September 23rd, 2008
02:45 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain camp tries to keep reporters out of Palin meetings

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The media was allowed to observe Palin and Karzai for less than 30 seconds."](CNN) - McCain-Palin campaign officials shifted course Tuesday after being informed by television news organizations that they would not broadcast footage of Sarah Palin’s meeting with Afghan leader Hamid Karzai Tuesday in New York - the Republican VP nominee’s first with a foreign leader - if a reporter was not allowed in to observe the pair.

CNN, which was the pool network for the event, informed the campaign of its decision. The network was then told a CNN producer would be allowed in the room to act as a media representative, just minutes before the photo op was scheduled to take place. However, print reporters and wire services were not allowed to observe the meeting, as they have been able to do at similar McCain events in the past.

The press only caught a brief glimpse of the vice presidential nominee. Palin was seated in a large chair a few feet from Karzai, with a table in between them. Seated slightly behind Palin were campaign foreign policy advisers Steve Biegun and Randy Scheunemann, who are accompanying the governor in her motorcade today.

As the pool entered, the Afghan president appeared to be telling Palin about his young son, who was born in January 2007.

Palin, her legs crossed and at one point patting her heart, was leaning in eagerly and smiling. Karzai, wearing his traditional clothes but without his trademark karakul hat, was also grinning while discussing the child. His remarks were mostly unintelligible as the noise from the clicking cameras drowned them out.

“What is his name?,” Palin asked.

“Mirwais,” Karzai responded. “Mirwais, which means, ‘The Light of the House.’”

“Oh nice,” Palin responded.

“He is the only one we have,” remarked Karzai.

After 29 seconds observing the meeting, CNN and other photographers covering the meeting were escorted out of the room.

Later, McCain-Palin press representatives chalked up the restrictions to a “mix-up, a miscommunication among staff.” The full pool — a print and wires reporter, along with a television producer — was then allowed in to observe Palin’s meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for 15-20 seconds.

Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (261 Responses)
  1. Jim

    The CNN producer was allowed to observed the Palin-Hamid meeting for only 29 seconds!! Then the full media pool was allowed to observe the Palin-Uribe meeting for 15-20 seconds!!

    What kind of a democracy do we live in? Our political candidates – especially a governor unknown to most people – have a moral obligation to voters to let us observe, listen to their answers and watch as they perform activities such as meeting key foreign leaders. Shame on the Republican party for denying one of our most precious liberties – freedom of the press!

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Heather

    How flippin stupid does the McCain camp think the american people are....this is a joke and for the sake of their own party the republicans need to stand up and demand john to replace her on the ticket. He is making a mockery out of the whole party and the longer she avoids the press the better for democrats it is. As I predicted yesterday...the conversation would not amount to anything other than families.

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Isabel

    These are serious times and if she is to be V.P. she needs to develop some good relationships with these people without worrying about a bunch of people scrutinizing her every move. This is not a game, though the media treats it as such. This is the future of our country and any prospective candidate, Republican or Democrat, who meets with world leaders should focus on the meeting and not a photo op.

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. kaeb

    man what a fake this is supposed to make appear to have foreign policy experience now. what a joke [palin] and she won't even take questions from the media. reminds me of g w bush ,when he ran. they kept him away from the tuff angles of the run for prez.

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Karen B in Houston

    Are we to believe that after she meets and has 20 minute meetings with three or four foreign leaders and Bono she's going to have foreign policy experience. WOW!

    How gullible or dumb do Republicans think the American people are!

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. James

    God Forbid the evil media to ask questions to a completely incompetent woman who has no business as a VP candidate. This woman is a joke and speed meeting of a few of the world leaders does not give her any foreign policy credentials.

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. Andrea

    Are they afraid that Americans might think Palin's not ready to lead??? Too late, we already think that.

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Matt

    DISGUSTING. Smoke and mirrors, hiding the ball. WHERE'S THE TRANSPARENCY??? LIARS AND CHEATS.

    And on a side note, I'm convinced at this point that the McCain campaign has outsourced their hired bloggers from India. lol 🙂

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. PUT the wall street CRIMINALS IN PRISON!




    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. holly

    Why isn't this the lead story on every news oulet in the country. Palin is running for VP of the United States of America and she won't answer questions from the media!!! She hides from them. McCain keeps telling eveyone that Palin is absolutely qualified to be president but we just have to take his word for it as she's not allowed to answer questions from the media. Who is voting for these people?

    September 23, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Casey, Minneapolis, MN

    I don't understand why more people aren't offended and outraged at what the McCain-Palin camp is trying to do. It's insulting to anyone's intelligence. It's truly frightening that this race is as close as it is.

    I don't understand.

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. eric

    This was no miscommunication. When dealing with something as important to the campaign as this, no one would have screwed anything up. Considering they were only planning on allowing this amount of coverage, talking about Karsai's youngest kid was the best topic they could cover? That was the dialogue the campaign wanted to get out? That was the most important topic of their conversation? Repubs, your VP pick is pathetic and has no business being anywhere near the White House.

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. go away mongers-Ventura ca

    I just bet they're trying to keep the journalists out! The republican ticket is a very bad joke.
    Eight is more than Enough!

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. FedUp w/Libs

    Why did Obama's Foreign Policy 101 trip not get this type of scrutiny? Everyone is talking about Palin's inexperience, and rightfully so, but why can't each candidate be held to the same standard? You all jump all over Palin, but Obama is the most inexperienced person to ever run for President. What a joke!

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. Cheri

    I see she still refuses to talk to the press. Why are we not surprised!!

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Independent 4 Obama

    I want to see the meeting with Bono.
    I am enjoying this too much!
    And to all that post Palin 2012/2016 make laugh, yet it frightens me that there are people in this country that are really that stupid. Maybe you can go back to grade school and get a do-over because somewhere, somehow your education has been flawed!

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Gina

    Reporters were escorted out? I thought this meeting was supposed to show the American public how well informed Palin was in Foreign Policy. The reporters surely didn't miss much, afterall, this meeting was WELL SCRIPTED AND STAGED.

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Scott

    They are afraid that Palin will be asked something and look like the idiot that she is.

    The same reason why she hasn't had a press conference since becoming the veep pick, or done any of the morning talk shows.

    Always ask yourself, if they don't want you to hear her, how good can she be????

    And only a heartbeat away from leading the free world. Scary.

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  19. tired

    I have some children can I join in the conversation. Give me a break this tells me nothing. I'm getting tired of the McCain camp playing games. We need to know what she brings to the table. Give us substance.

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Hey Accountant Guy. This is no different than the super-hyped rock tour Obama took to Europe. If Palin knows nothing about foreign affairs, neither does Obama; and he's the top of the ticket. How many foreign leaders did Obama meet with prior to announcing for Pres.? I bet none!

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. Can'tabideidiots

    Reports have it that Karzai asked Palin if she had been to Afghanistan and her reply was "We can see it from Alaska, and we really like the poppies you grow!"

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. American Idol contestants are better !

    This is ridiculous! What is this .. a choreographed dance number ? If you want to show your foreign affairs credentials then do it without hiding behind the veil of advisors. If you think you can be our VP then prove it by showing confidence and leadership in meeting with these heads of state unscripted solely on your on knowledge of foreign affairs.
    This looks like a sloppy circus to me.
    I can’t believe they are (GOP) preparing to run the most powerful nuclear power based on a stage show!!!
    No one is buying it McCain!
    Be true to yourself and show some character!

    September 23, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  23. Ken in Dallas

    This says they McCain campaign is really, really scared of what Palin might do in front of these foreign personages. They're obviously not worried about the potential to offend the foreign leaders, they just hate the idea of being caught on camera offending foreign leaders.

    September 23, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Marianne Smith

    That is long enough for a Photo-op because she did not have anything more substantial to discuss beyond that.

    September 23, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. And I'm gonna guess.....

    ....that the rest of the conversation was equally deep and issue-oriented.

    September 23, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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