Hah. So. John McCain's campaign got pissed off at the New York Times for reporting a kinda tenuous connection between McCain campaign manager Rick Davis and Fannie Mae. So strategist Steve Schmidt (pictured), who is increasingly insane and unhinged and so un-Rove-like in his Rovian tactics, held a conference call to attack the Times. "Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today, not by any standard a journalistic organization. It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day attacks the McCain Campaign, attacks Senator McCain, attacks Governor Palin, and excuses Senator Obama," Schmidt sputtered. So, hah, if Politico's Ben Smith's writeup of the call is any indication, this media-attacking will backfire! "But the call was so rife with simple, often inexplicable misstatements of fact," Smith writes, "that it may have had the opposite effect: to deepen the perception, dangerous to McCain, that he and his aides have little regard for factual accuracy" Oh no! They certainly wouldn't want anyone to think they play fast and loose with facts! The lies:
- "His son is a lobbyist for the credit card and banking industry," Schmidt said of Joe Biden. Biden's son Hunter is a lobbyist, and once worked for MBNA, but he has never lobbied for banks or credit card companies.
- "Senator Obama began his political career in its early stages raising money at [William] Ayers' house," he said. Obama had an event there in 1995, but it wasn't a fundraiser, and Ayers never donated to Obama's first campaign.
- "As soon as Gov. Palin was nominated, one of … Obama's chief campaign surrogates, [Florida Rep.] Robert Wexler, went out and accused her of being a Nazi sympathizer," Schmidt said. Well. Leaving aside whether or not Wexler is one of Obama's "top surrogates," all Wexler did was call Pat Buchanan a Nazi sympathizer, and say Palin supported Buchanan in 1996. Which Buchanan, at the time, was claiming she did! (Palin eventually said she endorsed Steve Forbes.)
But here's the troubling thing: the McCain campaign is running against the media, yes, and they're rallying the base, obviously, and it's all working ok for them, but when the media thing becomes all-out war? You can't get "your message" out to the non-party faithful. Instead it's Obama's message, followed by "more allegations today that the John McCain plays hard and fast with THE TRUTH." If they're so great with narratives they know they have to shut down this "McCain campaign is dishonorable" shit fast. This won't help do that:
One McCain aide, Michael Goldfarb, said Politico was "quibbling with ridiculously small details when the basic things are completely right." Another, Brian Rogers, responded more directly: "You are in the tank," he e-mailed.