Moose enter; nothing gets out. US News reports:
“In case you’ve missed it, Palin’s meetings with Karzai, Uribe, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were supposed to get pool coverage—one television camera, that network’s TV producer, a print reporter, and a wire reporter would get to see first contact between Palin and these world leaders. The pool would then be ushered out before anything of substance (or more likely of “substance”) transpired. Fairly standard stuff.
But an hour before her first meeting, the campaign announced that the producer and print reporters would be barred.”
“The only time the press has met the Alaska governor is on her first solo flight three weeks ago and it was off the record. We shook hands with Palin and she was quickly ushered back to the front of the plane behind a gray curtain where she has remained for the three and a half weeks she has been a candidate.”
Some reporters got behind the firewall long enough to hear this crucial exchange between our potential Vice President and Afghan President Hamid Karzai:
Palin: What is his name?
Karzai: Mirwais. Mirwais, which means, ‘The Light of the House.’
Palin: Oh nice.
Karzai: He is the only one we have.
(Cheap shot, Hamid.) At this point the reporters were hustled out after a total of 29 seconds. Eventually, the campaign relented and allowed a pool reporter to witness the opening moments of Palin’s discussions with Colombian President Uribe and her erstwhile babysitter Henry the Great. And by “opening moments” I mean literally 15-20 seconds.
You can see why they keep a lid on her. Even Sean Hannity’s extended political advertisement couldn’t make her look good:
Hannity: What is our role as a country as it relates to national security?
Palin: Yes. That’s a great question, and being an optimist I see our role in the world as one of being a force for good, and one of being the leader of the world when it comes to the values that — it seems that just human kind embraces the values that — encompass life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that’s just — not just in America, that is in our world.
And America is in a position because we care for so many people to be able to lead and to be able to have a strong diplomacy and a strong military also at the same time to defend not only our freedoms, but to help these rising smaller democratic countries that are just — you know, they’re putting themselves on the map right now, and they’re going to be looking to America as that leader.
We being used as a force for good is how I see our country.
This is probably sexist, but…
On Sunday, the Washington Post editorial board hit the McCain campaign for their secrecy:
“JOHN McCAIN selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate 23 days ago. Since then, Ms. Palin has not held a single news conference with the national media. She has answered only a handful of questions from voters and reporters. She sat down for a lengthy discussion with one nonpartisan interviewer, ABC’s Charles Gibson, and granted another interview to conservative Sean Hannity of Fox News, as well as a sit-down with People magazine and some interviews with Alaska media.”
It gets better:
“Mr. McCain is entitled to choose the person he thinks would be best for the job. He is not entitled to keep the public from being able to make an informed assessment of that judgment.”
Andrew Sullivan, noting that this is unprecedented in the modern era, sticks the knife in:
“There are only a few weeks to go before the United States may pick a potential president who has never given a press conference as a candidate for national office. This is not a functioning democracy.”
Counterproductive, no? The public wants to see Palin, being understandably suspicious about her qualifications. The McCain campaign, by shielding her, feeds that perception. It also pisses off McCain’s traditional base – the media. McCain subsequently turns around and bites the hand that feeds him. Running against the media kinda works for Republicans, (although Democrats can’t get away with it,) so the strategy isn’t entirely irrational. That said, this isn’t more trouble than it’s worth? What could Palin possibly say that would have a worse impact on the campaign than all / this / understandably / negative / coverage?
***Media blame game update: CAUGHT IN A WEB OF LIES AND DECEIT!
Apropos, McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt blasted the New York Times yesterday for a piece detailing the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack* lobbying history of campaign manager Rick Davis. Davis, in a conference call, claimed that he had not done any lobbying within the past year and a half. Tuesday night, the Empire State strikes back:
“WASHINGTON — One of the giant mortgage companies at the heart of the credit crisis paid $15,000 a month from the end of 2005 through last month to a firm owned by Senator John McCain’s campaign manager, according to two people with direct knowledge of the arrangement.”
I don’t know whether this next part makes it better or worse:
“They said they did not recall Mr. Davis’s doing much substantive work for the company in return for the money, other than speak to a political action committee of high-ranking employees in October 2006 on the approaching midterm Congressional elections. They said Mr. Davis’s firm, Davis & Manafort, had been kept on the payroll because of Mr. Davis’s close ties to Mr. McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, who by 2006 was widely expected to run again for the White House.”
In other words, Davis got paid not for doing anything specific, but simply for being close to John McCain. And now he’s been caught red-handed.
*(I can’t be the only one who hears “Freddie Mac” and thinks…)