During a campaign rally in New Mexico today, Sen. John McCain attacked Barack Obama for taking a “victory lap” by claiming Obama has “already written” an inaugural address:
MCCAIN: You know what? We just learned from a newspaper today that Senator Obama’s inaugural address is already written.
You know? I’m not making it up, I’m not making it up. An awful lot of voters are still undecided but he’s decided for them that, well, why wait? It’s time to move forward with his first inaugural address. My friends, when I pull this thing off, I have a request for my opponent. I want him to save that manuscript of his inaugural address and donate it to the Smithsonian so they can put it right next to the Chicago paper that said, “Dewey defeats Truman.”
There’s ten days left in this election. Maybe Barack Obama will even have his first State of the Union address before you head to the polls.
As ThinkProgress noted earlier today, that false claim first originated from a New York Times story that claimed Center for American Progress President and CEO John Podesta has written an inaugural address “for Mr. Obama.” It’s not true. “Asked if there is any truth to the report, an Obama aide said: ‘No,’” according to Politico’s Mike Allen.
FireDogLake’s Marcy Wheeler offers a sarcastic take on the NYT story here.
,Yglesias calls on the media to challenge McCain: “If when candidates launched false attacks, news organizations reported the falseness of the attacks in a straightforward manner, then they might not be so eager to launch them.”
,John Podesta issued this statement tonight:
While I appreciate Senator McCain’s plug for my book, the Power of Progress, his charge is a complete fabrication. He bases this claim on a New York Times story which distorted and confused a chapter I wrote last spring, for a book that was published this summer, with work I am doing this fall on behalf of Senator Obama.
The inaugural address in the “Power of Progress” was a literary device I used to sum up the arguments in the book. It was completed well in advance of my work for Senator Obama and has nothing to do with the Obama campaign or pre-transiton. No one involved in pre-transition work has written one word of any address inaugural or otherwise.
,The LA Times blog correctly labels the article an “erroneous New York Times story.”
,Kudos to the NYT Caucus blog for boldly fact-checking its own journalists. “At the time the book was published, however, Mr. Podesta, originally a supporter of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, had not been asked by Mr. Obama to work on transition issues, and the Democratic convention had not yet chosen Mr. Obama as the party’s nominee.”