Sen. John McCain has made fun of his age, pretending to doze off on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" last month. But recent gaffes have some questioning the 71-year-old's fitness. (By Dana Edelson -- Nbc Via Associated Press)
By Howard Kurtz Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, July 23, 2008; Page C01
We interrupt the nonstop coverage of Barack Obama's overseas trip to bring you some breaking whispers about John McCain.
He has been making a series of verbal slips -- invariably described as "gaffes" -- that are starting to ricochet from liberal blogs to the mainstream media. And fairly or not, some critics are suggesting the 71-year-old Republican candidate is showing his age.
McCain referred to the "Iraq-Pakistan border" in a "Good Morning America" interview; since there is no such border, he must have meant Afghanistan-Pakistan. He has twice referred to Czechoslovakia, a country that ceased to exist in 1993; mixed up Sunnis and Shiites; and identified Vladimir Putin as president of Germany.
Aides to the Arizona senator dismiss the missteps as meaningless, noting that their man is far more accessible to journalists than Obama. "When you engage with reporters from 8:30 a.m. till 8 at night, you're bound to make a gaffe," says McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker. "People are yearning for the kind of president who takes tough questions, and that's who John McCain is."
As for the candidate's septuagenarian status, Hazelbaker says: "I'd encourage anyone who has concerns about John McCain's age to join him on the campaign trail. He keeps an exhausting schedule -- often visiting two or three states a day -- answering dozens of questions from voters and the media along the way."
With Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams traveling overseas to interview Obama this week, a debate has erupted over the imbalance in media attention. Last week, says a Project for Excellence in Journalism study of print and electronic coverage, Obama was a significant or dominant factor in 83 percent of election stories, and McCain in 52 percent. The McCain camp yesterday sent out a mocking video compilation of pundits praising the Illinois Democrat, saying: "The media is in love with Barack Obama. If it wasn't so serious, it would be funny."
But there is a counter-narrative, which has taken root on the left, that McCain is the one being treated with journalistic kid gloves. In this view, Obama's every utterance is scrutinized, while McCain, who enjoyed warm relations with reporters during his 2000 White House campaign, pays little price for blunders.
Dan Abrams, the host of MSNBC's "Verdict," told viewers Monday that "gaffe after gaffe after gaffe come from John McCain, and they are forgotten. . . . There is no way Barack Obama would be able to get away with something like this."
Greenwald nailed him a couple months ago as the transparent and unethical stooge that he is:
What Howard Kurtz means by "media scrutiny"
CNN and Washington Post "media critic" Howard Kurtz -- who is a right-wing blogger disguised as a journalist -- has been beating the same drum for weeks and weeks now: the press hasn't been passing along right-wing attacks on Barack Obama with the viciousness and zeal that generally typifies press behavior. Kurtz devotes yet another column today to this theme, and here are some of the examples of anti-Obama "criticism" which Kurtz cites as ones that that the press has unfairly downplayed:
8. "Gaffes" may not matter to many US citizens, but it should be a concern in the global community
MY concern is that our leader has to think, speak, and act in a GLOBAL community, and God only knows what protocol McBomb would violate. His little "gaffes" wouldn't be so cute then, would they? If we have another 4 years after the 8 we've had, I am going to talk to my husband seriously about leaving this country! God, what an embarrassment!
Ok, I'm through with my so no one needs to respond about not letting the door hit me in the ass when I leave the US.
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