Friday, July 25, 2008

An Intimidated Press Corps?

On June 30, 2008, reported Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post's blog, "The Trail," John McCain introduced a new, improved campaign plane, a Boeing 737-400. That morning, she wrote, McCain senior campaign aide Mark Salter "quipped" "only the good reporters" would get to sit in the specially-configured section for interviews. "You'll have to earn it."

Was this really a quip? In an interview with The Los Angeles Times (video here) of June 19, 2008, McCain biographer Matt Welch explained (quote from thinkprogress.com) that the Arizona Senator is "very open to people. You can come on the bus, everything is great but if he knows or if his team knows that you have a hostile line of questioning or you have a long and well documented critique, they’re not going to talk to you."

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Portsmouth, Ohio on July 7, McCain declared "Americans have got to understand that we are paying present-day retirees with the taxes paid by young workers in America today. And that's a disgrace. It's an absolute disgrace, and it's got to be fixed."

Given that a)that's how Social Security- an intergenerational transfer- has always worked and b)there was relatively little discussion of this extraordinary, astonishing comment from a presumptive presidential nominee, could it be that Salter was not "quipping"- and that reporters learned his lesson well?

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