September 22nd, 2008
12:20 PM ET
15 years ago

Senior McCain aide skewers New York Times


Watch: A McCain audience member condemns the media coverage of Sarah Palin.

(CNN) - McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt accused the New York Times Monday of being “in the tank” for Barack Obama’s presidential bid, and charged the Democrat’s team with a “campaign of intimidation” directed at his critics.

“Whatever by the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization,” said Schmidt, on a conference call with reporters. “It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day attacks Senator McCain, attacks Governor Palin and excuses Senator Obama.

“There is no level of outrage directed at his deceptive ads. There is no vetting...This is an organization that is completely, totally 150 percent in the tank for the Democratic candidate,” said Schmidt, saying later: “We would hope in the last 43 days of this campaign… that there is a restoration to some degree of a level of symmetry in coverage.”

The former Bush adviser has been an increasingly vocal media critic. Earlier this month, he accused journalists of being on a “mission to destroy” Sarah Palin, and called a Times investigative report on the vetting process that preceded her selection as McCain’s running mate a “work of fiction.”

Schmidt also told reporters on the call, “There is no question that there is a fierce campaign of intimidation directed at any critic of Obama’s” by his campaign.

But McCain aides backed away from claims last week that Obama had pressured Senator Hillary Clinton into backing out of an appearance at a rally where Governor Sarah Palin would be in attendance, and of pushing organizers to disinvite the Republican VP nominee, with campaign manager Rick Davis saying instead that the incident demonstrated a “failure of leadership” by the Democratic nominee.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Piero

    My 6 yo whines less than these guys!

    Schmidt is picking on the Times, because the Republicans treat any trashing of the Times as a rallying cry, it's as simple as that.

    Sorry McCain, it's not going to work this time.

    September 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. themanwhosawtomorrow

    To Mccain campaign surprise, Palin was not actually enough to motivate the republican base and they have now resorted to attacking the NYT. This is nothing but a desparate attempt by a dying campaign at motivating the base.

    I just hope that all media will stand up against this kind of brazen intimidation of the press by the mccain campaign.

    September 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Tammy - KCMO

    Maybe if he and the rest of the Republicans would quit lying for 5 minutes and actually allow the campaigns and media to focus on issues before the election he wouldn't be getting taken to task by the media.

    Of course then he would have nothing of substance to talk about since he apparently doesn't have solutions for the issues affecting all us non-elitists out in the real world.

    September 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. Mike

    Sounds like Steve-o is like everybody else from W.'s adminstration. Fighting for a McCain admin. job because he'll otherwise be on the streets looking in. Let me guess Steve. If John was president he'd have the editor fired. This sounds borderline immature. Grow up already. And I think Hillary explained her absence herself. Unlike Palin who seems to need her opinions given to her.

    Go – Bama

    September 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Suzanne

    I am so sick of the McCain camp attacking the media as a ploy to distract from their untruthful ads and behavior. The McCain camp seems to think they should not be taken to task in any form by the media otherwise they are in the tank for Obama. You never hear of the McCain camp speaking out against Rush Limbaugh and Fox news because they are firmly for him. McCain needs to run his campaign honestly which has now become a great challenge for him and stop the media blame game

    September 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. R, Brooklyn, NY

    Waaaah! Waaaah! Baby needs bottle!

    September 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Dee G. from CT

    Now hear this all you McCainiacs – We the People are taking back our country!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. JV

    Yet he manages not to deny any of the FACTs in the NYT article, that he has taken $2 million for lobbying against mortgage industry regulation ...

    September 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. enomisa

    The media has lost all credibility after the way they cover for Obama and trash any one who dares to criticize him.

    WHAT has Obama done? What does he propose to do?


    Criticism is Obama's means to an end.

    September 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. tekjannsen76

    Picking a fight with the NY Times now? Is this seriously how they are going to run this campaign? How does this answer questions that are still out there and is Stephen Colbert right about facts having a well known liberal bias? These morons will do anything except answer the very legitamte questions out there. They have nothing to account for the journalistic integrity or lack there of offered by Fox News on their behalf. The sooner these guys are held accountable by all members of the news media the better but that's not going to happen is it. The NY Times is far from perfect but the problems pointed out by the aide from McCain's camp have everything to do with answering questions people want answers to and should receive answers to. This is just another distraction with the hope that folks will lazily agree and forget the important questions that people should be asking when deciding on who should lead your country. The scary thing is that it works on some people.

    September 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Jeff, OR

    Somethimes the truth and reality are biased.......

    September 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Andrea E- Atlanta

    When the New Yorker published the "Satire" of Barack and Michelle in Muslim garb the rethug had no complaints. Now a real newspaper is printing real news and all of a sudden, they have a problem. Get a grip and give the American people a break. Remember McCain said he will not play referree when all the news spilled out about Rev. Wright? Now he wants Senator Obama to play referee with every media outlet that says something negative but true about him and his sidekick, Scoobie doo.

    September 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Christian In Alabama for Obama

    I hope all the news media wakes up to what is happening to this country and moves for the CHANGE WE NEED.

    September 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Sure, the NY Times criticizes McCain and Palin for making lies and misleading statements. I like the false indignation Camp McCain is putting on for size. It doesn't fit very well, does it. Must be why they keep squealing to the media.

    September 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Rob

    why does McCain hate the truth–everyone is listening and watching.
    He is making a fool of himself . The media need to keep going after the truth . If McCain can't take the heat–get the hell out .

    September 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. DM

    Graham was close... He shouldn't have said we're a nation of whiners; he should have said we're a *party* of whiners. McCain has gone from someone I could have supported to someone who makes me nauseaous.

    September 22, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. R.I.F.

    So this guy and his boss, Karl Rove, used lies, smears, and deception to get Bush elected twice and now that some in the media have started to call them on the bs they are now all upset. Try running an honorable campaign.

    September 22, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. LJ in MD

    It seems like many of my republican friends are trying to invoke the "Fairness Doctrine" in their arguments that media should have to play fair and give equal time. A quick check of history shows that the law was revoked by that great great symbol of democracy – Ronald Reagan. It was revoked precisely because a vast majority of media in this country is owned by very wealthy, very conservative old white guys. It worked great too, getting a couple of Bushes "elected". Working well for them still today, with the media afraid of giving John McCain the slapdown he really deserves for being so sleazy and inconsistent. This election would be a blow out for Obama if the doctrine were still in place. Imagine Fox having to give equal time! That would be fun!

    September 22, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Thor

    When they cannot prove their allegations they hide under "lack of leadership" one size fits all blanket.

    September 22, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |


    September 22, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. Eli

    I am a DEMOCRAT and I know this is TRUE, any Democrat that says different is not telling the truth. Just like we knoe FOX is mainly Republican but I dont even think they go as far as some has for Obama this year.

    September 22, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. Danny in Chicago

    The Republican party needs to just die already! You had your time with the Reagon Democrats and you've failed. Democrats need their turn to show they should have been in charge ALL ALONG!!!

    September 22, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    McCain you are a sham of the man you once said you were.

    You are a lying and dishonest man who has resorted to name calling and playing the "don't vote for the colored guy" card. What disgusts me more are the emails and postings your rabid and foaming-at-the-mouth followers put up on the web saying that if HIllary is to have a chance in 2012 its time to vote no on OBama.

    You dunderheads! You clods! You selfish and uncaring slime. To sell the opportunity to change the direction of the Republican agenda as a way of propping Hillary is as low as I have ever seen it. Talk to me about the issues otherwise you have no place seeking the office of most powerful person in the United States. You, Palin, and your thousands of followers may not have a problem with telling the untruth, the whole untruth, and nothing but the untruth.

    My feeling is that if McCain and his bimbo win, the cultural and social shock will pull the American fabric apart indefinitely. America was once the land of the it feels more and more like the home of the depraved.

    September 22, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. bill

    cant stand the truth can you mccain the newyork times is one of the few media org that at least tries to get it right why dont you cry about FIX NEWS do they get right ALL MEDIA AND LISTEN CNN HAVE GOT TO TELL THE TRUTH OR YOU ARE JUST ANOTHER TABLOID WHAT HAPPENED IN TRUTH IN REPORTING SAD

    September 22, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Mommy!

    Obama got more cake than I did! Waaaah!!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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