In a press gaggle this morning, the White House weighed into the New York Times’s explosive story on Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) ethics troubles and firmly sided with the senator. White House deputy press secretary Scott Stanzel told reporters:
I think a lot of people here in this building, with experience in a couple campaigns, have grown accustomed to the fact that during the course of the campaign, seemingly on maybe a monthly basis leading up to the convention and maybe a weekly basis after that, the New York Times does try to drop a bombshell on the Republican nominee.
And that is something that the Republican nominee has faced in the past and probably will face in this campaign. … And sometimes they make incredible leaps to try to drop those bombshells on the Republican nominee. […]
I’m not going to speak to the specifics in that story but it’s been our impression that they do drop those bombshells.
To this point, the White House had not yet spoken out about the New York Times article. In fact, officials have even been reluctant to comment on the presidential election, consistently dodging questions about specific candidates. Yet the Bush administration apparently couldn’t pass up an opportunity to attack The New York Times.
In the past, White House officials have been “furious” with the paper’s reporting, pressured the editors to change headlines, accused them of “advertising” U.S. nuclear secrets, and said the paper undermines people’s “right to live.”