Harwood: McCain ‘Has Benefited From Very Friendly Press Coverage For Many Years’

During a discussion of the possible presidential general election match-up between Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) on Meet the Press this morning, John Harwood — CNBC correspondent and New York Times political writer — said that the McCain campaign is already “trying to work the referees in advance” to argue that Obama gets more favorable media coverage than McCain.

But Harwood noted that some would find McCain’s strategy “ironic” because the press — whom according to Harwood were McCain’s “base” in 2000 — have been “very friendly” to McCain over the years:

HARWOOD: Now John McCain has benefited from very friendly press coverage for many years, but he’s going to try to argue, which will have a corollary benefit of rally conservatives if he can pull it off, of saying the press wants Obama to win. I’m pushing back…

RUSSERT: In 2000, John McCain referred to the press as his base.

HARWOOD: They were his base.

Watch it:

Indeed, the press have been “very friendly” to McCain, who has even reciprocated with kind gestures of his own. After hosting a barbecue last March for reporters covering his campaign, one attendee from the AP wrote an article shortly thereafter calling McCain a “man of the people” for taking a high-speed train despite noting he rode first class.

But as a number of high profile political reporters have noted, someday the media will scrutinize McCain, they’re just not sure when.