McCain responds: ‘I have confidence that Gwen Ifill will do a professional job.’

Today, Fox News’s Carl Cameron asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) if he still supports having PBS’s Gwen Ifill moderate Thursday’s vice presidential debate, in light of the fact that she is writing a book called “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.” McCain said that he retains full confidence in her ability to be objective:

I think that Gwen Ifill is a professional and I think she will do a totally objective job, because she is a highly respected professional. Does this help that if she has written a book that’s favorable to Sen. Obama? Probably not. But I have confidence that Gwen Ifill will do a professional job.

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The McCain campaign has said it was unaware of Ifill’s book before agreeing to the debate moderators on Aug. 6. However, as Judd Legum points out, the AP had reported on the book two weeks earlier.

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This evening on conservative talker Sean Hannity’s radio show, Palin herself commented on the issue:

Ahh, you know I’m not going to let it be a concern. Let me just tell you that John McCain has been in an underdog position before. And this ticket, I think we can safely say, is in an underdog position. But that just makes us work harder. It makes us want to communicate in clearer and more profoundly with the electorate. Letting them know what the contrasts are between these two tickets. It’s motivating to me to even hear Gwen’s comments there because, again, that will make us work that much harder and that provides even more fairness and objectivity and choices to the voters if we try that much harder.