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During the July 3 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain (AZ): "The straight talker is back. And he's hoping to turn into the comeback kid." As Media Matters for America has documented, CNN and The Situation Room have repeatedly touted McCain's "straight talk" -- the theme of his failed 2000 presidential bid -- despite his numerous inconsistencies on issues ranging from the Iraq war and the Bush administration to his opinion of conservative Christians.
From the July 3 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
SCHNEIDER: McCain's strategists have figured something out about 2008. The political establishment is in trouble. So McCain is repositioning himself to run the same way he did in 2000.
JOHN WEAVER (McCain political strategist): John McCain is the Republican change candidate in a change election cycle, a volatile election cycle.
SCHNEIDER: Wait a minute. Unlike 2000, there's now a Republican in the White House. Can a Republican run as the candidate of change? McCain's strategists think so.
WEAVER: He's going to challenge our party and our country to let him end the out-of-control spending, which has shamed the Republican Party and wrecked our country's budget.
SCHNEIDER: They talk about a liberated John McCain -- liberated from Washington politics.
McCAIN [video clip]: We let spending get out of control. We presided over the largest increase in the size of government since the Great Society, and our constituents and our Republicans became dispirited and disenchanted.
SCHNEIDER: The straight talker is back. And he's hoping to turn into the comeback kid.
It could work for another reason. The Republican establishment doesn't really have a candidate to rally around. The vice president's not running. Conservatives have problems with Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. Fred Thompson? We'll see.