Monday, August 18, 2008

Did McCain cheat at Saddleback Forum?

It certainly looks that way.

As I watched the forum Saturday Night, I thought Barack Obama did all right. He held his own in front of a hostile, but polite, crowd of evangelical Christians in Southern California. Perhaps he won over a few supporters.

Then John McCain took the stage. After watching him for a few minutes I noticed it: McCain's answers were just a little too polished, a little too perfect. Then he began answering some questions before Rick Warren could finish asking them . . . or ask them at all. A little bell rang in my head: something wasn't right about McCain's performance.

Then Andrea Mitchell of NBC confirmed my suspicions:

SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): Defeat it. Couple of points. One, if I'm president of the United States, my friends, if I have to follow him to the gates of hell, I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice. I will do that and I know how to do it. I will get that done.

(End videotape)

MR. GREGORY: Andrea Mitchell, that's a pretty clear contrast.

MS. ANDREA MITCHELL: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, there was the crisp, immediate, forceful response by John McCain, clearly in a comfort zone because he was with his base. And Barack Obama, taking a risk in going there but seeing an opportunity. And a much more nuanced approach. The Obama people must feel that he didn't do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that -- what they're putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.


MS. MITCHELL: He seemed so well prepared.
There was no "cone of silence"!?!?

Does anyone seriously believe that McCain and/or his aides didn't listen to the first half of the forum? We are talking about a Republican campaign for the presidency, a campaign being advised by the master of political dirty tricks Karl Rove, so I'll ask again, does anyone seriously believe that McCain and/or some of his aides didn't listen to the first half of the forum, didn't walk onto the stage with some foreknowledge of the questions?

This story is beginning to draw a lot of coverage:

"NBC's Andrea Mitchell Floats Idea McCain Cheated"

"McCain cheated? proof he knew the questions ahead of time. "

"Video: Pastor Rick confirms McCain NOT in "cone of silence" during Obama Q&A"

"'Cone of Silence'-Gate Makes McCain Camp Erupt"

"McCain protests NBC coverage"

"'Cross in the Dirt' story stolen from Solzhenitsyn"


malfus11 said...

Oh please. Just because your candidate didn't perform well doesn't mean that the other cheated. Take defeat like a man.

The Richmond Democrat said...

Actually Obama did rather well. This was a very conservative crowd you know. I have to give them credit: they were polite.

I think it says a lot that Obama is willing and able to go before a crowd that is emphatically NOT his base and still do a good job of communicating.

I doubt very seriously that McCain would accept a similar invitation from a Liberal organization where he'd be speaking to a hostile crowd and Obama would be preaching to his base.

I think McCain felt like he needed a little extra "help" because he's such a poor public speaker. I'm sure McCain is intelligent enough to have long ago memorized the answers to what were, after all, the standard conservative Theo-con litmus test questions. He just needed a little extra time to polish his answers in the limo.

willieo said...

Did John McCain Cheat?
Let's not ask his campaign staff.
Ask Carol McCain.
Or better yet, ask McCain to elaborate on his "greatest moral failure".

The Richmond Democrat said...

Yes, I thought that Rick Warren did pass over John McCain's greatest moral failure rather quickly. In view of the current firestorm from the Right wing about John Edwards, I thought McCain's response deserved a follow up and some additional probing.

guerline said...

It looked that way to me too. I thought it was very odd.