McCain Steps Up Insinuation Ifill Is Biased

By Danny

Oct 2, 2008 10:50am

ABC News’ Bret Hovell, Teddy Davis, Ferdous Al-Faruque Report: While appearing Thursday morning on "Fox and Friends," John McCain criticized the selection of PBS’ Gwen Ifill as moderator of the vice presidential debate because she is writing a book called "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race In The Age of Obama."

"Frankly, I wish they had picked a moderator that isn’t writing a book that is favorable to Barack Obama — I mean let’s face it," said McCain. "But I have to have confidence that Gwen Ifill will treat this as the professional journalist that she is."

"Frankly, I would imagine that there are other people out there who are not writing a book on Inauguration Day favorable to Sen. Obama," said McCain.

"But that’s life," he continued. "Life isn’t fair as I said earlier on the program. And whoever the moderator is and no matter what the questions are, it doesn’t matter because Sarah Palin is great."

McCain began raising questions about Ifill on Wednesday after the DrudgeReport linked to a story on WorldNetDaily.com questioning whether Ifill’s book would be pro-Obama. The Arizona senator said Wednesday that he did not previously know about Ifill’s book even though it had previously been reported.

While McCain began sowing doubts about Ifill during a Wednesday interview with Fox’s Carl Cameron, he did not directly question her selection as moderator until his Thursday interview with "Fox and Friends."

When the McCain campaign began insinuating bias on the part of Ifill on Wednesday, Biden spokesman David Wade reacted by describing it to ABC News’ Matt Jaffe as an effort to "work the refs".

Ifill herself weighed in Wednesday in an interview with the Associated Press.

Ifill’s book is about a new generation of black leaders, and she told the AP that she has not yet written the chapter on Obama.

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 if she thought there were racial motives at play, Ifill said, "I don’t know what it is. I find it curious."

Ifill told the AP that she did not tell the Commission on Presidential Debates about the book.

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