Patterico's Pontifications


First Draft of Ben Smith’s Piece on Today’s Conference Call

Filed under: 2008 Election,General,Humor — Patterico @ 6:13 pm

Today, outside a Starbucks in Arlington, Virginia, I found the first draft of Ben Smith’s piece about today’s conference call with Steve Schmidt and other McCain aides:

McCain camp criticism rife with errors

Sen. John McCain’s top campaign aides convened a conference call today to complain of being called “liars.” They pressed the media to scrutinize specific elements of Sen. Barack Obama’s record.

But the call was so rife with simple, often inexplicable misstatements of fact that it may have had the opposite effect: to deepen the perception, dangerous to McCain, that he and his aides have little regard for factual accuracy.

The errors in McCain strategist Steve Schmidt’s charges against Obama and Sen. Joe Biden were particularly notable because they were trivial compared to the charges leveled at Obama. Neverthless, this post will concentrate on the trivial errors made by McCain’s staff, and gloss over the truth of the charges against Obama.

“Any time the Obama campaign is criticized at any level, the critics are immediately derided as liars,” Schmidt told reporters. Indeed: because they are.

Proving my point, Schmidt went on to list a series of stories he thought reporters should be writing about Obama and Biden. In almost every instance, he got the details wrong.

Schmidt criticized the press for the relatively sparse coverage of the fact that the Obama campaign accused John McCain of personally planning the September 11, 2001 attacks on America.

“He actually told a group of people at a fundraiser in San Francisco that McCain planned, not only the initial attack on the South Tower, but also the second attack on the North Tower,” Schmidt said.

But Schmidt reversed the order of the attacks. In fact, the attack on the North Tower took place first, and Obama’s accusation accurately stated the order of the attacks, unlike Schmidt’s misstatement today.

“Steve Schmidt lied — or just got it flat wrong,” said Obama spokesman David Wade. “Apparently he has no idea which tower his boss ordered destroyed first.”

Schmidt attacked Obama for his ties to Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, who killed three people and injured almost two dozen others in numerous bombings carried out between 1978 and 1995.

“What we know for sure, and is beyond debate and argumentation is this: Senator Obama said that he admired Kaczynski, and wished he’d killed more than just three people. There is a videotape showing him smoking crack cocaine and saying this to numerous friends, and the media won’t report it. It’s the biggest political story of the past 100 years, and you guys treat it like it never happened,” Schmidt said.

Obama did express agreement with Kaczynski’s methods and goals, but on that videotape he is clearly seen injecting himself with a mixture of heroin and cocaine, not smoking crack as claimed by Schmidt.

Schmidt also complained of Obama backers’ attacks on McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“As soon as Gov. Palin was nominated, one of … Obama’s chief campaign surrogates, David Axelrod, went out and accused her of being a ‘hick prostitute who has no business outside the kitchen,’” Schmidt said. “Where is the outrage to that aspersion on the part of some of the biggest newspapers in the country?”

But Axelrod didn’t call Palin a “prostitute.” He called her a “whore,” and called Cindy McCain a “prostitute.”

“John McCain’s decision to select a vice presidential running mate who is a hick whore who has no business outside the kitchen is a direct affront to all women, especially prostitutes, like McCain’s own wife Cindy,” Axelrod said.

(Axelrod was apparently wrong: Though numerous pundits from online magazines like the Atlantic have claimed that Palin and McCain are prostitutes, supporters say their promiscuous sexual habits do not have a financial component, and no evidence has emerged to the contrary.)

Asked about the series of errors, McCain aides could not provide evidence to back up Schmidt’s assertions.

One McCain aide, Michael Goldfarb, said Politico was “quibbling with ridiculously small details when the basic things are completely right.”

Another, Brian Rogers, responded more directly:

“You are in the tank,” he e-mailed.

What a tool.

As you can see, it wasn’t edited much before publication.

19 Responses to “First Draft of Ben Smith’s Piece on Today’s Conference Call”

  1. You can locate MSM and major blog figures on this handy chart.

    Dan Collins (4dc2da)

  2. As a long time reader of the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time, Newsweek and Mother Jones;
    What is your point?
    That is the most accurate recounting of the events of the day we have seen.
    Keep up the good work, and please do something about your exagerated Obama-phobia.

    Another Drew (1e1c13)

  3. I imagine that something like this is the point, Another Drew.

    Dan Collins (4dc2da)

  4. Glad you did it, Pat. I was thinking of trying it myself, and now I don’t need to. And you did a better job, too.

    Attila (Pillage Idiot) (88e3e3)

  5. I think you guys should run with this.

    It’s about as truthful as the other nonsense and 30% will believe it.

    Just too bad for you that 80% won’t.

    jharp (f4bed7)

  6. That’s progressive math for you.

    Dan Collins (4dc2da)

  7. Glad you saved me the trouble of taking a poke at Ben Smith, who might want to go back and read a story that ran in the Politico: “Obama’s secret weapon: The media.”

    The occasion for that story was the PA primary debate, at which Obama said that Bill Ayers was “just a guy who lived in his neighborhood.” Ben Smith knows that was a lie, but if he cares, he’s never bothered to show it in his reporting.

    Karl (1b4668)

  8. He was attempting to maintain a certain appearance of objectivity until the past couple of weeks, Karl.

    Dan Collins (4dc2da)

  9. The unrepentant terrorist in the room was a dead giveaway that he was faking it, Dan.

    Karl (1b4668)

  10. Nice job, Patterico.

    Beldar (208538)

  11. I’m about to unsubscribe from the Politico feed that I get every day. I’ve been waiting for the balance but it toppled over the other day.

    One more Obamabot.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  12. It’s about as truthful as the other nonsense and 30% will believe it.

    Just too bad for you that 80% won’t.

    No comment…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  13. But always remember – Harpy’s an internationally successful businessman, who inexplicably and suddenly disappears for endless rounds of golf when things get difficult for him. Like right about now…

    Dmac (e639cc)

  14. It must be the casualness of his golf game that made him such an expert on trees. And, of course, he gets a lot of fishing practice at the water hazards.

    Another Drew (1e1c13)

  15. But Axelrod didn’t call Palin a “prostitute.” He called her a “whore…” ”

    This memo seems dubious, because undisclosed sources close to the Obama campaign state that Axelrod refers to Sarah Palin as the “ignorant whore”, not just “a whore.”

    Perfect Sense (9d1b08)

  16. Harpy:

    It’s about as truthful as the other nonsense and 30% will believe it.

    Just too bad for you that 80% won’t.

    Yeah, but what with the electrical college and all, the real question is how will those 110% be distributed across the country? What if our 30% covers 29 sparsely-populated states and your 80% is limited to the other 28? Betcha didn’t think of that, did you? Hmmmm??

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  17. What if our 30% covers 29 sparsely-populated states and your 80% is limited to the other 28?


    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  18. I had much the same feeling as did you Patterico when reading Ben Smith’s piece. What struck me most, and I was delighted to see you also pick up on it, was Smith’s parenthetical inclusion.

    (Wexler was apparently wrong: Though Buchanan claimed that Palin had supported him, she said she backed Steve Forbes in 1996 and 2000, and no evidence has emerged to the contrary.)

    Whereas the McCain campaign is lying, or exaggerating, Wexler is just apparently wrong. Fear not, for Ben Smith, definitely not in the tank for Obama, will find the innuendo rumor provably false astroturfing evidence to the contrary to bury the McCain/Palin ticket.

    After all, how can you be in the tank for someone when you are so busy carrying the water to fill the tank?

    bains (bb66e8)

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