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. Jason in SDY

    Oh please. The most blatantly disgusting example of being in the tank for anyone is Fox News and the Republicans. How come nobody puts an end to that disgrace? Please McCain. You make me sick.

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. Unimpressed

    Insert the brainless McKain Klan's comments on how unbiased Fox News is. Ha!

    This is such a joke...

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  3. Kpawlak

    Come on. You all know this is true. I bet if there was a negative New York Times article on Obama there would be outrage in these comments.
    It is like this country is under some strange hypnosis. What a bunch of sheep.

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Julie the Feminist

    Obama is ahead now in the polls because NOW, the National Organization of Women has endorsed Obama/Biden. Because there is no woman on the Democrat ticket. We feel there are too many women in high office already, and anyway, women really are not equipped to be giving orders to anybody other than children at a school or daycare.

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. @ NYC

    The McCain campaign has become a campaign of whiners and copycats. Shame on McCain for selling out so cheaply.

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. arun

    What does Schmidt have to say about the Wall Street Journal and its editorial board that thinks McCain is un-presidential ?

    McCain pumping your fists and stomping your feet may work on the school yard, it does not work on the international stage (as Pres. Bush has found out after eight years of drifting)

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Matt in Pittsburgh

    I am so tired of the He said/He said ads. Lets get on with the debates – see the candidates side by side with no teleprompters, no video editors and no rehearsed speeches. Both campaigns are very guilty of using statistics and parsing/taking out of context what the other has said. ENOUGH!!!!!

    Can either of the candidates simply say what they are going to do without carping about what the other candidate will not do.

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. beevee

    Stop complaining and whining Mr. Schmidt! What are you afraid of in closeting Palin from talking to media and the public. Perhaps the media coverage will be fair once they know how much Palin knows and what she stands for when she talks to them without notes given by some one else.

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. VP - North Carolina

    Bring on the DEBATES...

    September 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Truman

    The big, bad, angry Left is out to get poor, defenseless Senator McCain and his poor, victimized Republican party. The monsters! I'll bet they'd beat up a hobo for fun too. Why can't respectable news institutions like FOX News stand up little old John McCain and sweet little Sarah Palin and stop this Liberal onslaught from NYT and CNN! After all, it's ageism to say anything bad about McCain, and blatantly sexist to criticize Palin's experience. Those Liberal thugs must pay for their backwards thinking and hatred of minorities!

    Note: Sarcasm is lost on so many Americans...

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. PoliticsAdInfinitum

    Funny, When being interviewed by a woman MSNBC anchor, he told her that he knows shes a supporter of Obama yet she has her brother working in McCain's campaign
    Then later the 200 year old man admitted that it was a cheap shot.

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Frank the Tank

    It's too bad for this unfair and unbalanced approach to the election, as a moderate I saw this election as a slam dunk for the Democrats but somehow in the midst of all the "mega" hype, I am convinced the more I see and hear of Obama the less attractive he seems and I now believe the media over-attention is going to hurt more than ever...

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)

    Amen Sue.

    The McCain campaign, seeing that the bloom is off of the Palin rose and that Obama is pulling ahead again is going to try to look like the victims.

    Hey Steve Schmidt–here are some ideas for your campaign: tell the truth, tell us what your candidate is going to do to fix the mess his friends put us in, let Palin come out by herself and be interviewed, and show some humility. How about attacking "fair and balanced" Fox News for kissing up to your guy?

    McCain has nothing. He has been wrong on most issues. All he has is his desperation to be President.

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. environmentally blue

    AGREED! Completely. When I have to fact check a paper like them and I find them lying and hiding truth to favor a candidate, they are nothing but a propaganda paper.

    It started really bad during the Primary. They LIED and took sides against Hillary and improperly attacked her for what Obama himself was doing.

    All studies show, Obama receives the most coverage, incredibly high favorable coverage, as much as 86 percent. compared to 50 percent for others, but still NEW YORK TIMES CONTINUES their lies.

    A recent study showed it was Obama who is running the sleazy lying ad campaign, even as recent as ltwo weeks ago with 77 percent, but what does the NEW YORK TIMES CLAIM?

    We are seeing their preferred puppetry AGAIN, like in 2000 when they pushed Bush.

    Will the American people wise up?

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Yep

    The Obama campaign e-mails it supporters and incites them to agitate for Obama and to spread lies about his opponents.
    As a democrat I am appalled by the tactics employed by Obama throughout this campaign.

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Rick

    All the News That's Fit to Make Up – Jayson Blair

    And the beat goes on.

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Obama is REAL Change

    WHINING AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.....These two McCain/Palin are gifted liars and game trickery of the same old politics McCain has been a part of for the LAST 26 + years in the Senate.

    McCain, Palin and camp are WINERS and DRAMA EVERYDAY!!!!!!.

    Low down, nasty and shameless attack ads for the last few weeks until someone tell the truth or don't say GREAT things about McCain or Palin. STOP WITH THE WHINING AND DRY THOSE TEARS UP.

    BACK TO THE SERIOUS ISSUES.................

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. mollygonz

    Yea, like Fox News isn't in the tank for McCain..give me a break and quit the whining. Schmidt is just mad because they are behind now and everytime they complain, it seems like the media caves in. Hopefully, not this time!

    September 22, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. Doug R.

    I wonder what Schmidt thinks about Fox Lies being a mouthpiece of the GOP and Bush administration?? They are the furthest thing from fair and balanced. Schmidt is a typical McCain whiny cry baby.

    September 22, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. Susan

    Is Shmidt the same guy who gave Bush's second term?

    If yes, then I don't belive him.

    September 22, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. Tam in CO

    It's hard to express outrage about Obama's ads because what he says is true. The republicans just choose not to hear it. I'd like to hear McCain and Palin start talking about how they are going to fix this country instead of making of point of attacking the Democratic ticket

    September 22, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. patriot

    That's right, John: turn on your "base," as you used to call the press. Now that you don't like what they say, they have no journalistic standards. How come you weren't saying things like that at the National Press Club when they were giving you donuts. "Oooh, sprinkles!"

    An independent press is vital to our democracy. Quit trying to shut it down.

    September 22, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. georgia independent

    So, what would the gentleman call Fox? No doubt they are "unbiased coverage".

    Would love to see CNN open up a comment section on Palin and the rape kits... See the front page of CNN.

    September 22, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. David

    Crybabies. I can't recall the Republican's ever whining this much. My God. They're pathetic.

    September 22, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Richard --- Rockingham, NC

    Just drop the drama and vote for Obama !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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