From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
At one time, just before McCain jumped into the race officially, the Arizona senator was for ethanol. Now that his campaign situation has changed -- from presumptive front-runner to hearing the death knell to stolidly trudging along, he is against it again. He's embraced being against it; he brought it up on his own at this Iowa debate.
*** UPDATE *** NBC's Carrie Dann adds....John McCain might have been hoping that his answer to that last question on free trade would force his rivals to respond to his call to eliminate ethanol subsidies. By criticizing such subsidies, which are highly prized in corn-rich Iowa, he's implying that any candidates who claim to be free-market conservatives are pandering if they say they support federal support for ethanol production. But Washburn moved on to the next question without a direct challenge to the GOP candidates on the hot-button Iowa trade issue.