September 22nd, 2008
12:20 PM ET
14 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. Jeff In Ohio


    September 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Concerned American

    I could not agree more. McCain/Palin is just a joke. They look like a dirty old man with a trophy wife. But anywho, as Americans we have a responsibility to vote, vote for what we believe in and that's change. Let me put it to you like this, if you love paying high gas prices, paying higher groceries, paying higher healthcare, higher tuitition, then vote McCain/Palin ticket. I for one, do not like/love paying higher for none of the above. Everything has nearly tripled in the last 3 years, come on!!

    September 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. ANGIE

    OH please Anyone who calls palin/mccain and their campaign out on their lies misleading statements is in the tank for obama mccain camp its called keeping them HONEST does the palin/mccain campaign even know what the word HONEST HONESTY MEANS well from what i have seen out of that campaign i dont even think they know how to spell that word let alone know its meaning!

    September 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. Nic

    Talk about crying the Potomac! I'm starting to hear from some Republicans that Factcheck is in the "tank for Obama" too. From what I've read in such sources as the NY Times, Post, CNN, and other so-called "liberal" media, they are just as critical of Obama as with McCain, only McCain continues to defend his lies as actual facts and thus gets more scrutiny from the press (sans Fox News). The problem with them is people no longer need to depend on the MSM. There are enough non-partisan fact-checking sources to substantiate or refute claims made by BOTH parties. And believe me Obama has stretched the truth (ie, SS) but not nearly to the same degree as McCain has. Tucker Bounds is the new Bagdad Bob!

    September 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Bellamy

    Steve Schmidt has no business at all talking negatively about media and smear campaigns... none whatsoever. Steve Schmidt used smear and inuendo quite effectively while working for Karl Rove in 2000 as one of the principal parties involved in asking South Carolinians whether it would change their vote if they knew John McCain had "fathered an African American baby out of wedlock" Remember, that was when John McCain's adopted daughter (from India actually) found out herself about this by searching her own name online because her parents didn't want her to find out about Steve Schmidt's campaign of smear and lies about their family.

    The shocking thing (and the reason why I am not supporting John McCain now like I did in 2000) is that John McCain hired Steve Schmidt and has him on his campaign payroll in a senior capacity this year. How can John McCain sell out his own daughter by hiring and paying the guy who basically called her illegitimate in the national spotlight and dragged the McCain family through the mud? What message does John McCain hiring and paying that guy send to his own daughter?

    We know John McCain will hang his wife out to dry (as he did his 1st wife by playing around and then filing for a marriage license with Cindy while he was still married to his 1st wife) but I never thought he'd sell out his own daughter....If John McCain will sell out his own daughter, who won't he sell out?

    September 22, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  6. Donna from Colorado Springs

    McBush is simply whining again because a major newspaper has the nerve to like what Obama has to say about pulling this country out of the hole the republicans have put us into. Anyone who speaks out against him is unpatriotic and wrong. McBush thinks he's the only qualified person in this race because he's a war hero and has been a senator for 26 years. That just doesn't justify anything! Quit whining, John and accept the fact that you are going to lose this election because YOU are the reason you will lose!

    September 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Steve - St. Louis, MO

    To paraphrase Miss Congeniality, I've got a news flash for Mr. McCain: The NY Times speaks the truth, and the repubs need to stop crying about it. Where were their demands for fairness and accountability during the dark years of Karl Rove and his machine spreading vicious untruths and deceptions during the past two elections??

    Maybe they should just go to Fox if they want news coverage that sympathizes with their position, because the rest of the media is on the side of truth. Why else would they call it mainstream?

    September 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. GERRY

    I will be soooooooooo glad when this election is over with. I cannot
    understand people who know exactly what has happened to our country in the last eight years would even think of putting McCain in the White House. Let alone the moose hunter with him! IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP AMERICA – LOOK AT WHAT'S GOING ON WITH OUR ECONOMY, OUR RELATIONS WITH OTHER COUNTRIES, THE WEALTHIER GETTING RICHER – GIVE ME A BREAK – IT DEFINITELY IS TIME TO WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE OR HELLO TO WORSE TIMES AHEAD...........................WE MUST MAKE MAJOR CHANGES NOW OR REALLY SUFFER DOWN THE ROAD....OBAMA/BIDEN, OBAMA/BIDEN – WILL MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.........NO QUESTION.

    September 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. Dr. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    O LORD, SAY IT AIN'T SO !!!!!



    September 22, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Obama/Biden 08

    Does the McCain campaign even read the New York Times? Or have they just missed the editorials criticizing Obama?

    By the way, the idea of John McCain criticizing another candidate for running a campaign of intimidation makes me laugh.

    September 22, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. carlo

    Forget the temper tantrums from McCain. Is it true or not? The rants tell me that it is.

    September 22, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    Yeah - and FOX News is so objective.

    Get over it, grow up, and stop whining, McCain/Palin. If you can't take the heat [or live with your own misleading ads] then get out of the kitchen.

    Pround old white woman for Obama.

    September 22, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. onedayatatime

    McCain may be upset about the New York Times, but at least the CNN Ticker hasn't selected the most unattractive photo of him to accompany his articles. Unlike the one posted with the advisory that Michelle Obama is campaigning in Wisconsin.

    Come on CNN everyone who has seen her knows that this picture is an outrage. Are you really so into the McCain camp that you would stoop this low.

    September 22, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Sylvia of Florida

    The Founding Fathers must be turning over in their graves at reporters and media organizations. Where are all the good reporters? Where is the other side of the argument? What makes someone an expert, so they can spew their personal opinion on TV and call it unbiased?

    September 22, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Bruce

    McCain and his campaign doing what they do best deflecting..put the sight of the American people on something other than mcCain's inability to have any programs, just attack.
    The NYT is a good target...but you know my mother always used to say that the truth McCain campaign..stop whinning because the trusth and the proof of your lies and deciet is what is hurting honorable...
    Obama was vetted during the primaries, and if I remember correctly the NYT cames out in support of Hillary. All they are doing now is reporting the news , and what is going on...but you McCain and your campaign just do not want to see the truth.

    September 22, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. A Real Feminist

    Press is scewered because in rare moments they favor accuracy over balance?

    How many times can this campaign whine about the press. I didn't hear them skewer the press when Palin's face was plastered over every magazine.

    I'm sorry but it's no contest. McCAin can't keep the facts straight on the economy at the worst economic crisis since since the Great Depression. His entire career he has been for DEregulation, now he's the cheerleader of regulation. Criticizes Obama on taking campaign contributions from Freddie and Fannie, meanwhile he's got the skeleton of the Keating scandal falling out of his closet.

    In interviews he and his VP have talked of getting us embroiled in wars on four different fronts–I mean, c'mon, the world is not our playground to run like some schoolyard bully. Judgement lacks intelligence.

    His campaign slogan is Country First but he chooses someone who is unfit to run the country as his no. 2.

    Goes too far in his attack ads that he would tie his opponent, a father, of being some type of pervert that wants to teach kids sex.

    I mean at this point NOT criticizing these BAD decisions would be favoritism for McCain, which I'm sure he would have no problem with.

    September 22, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. BJ in NC

    Enough of the Lies, lies, and more lies. As long as the real issues were being ignored and reporting was in McCains favor, then the paper was OK. The lies have run it's course. America is no longer interested in being entertained with the antics of the McCain/Palin ticket. Real issues need to be addressed and that ticket does not know how to target the voter where they are except with mud.ies, and slander. Unfrotunately for the McCain/Palin ticket it would not know the truth if it bit them on the nose.

    September 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. S. Boatman

    Mccain Doesnt Like The Truth Being Told About Himself And Palin! He Lies About Everyone And Them Expects Everyone To Praise Him! . . . . He You Keep Lying About Others Them They Will Tell The Truth About You Mccain! The Truth Is More Damaging Than Lies!

    September 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Jessica

    I agree. The NY Times has lost their position as a nonpartisan newspaper of record. Putin doesn't get the favorable coverage from his newspapers the way Obama does...and he controls them! CNN is beginning to be just as bad...if you don't believe me, look at the current headlines on their home page. There is no excuse for the media's failure to properly vet Biden's credit card and banking ties as well as Obama's ties to shady Chicago politics. The double-standard that is applied to McCain's misleading ads vs. Obama's misleading ads is deplorable. The "Rush Limbaugh Immigration Ad" is single-handedly the most underhanded lie this entire election year.

    September 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. Bob Texas

    It's getting pretty hot in the kitchen. I don't see Mr. McCain complaining about the bias from Fox News!!!

    September 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. Mark Kahle

    Yeah and what does McCain call FOX NEWS???? They are 150% in the tank for John McCain!.

    you have to still realize the newspapers have their alliances, hence the reasons for the endorsements from newspapers..

    in my home town The Tribune has backed on candidate and the Sun Times backed the other...

    its a fact of life John, get over it..

    September 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Independent

    Can anyone recall the Obama campaign (and not supporters, but his campaign)ever calling an attack from the media unfair? I am not sure anymore...does any one remember?

    September 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Morals and Values for sale!

    For someone who is this tough and strong war hero.... His camp sure does pout and whine quite a bit. How are you going to be tough over seas, when you pout and cry at home.

    It would be different if it WAS NOT THE TRUTH. If the Aide got 2 million over 5 years, then it's fair game to talk about it. If it was Obama's 10 feet of extra yard space he got, It's GROUNDBREAKING.

    McCain is a joke.

    September 22, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. Ian Minneapolis, MN

    Hmmm, no vetting process eh? kind of sounds familiar. Listen, I'm pretty sure every media outlet (including NY Times) is biased. That bias isn't for dems or repubs, that bias is for RATINGSSSS. All the media cares about is ratings and money. Who ever has the most drama swirling around them (PALIN) is going to get the most coverage and EVERYONE knows that.

    September 22, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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