Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke to the annual meeting of the Associated Press. During his opening remarks, McCain repeatedly criticized the press, going so far as to say he sympathized with the White House’s swift-boating of The New York Times for publishing a 2006 story about the Bush administration’s spying program. Some highlights from McCain:
On reporters’ questions: “I confess also that on occasion, perhaps many occasions, I have felt reporters’ questions, their redundancy and sometimes adversarial quality, were intended more at producing candidate fatigue and, consequently, mistakes than the enlightenment of your readers.”
On overzealous scoops: “To be very candid, but with no wish to offend you, I must confess there have been times when I worry that the press’ interest in getting a scoop occasionally conflicts with other important priorities, even the first concern of every American — the security of our nation.”
On The New York Times: “I think the New York Times’ decision to disclose surveillance programs to monitor the conversations of people who wish to do us harm came too close to crossing that line. And I understand completely why the government charged with defending our security would want to discourage that from happening and hold the people who disclosed that damaging information accountable for their action.”
Even these criticisms couldn’t dampen the media’s enthusiasm for McCain. Immediately after his speech, the moderator brought out McCain’s “favorite treat” — Dunkin Donuts with sprinkles and “a little coffee with a little cream and a little sugar.” The moderator then laughingly added, “I think we’re set for the hard questions.” Watch highlights from McCain’s speech, followed by the presentation of donuts:
Even though McCain continues to bash the press, he recognizes that he needs to make goodwill gestures to stay on their good side. In May, he hosted a “thank you” cookout for them at his vacation home in Arizona.
In September, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews fittingly observed, “The press loves McCain. We’re his base.”