Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain's Shifting Cone of Silence

I thought McCain did better than Obama in the twin interviews conducted by Rev. Rick Warren in California Saturday. McCain's answers were crisper, more decisive. I recall saying to my wife that McCain seemed ... better prepared.

Rick Warren assured viewers, twice, that McCain had been kept in "a cone of silence" during Obama's portion of the interview. McCain quipped that he had had his ear to the wall, trying to listen. Since the essence of the two interviews was that they contained the same questions - thus allowing an "apples to apples" comparison, as Rev. Warren noted - McCain's not hearing anything of Obama's interview was somewhat crucial.

Today the New York Times reported that McCain's ear was not against any wall, because McCain was not in a room at all. He was in his motorcade for at least half of Obama's interview. It would have been trivially easy for McCain to have gotten word of any or even many of the Reverend's questions.

There is no proof of this (yet). Republicans are claiming this is all Democratic sour grapes, an attempt to account for McCain's surprisingly superior performance.

At very least, the Rev. Warren owes Americans an explanation. If the "cone of silence" he said McCain was in was metaphorical, that certainly wasn't clear in what Rev. Warren said on Saturday. At very least, McCain in a car, in which cell phones easily could have conveyed the substance Warren's questions to Obama, raises questions.

I'm looking forward, more than ever, to the Presidential debates beginning next month, in which we'll know for a fact that both candidates will be hearing all questions at the same time.

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