Time's Michael Scherer wrote that Sen. John McCain has "a set of issues that appeal to the political center," including immigration and President Bush's tax cuts, but did not note that McCain has reversed his position on immigration and his rationale for opposing the tax cuts. Scherer also asserted without explanation that the Democratic presidential candidates have been "remarkably vague" about "what to do next" concerning the war in Iraq, but did not mention that McCain has been vague about how long he believes U.S. forces should remain in Iraq, the number of troops that will be stationed in Iraq for the next 10 or 20 years, and whether the United States will have permanent bases there and a security agreement like it does with Japan and South Korea.
On MSNBC Live, discussing the New York Times article on Sen. John McCain's ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Contessa Brewer asked A.B. Stoddard, "[I]n Washington, is it unusual if you get a letter from a constituent or a lobbyist on a matter, and you're concerned about it, that you would move on it?" Brewer was referring to the Times' reporting that Iseman "asked Mr. McCain's staff to send a letter to the [Federal Communications] commission to help Paxson [Communications], now Ion Media Networks." Stoddard replied, "Senators and members of Congress act all the time on behalf of concerns from their constituents, as well as lobbyists, if they think that they are valid points to make, and they're acting on their own beliefs." But neither Brewer nor Stoddard noted that then-FCC chairman William E. Kennard expressed concern about McCain's letter, calling it "highly unusual."
Discussing reports about Sen. John McCain's ties to lobbyist Vicki Iseman, Pat Buchanan asserted: "I don't have a problem with John McCain writing a letter there, depending on what he says in the letter," adding, "[B]ut McCain shouldn't be denying that, I don't think, because it seems to me that's in the normal course of business of a congressman." But contrary to his description of McCain's actions as "the normal course" for a congressman, the FCC chairman at the time criticized McCain for his request, calling it "highly unusual."
Robert Novak asserted that "[a] closed-door caucus of House Democrats" had "instructed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call President Bush's bluff on extending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to continue eavesdropping on suspected foreign terrorists" and that "Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said there was no danger in letting the FISA legislation lapse temporarily." In fact, FISA did not lapse or expire; what expired was the Protect America Act (PAA), which amended FISA. Additionally, Novak falsely stated that "the Democratic leadership Wednesday brought up another bill simply extending FISA authority, this time for 21 days" and that most of the Democrats who voted against the bill "intuitively oppose any anti-terrorist proposal." In fact, the House voted on an extension to the PAA, not FISA, and most of the Democrats who voted against the extension have supported other bills to allow surveillance of suspected terrorists.
An Associated Press article described Sen. John McCain as a "deficit hawk" but provided no support for that characterization. While the article mentioned that McCain has called for making permanent President Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, it did not note the absence of budget offsets to pay for them. Further, McCain repeatedly voted in favor of emergency supplemental spending bills for the Iraq war that exacerbated the deficit.
The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller claimed that "Senator John McCain began tapping into President Bush's prized political donor base on Tuesday." In fact, four of the five "major McCain fundraisers" Bumiller mentioned in her article were either Bush Rangers or Pioneers -- people who raised $100,000 and $200,000, respectively -- during the 2004 election and signed up to raise money for McCain in 2007 or 2006.
On Morning Joe, Mike Barnicle claimed that while in "most campaigns," "Republicans begin on the right for their campaign and come to the middle for the fall," John McCain is "in the middle and he has to swing right for the primaries." In fact, McCain has already shifted rightward on immigration and taxes, and McCain himself has asserted that he is a "mainstream conservative."
On MSNBC's Morning Joe, David Shuster asked Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn if it was a "mistake" when he "brought up a word and reminded people of [Sen.] Barack Obama's past drug use" on Hardball in December 2007. But, Penn was not the one to bring up Obama's past drug use; it was Chris Matthews. Matthews, as well as Norah O'Donnell, have falsely asserted that Penn brought up the issue.
On Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski said of Sen. John McCain, "[F]or the most part, he really does stick to his views even if they're unpopular," adding that McCain's "views on immigration were unpopular, and he stood by them even at the peril of his campaign." In fact, McCain once called for comprehensive reform that addressed the creation of a guest-worker program, a path to citizenship, and border security, but now says he supports addressing border security first.