she's actually right on that point.
9/21/2008 10:59:00 AM CT

Cindy AND John McCain are SO out of touch with the American people. She is a drugged out, spoiled heiress who should have her mouth Superglued shut! How many of you are out there wearing outfits that costs more than most houses? How many of you have the luxury of avoiding traffic with your own private plane? How many of you don't know how many houses you own? How many of you are unaware of how much gasoline costs per gallon? Do you REALLY believe that McCain will look out for the average citizen? Think again. He is saying anything, (and contradicting himself often) to get elected. He will be like Bush and Cheney, and only look out for their cronies. The rest of us will only be thought about in terms of more taxes to fund whatever crazy idea they have next--or to bail them out of their latest screw up. It's time for all Americans to wake up and honestly ask yourselves if your family is in better shape now after 8 years of the criminals of Bush and Cheney?? Well if you answered yes, you are better off--then you will probably vote for McSame and Idiot Barbie.
9/21/2008 1:59:40 PM CT

Let's make the people who screwed up our economy pay for it themselves with their many homes and cars, their bank accounts, and their failure to understand how many of us live.
Mike Ky
9/21/2008 2:31:43 PM CT

How hard was it to pick the bones clean of a woman who gets arm sprains from shaking hands?
9/21/2008 2:46:04 PM CT

Cosign to lc, TJR and BB. The beer princess had the unmitting gall to show up in an outfit that cost more than most people's homes, yet there are those idiot trailer-park dwellers who look at her and say "ain't she purdy?" instead of feeling like she just slapped them in their faces. She and John have no clue about the real world or the folks in it. And Sarah Painful is just that, painful. I have to wonder about the intelligence and emotional stability of any woman who says she can identify with Sarah. If this is you, get professional help, stat. She is too stupid to see that she is a pawn in Johnny's game. Her priorities need to be taking care of her Downy baby and her preggers 17-year-old, not taking courses on how to become vp overnight. No real woman/mom I know would do that. And do not respond to me by saying her husband could do those things and she can hire people. A real woman/mom tends to things like this herself, not vicariously through others.
9/21/2008 4:56:23 PM CT

Poor John +Cindy, life is sooo hard with sooo much to decide. The little people just do not get it. Well I get this: 1-the poor people who got rate jacked on a mortgage (80% minority) will now get to pay for a house they don't live in. 2.The HEDGERS+CEO's all made a ton with little to no tax to pay. 3.Yes you do give a damn about your elite friends according to even George Stephanopolos . Oh and BIG 4- If elected you will start the draft because you can't send soldiers over and over. There will have to be fresh boots. Please those of you who realize this, let it be known. No one I know of has even thought about their child being affected by the choice you make in Nov.

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