October 8th, 2008
03:11 PM ET
9 years ago

New York Times calls McCain campaign 'appalling'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/08/art.nytimes.gi.jpg caption="The New York Times issued a critical assessment of McCain's campaign."](CNN) - The New York Times issued a renewed scolding of John McCain in a sharply-worded editorialWednesday morning, the latest salvo in the ongoing back-and-forth between the paper of record and the Arizona senator's White House bid.

"Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember," the Tuesday editorial said. "They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and distortions of an opponent’s record — into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia. Senator Barack Obama has taken some cheap shots at Mr. McCain, but there is no comparison."

Those comments come two weeks after senior McCain advisors derided the New York Times, calling the news outlet "an Obama advocacy organization" in response to an article in the paper that reported McCain campaign manager Rick Davis was still profiting from failed mortgage giant Freddie Mac.

The Times, McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb said then, “obscures its true intentions — to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama — under the cloak of objective journalism.”

Top McCain adviser Steve Schmidt also weighed in on the paper that endorsed McCain's primary bid, saying it is “150 percent in the tank” for Obama - a statement that drew a defiant response from managing editor Bill Keller, who said the paper is "is committed to covering the candidates fully, fairly and aggressively."

The McCain campaign appeared to make its peace with the paper over the weekend, when aides to the Arizona senator and Palin herself both highlighted a Times story that investigated the relationship between Obama and 1960's radical William Ayers. That article, published October 3, concluded Obama has played down the extent of his relationship with the Weather Underground founder, but concludes the two "do not appear to have been close."

But in its blistering editorial Wednesday, the paper's editors criticized the campaign and the Alaska governor for suggesting Obama is "palling around with terrorists," saying that Palin is implying that "Mr. Obama is right now a close friend of Mr. Ayers — and sympathetic to the violent overthrow of the government."

“We certainly expected better from Mr. McCain, who once showed withering contempt for win-at-any-cost politics," the editorial says.

Earlier: Cindy McCain says Obama running 'dirtiest campaign' ever

soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Olegringo, NM

    Does'nt matter. Being the optimist that I am it's a win/win situation. If McCain wins, I win. If Obama wins I'll have four years of I told you .

    October 8, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  2. Helen Smyth

    i live in CANADA and I/we want to VOTE FOR OBAMA..... !

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Gale

    That other one has my vote. I trust his honesty, character and patriotism.

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. BJGT

    Whatever respect I might have had for Senator McCain in the past, it is gone. I never intended to vote for him, but now I hope he just leaves the national scene. He and his pathetic excuse for a running mate have proven themselves that they are both unqualified to hold the highest two offices in the land.

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Roberta McCain

    "Sidney, when will you pick me up from Shady Brooks Nursing Home? I've been waiting on you and Carol for days now. Come and take me home. Sidney, are you there?"

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. David Stein

    Stop making 'that one' a cutsie joke, I appeal to all Americans. As a Canadian, we would all feel a collective sense of shock at such a comment. Would McCain have called say, John Edwards or Hillary Clinton that one? I highly doubt it. America you have a race problem, when are you going to face up to it??

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. You sure about that?

    what a shock!!!

    one of the most liberal newspapers in the country doesn't like the republican presidential candidate?!?!?!

    i never would have guessed.
    If anything is appalling it is the bias of the New York Times and other liberal biased newspapers.

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. For Obama!!

    Only Because it IS!!

    ROBOT McCain is the Same... is SwiftBoating and Smears and Distasteful ads and Childish behavior.

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. paul from jersey

    The McCain – Palin ticket is probably not going to change tactics this late in the game. Let them keep attacking and distracting and they both will be left behind as the Obama – Biden express steamrolls straight to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

    (got my hotel reserved for Inauguration Day!!!)

    Thank you CNN

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. George in CA.

    If I were Palin and I heard someone in My audience yell "KILL HIM" [Obama], I would have stopped speaking and told that person their behavior was wrong. And just because I'm running against him [Obama] doesn't mean I support nor approve of your behavior. Maybe I would have even told the Secret Service to arrested that person because it's a crime to threaten to kill anyone especially someone running to be President. But again I'm not Palin and Palin lacks the basic human/ American decency.

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Janet American Abroad

    We watched the debate in Toronto, Canada and Senator Obama looks, sounds and acts even more like a President now!

    As all the negative, degrading remarks Senator McCain put out there, just proved to us that Senator McCain is definitely not Presidential material.

    Therefore, Senator Obama is willing, able and definitely ready, not only on day one, but from this time forward!

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. Elle

    Thank you, NY Times, for bringing this some attention. The McCain campaign has truly gone overboard with its distasteful tactics and angry accusations, and it's good to know that, even under pressure from the Republican accusations of being "in the tank", you still continued to report the truth as it stands. This has been a truly ugly campaign from the beginning, and I eagerly look forward to the end of all this negativity. Maybe then we can all look to a sunnier future...

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. tai

    Someone need to call mccainout for his pathetic and desperate campaigns appaling name calling and putting the real issues aside.

    THAT ONE 08 (I like this new trend)

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  14. Republican Base Voting OBAMA

    I am in the tank for THAT ONE AS WELL


    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Nick F.

    McCain has so disappointed me. A year ago I was looking forward to this contest being one of ideas. I have never agreed with most of McCain's positions, but I thought he was honest. I can no longer even give him that. What a rotten campaign from his side. Senator Obama has my respect and my vote.

    October 8, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. TAYO, NY

    The truth is; McCain and Palin will do anything to get elected!

    They have lost all respected for American people.


    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Mike S.

    Ayers has very radical ideals about education. His agenda is anti-american. It was Ayers that was granted the funds for the CAC and Ayers goal was to use the funds to push his anti-american education. It was then Obama as chairman who funneled the funds to the “special” education programs. THE PARTNERSHIP OF FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN COULD NOT HAVE WORKED UNLESS THEY SHARED THE SAME GOAL OF PROMOTING AYERS RADICAL EDUCATION. Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist and Obama was helping run his foundation.
    -"I don't regret setting bombs," Bill Ayers said. "I feel we didn't do enough." (Sept 01)
    -So, would Mr. Ayers do it all again, he is asked? "I don't want to discount the possibility," he said. (Sept 01)

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Tom, KS

    The New York Times.... Still the most trusted name in news! Keep telling it like it is.

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. PA voter

    Thank You, New York Times. Of course McCain's campaign will just say that you're just another "evil liberal media", but that's a given. McCain's campaign is so predictable. McCain thinks he's clever by calling Obama things like "not presidential" when McCain must know that he himself is "not presidential". McCain talked to the American people last night at the 2nd Presidential Debate as if we don't know anything. It was insulting. I've known who Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac are for years, and I'm only 26 years old and don't even own a home yet. McCain "doesn't get it" and is truly "out of touch". Oh, and McCain recently said Obama "doesn't get it". McCain can't even get his own material. McCain is a follower, not a leader. Obama is the best choice to lead us in the 21st Century.

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Frank

    All of the McCainanites should ask themselves one question before dumping on the NYT.

    Would the John McCain of 2000 vote for the John McCain of 2008?

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. THAT ONE!!!!

    That one... is the One I am voting for. That one that McCain doesnt think I KNOW... But McCain I have NEWS for you.... I DO KNOW!!

    We are Smarter than YOU think we are!!

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. jami

    Most people who cannot pay their mortgages is because they bought homes they could not afford. It has little to do with Republicans (or Democrats.) People need to stop living outside of their means!

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. Jon

    How true this statement is...

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Kevin, Austin

    The only thing about the New York Times piece is that they are "surprised."

    McCain's ambition has allowed him to be co-opted by the far right republican machine that brought another ambitious scoundrel to power – G.W.

    I'll admit, McCain never had my vote, but now he doesn't have my respect either (and I'm sure that doesn't bother him one bit. My vote though, I'm sure he'd buy for the price of a soul.)

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Kerry Diehl

    The New York Times is better suited only for the bottom of a bird cage except the bird keeps complaining about it as well.

    kerry diehl

    October 8, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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