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. Mason

    Talk about a campaign of whiners.

    September 22, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Matt

    Yes! Keep making enemies of the truth-sayers you dirty Republican lie machine!!!!

    Now, if someone would finally report on what should be obvious to all: that McCain's entire campaign is founded on appearing to be offering to do everything Obama is promising in order to play up the Bradley Effect. You want racism? There it is. McCain: "You don't have to vote for a black guy to get change and reform cuz I'm a white guy and I'm pretending to promise the same thing!"

    September 22, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. Maureen / Calif.

    Steve mad at the N.Y. Times, Tucker mad at Campbell, Cindy mad at Barbara and the View, John mad at Carly, John mad at CNN and Larry King, Palin mad at any journalist asking questions, Not to mention Palin mad at former brother in law. Shut up all of you and start running an ethical campaign.

    September 22, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Kaye- Jacksonville FL

    Is everyone as sick and tired of their griping as I am?? Grow up boys...the media game is a level playing field. Where is your indignation over the bias at Fox News?? Oh, their reporting is balanced and fair, you say??

    Give me a break...stop your whining and let's here about McCain's "trickle down" economics plan crafted by Phil Gramm or his "stay until I say so" strategy in Iraq....

    This campaign is disgusting...

    September 22, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. Ex GOPer

    More of the same. McCain screams bloody murder and directly attacks Obama or the media and the guess what. They say it's Obama who is implementing these vile and dishonest tactics.

    McCain being president is tough quit whining about everything that doesn't go your way. The press pretty much is like our society. At times they are great and at times they really suck. All studies show more negative and critical coverage has been given to Obama. Still these claims of unfairness come from your camp.

    Who release a non sensical ad today attacking Obama's character. What did he do in response. Attacked you on the issues. You could learn something from watching Obama.

    P.S. If you don't want newspapers covering your campaign manager making 30k a month lobbying to deregulate Fannie May and Freddie Mac then don't hire him.

    September 22, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Steven McCarthy

    What do you do when your campaign is tanking? Blame the media. McCain needs to get a grip. When you get called out for ads that are completely untrue, be prepared to be called out. When you can not win an election based on your own merrits then that is when you attack the media and the elites and college educated. This is a sign of desperation.

    September 22, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Rich

    This is more of the same old lies and deception and bullying from McCain. Oh, I'm sorry I mean McSame–if you read the Washington Post today you will learn that just about all of McCain's staff worked for the current Bush Administration. As we all know, campaign workers and staff have a way of becoming the President's staff.

    So, if McCain gets elected, who will be running things? If you guessed all of the same people as the current Bush Administration you guessed right.

    September 22, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    Sorry Bush advisors..........

    fool me once, shame on.........shame on you......fool can't fool me again.

    The days of fear mongering and blaming everybody besides yourself are over!!!

    Blame all the newspapers, media outlets, and other agencies of being on Obama's side........

    It's called freedom of the know, FREEDOM. The thing the Bush Administration is trying to slowly suck away from the people.

    September 22, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Stephen

    Give it up Schmidt. The criticism of McCain and Palin is based on obvious and verifiable FACTS. The Republican attacks, on the other hand, are full of innuendo and outright lies. McCain and Palin have been reduced – by honest reporting and a strong, fact-based Democratic response – to desperate measures. We saw it in 2000 and 2004.. Get this Schmidt: NEVER AGAIN. From the court house to the state house to the white house; on November 4th, VOTE DEMOCRAT.

    September 22, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Matt in IA

    Seems like the NYT hit the TRUTH nerve. LOL.

    September 22, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Accountability

    How many times has the McSame Campaign been forced to "step back" from outrageous comments only aftert the damage inflicted is complete? Shameful.

    It is rich to hear Schmidt...a Bush crusader, complain about one way journalism...maybe he's never read the National Review, Wll Street Journal, listened to Limbaugh or watched Fixed News.

    The vultures are coming home to roost

    September 22, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. Jeff Brown

    Guess what... The Times may be in the "tank" for Obama, but Fox "news" is in the OCEAN for McCain!

    September 22, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  13. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    More whining from the Repubs! Between the complaining in general and the secrets held now by and about Palin, all they have left is to report those reporting their poor campaigning and misdeeds.
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. bij

    Schmidt is the one trying to intimidate the media everytime they call out you expect them not to do thier job? CNN and NY Times are the two most credible sources out there and if they don't expose the truth, then who will?!!

    September 22, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. lori

    the problem is the repuplicans say what they want, then the truth comes out and they back away. if they act like dogs they will be treated like dogs. i used to like mccain and think it wouldn't be so bad if he won, wasn't even planning on voting. but i think his campaign's tactics and thus the reflection on him, are so disrespectful and lacking in integrity that now i am so fervently in support of obama that i am commenting on cnn!

    September 22, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. JC

    It seems despite the current economic crisis that some Roving spokespersons think it's time to get back to the gutter with hyperventiating accusations and diversions. "It's the economy again, stupid."

    September 22, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Jeremy

    Lies, lies and more lies from none other than John McCain.

    September 22, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Angela

    This has become a well known tactic of the McCain campaign. They have been trying to portray themselves as the victim of everything that is thrown at them. This is NOT going to work anymore!!!

    Steve Schmidt, who used to work with Karl Rove has made sure that he uses every chapter of the Karl Rove playbook.

    September 22, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. OHIO for Obama/Biden

    When whaever you have supported for 26 yrs do not matter anymore now, or the outrage of pressure on Hillary with the acclaimed "evidence" that is no more viable..what do u expect from a reputable ornazation back off from the lies you keep spreading
    Obama/ Biden 08

    September 22, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. H. Charles

    Here's a tissue. Now grow up and advise your nominee to run a better campaign.

    September 22, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Clinton Supporter

    Aren't we delicate flowers these days!

    September 22, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. No kidding

    This is news, no kidding? What's next, MSNBC's also in the tank?

    September 22, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Peggy - TX

    I am shocked! Shocked that McCain constrained himself from calling the New York Times unpatriotic!!! After all how dare a news paper publish any thing negative about his relatively unknown, unfettered running mate. The idea that new papers should be allowed to conduct research and publish those results just simply interferes with the Republican style politics of first call your opponent ever criticism that can be honestly levied against you to where the undecided voter is kept confused, then lie, lie, lie some more and if that does not work tell even bigger, bolder lies.

    September 22, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Tom

    Nice try, Desperado!

    September 22, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. TyWebb

    Palin's destroying herself...forget the media.

    September 22, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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