McCain Campaign Insinuates Bias by Moderator of VP Debate

Oct 1, 2008 8:54pm

As covered over at our Political Radar Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Fox News’ Carl Cameron on Wednesday that Ifill "will do a totally objective job because she is a highly respected professional."

But he added, as is his new media-bashing wont, "Does this help that she has written a book that is favorable to Sen. Obama? Probably not."

It was unclear how McCain definitively knew that the book, which is still being written, "is favorable to Sen. Obama."

Ifill said today in an interview with the Associated Press, that Obama’s story will be only a small part of the book, which is focused on how politics in the African-American community have changed. Other black public figures, including Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) will be profiled as well.

She has yet to write the chapter on Obama, Ifill said, and she wondered why anyone would assume the book will be favorable to Obama.

"Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon when he wrote his book about Reagan?" asked Ifill, host of PBS’ "Washington Week" and senior correspondent on "The NewsHour."

Asked by AP’s David Bauder is she thought there were racial motives at play, Ifill said, "I don’t know what it is. I find it curious."

"I’ve got a pretty long track record covering politics and news," she said. "so I’m not particularly worried that one-day blog chatter is going to destroy my reputation. The proof is in the pudding. They can watch the debate tomorrow night and make their own decisions about whether or not I’ve done my job."

Others in the McCain-Palin nexus sowed seeds of doubt about Ifill.

Asked by Sean Hannity if she was worried about Ifill, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said, "I am not going to let it be a concern," adding "that just makes us work harder. It makes us want to communicate even clearer and more profoundly with the electorate, letting them know what the contrasts are between these two tickets."

In addition, on a conference call set up by the McCain-Palin campaign, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani — while calling Ifill a "very honest, decent journalist" and saying there is "no question that she will be perfectly fair in the way she asks the questions" — also raised that very question.

"If the moderator of this debate were someone who was writing a book that basically was ‘The Age of McCain,’ I have a feeling that a lot more of these publications would be saying that the person should not be doing it," said Giuliani. "Now it might be totally unfair to do that. Just as I think it’s totally unfair to do this. But it’s just one more indication of how there is a double-standard in the way this campaign is treated."

Conservative talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh said Wednesday that Ifill "has a financial stake in Obama winning the race in addition to whatever other stakes that she has invested in Obama winning the presidential race."

And then there’s Jay Nordlinger at The Corner, who writes "Years ago, some Bolshi Democrat I think it was Ron Dellums was rising to some important committee position. And Henry Hyde was asked, by some righty (no doubt), ‘Don’t you think he’s a security risk?’ And Hyde answered blithely, ‘No more than any other Democrat.’ (I am paraphrasing but am very close.) Anyway . . . I’ve thought of Hyde’s remark this morning. People say, ‘Well, isn’t Gwen Ifill pro-Obama?’ And the answer is: ‘If she is, is she more so than any other suitable MSM big?’"

the McCain campaign is raising doubts about PBS anchor Gwen Ifill’s ability to be fair as the moderator of tomorrow night’s Vice Presidential debate after learning that she is working on a book about a new generation of black leaders called, "Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama."

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