A little truth telling

It’s clear from the coverage (or the non-coverage) that the Washington press corps has a soft spot for John McCain. Mostly, it’s because of his “openness” (mistaken for honesty by the quote-hungry reporterati), but it could also stem from their having been burned by his year 2000 rival, George W. Bush, and a sense among them that the better man stayed on the “straight talk express.” Whatever the cause, the meme that the press is in love with Barack Obama would be better applied to McCain.

… which is why it’s not surprising to learn that the recent appearances before a press organization, the American Society of Newspaper Editors. went very differently for the two men …

At a luncheon for the editors hosted by the Associated Press, AP Chairman Dean Singleton quizzed Obama about whether he would send more troops to Afghanistan, where “Obama bin Laden is still at large?”

“I think that was Osama bin Laden,” the candidate answered.

“If I did that, I’m so sorry!” Singleton said.

“This,” Obama told the editors, is “part of the exercise that I’ve been going through over the last 15 months.”


McCain’s moderators, the AP’s Ron Fournier and Liz Sidoti, greeted McCain with a box of Dunkin’ Donuts. “We spend quite a bit of time with you on the back of the Straight Talk Express asking you questions, and what we’ve decided to do today was invite everyone else along on the ride,” Sidoti explained. “We even brought you your favorite treat.”

McCain opened the offering. “Oh, yes, with sprinkles!” he said.

Sidoti passed him a cup. “A little coffee with a little cream and a little sugar,” she said. …

Mmmm. … Donuts…

The dueling appearances by McCain and Obama nicely captured the current dynamic in the presidential cycle. McCain, his nomination secure, had the luxury to joke and pander. Obama, wounded by the Democrats’ internecine fighting, was defensive and somber.

Singleton, Obama’s moderator, pointed out that a new poll showed the Democrat had lost the 10-point lead over McCain that he had in February. “The fact that our contest is still going on means that John McCain comes in here, and he’s feeling pretty good,” Obama answered. “He can be a little more deliberate and pace himself. And that probably explains the close in the polls.”

McCain was indeed in high spirits as he entered the ballroom and invited the editors’ “questions, comments or insults.” Reading from a teleprompter, McCain said he was among friends. “I made a decision to be as accessible to the press as the press would prefer me to be, and perhaps even more than they would prefer.” Accepting the doughnuts, McCain had a gift for the editors, too — his support for a law shielding reporters from identifying their sources.

This left everybody in a good mood for the criticism of Obama that McCain tacked on the end of his speech. Americans don’t “turn to their religious faith and cultural traditions out of resentment,” he said. The candidate then took a seat with the two AP reporters and crossed his legs casually for the questions. Asked about his advanced age, he pretended to nod off in his chair. “Watch me campaign,” he challenged. “Come on the bus again, my friends, all of you.”

McCain got a standing ovation — an honor Obama did not receive when his turn came two hours later.

The words, “in the tank” come to mind (wonder if SNL will pick up on THAT … nah… they have their narrative, too…) The question is, when the general election rolls around, will the media continue to overplay every Obama statement (five days of “bitter” and still not signs of slowing down by the MSM) while ignoring the more substantive errors made by their friend, McCain (not knowing a Suni from a Shiite in Iraq? Probably more of a “commander in chief test” than whether you’re enough of a “regular guy” to relate to hunters. … but then, I’m not on MSNBC.

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