On MSNBC Live, The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller uncritically repeated the McCain campaign's suggestion that "because of the rumors that were on the Internet" concerning the 17-year-old pregnant daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin, the campaign "felt they had to get the story out" about the pregnancy. But according to the Times, the McCain campaign released the information about the pregnancy on Labor Day because the media were focused on Hurricane Gustav and because "the nation was busy with family and social activities."
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On the September 2 edition of MSNBC Live, New York Times Washington correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller contradicted her own paper's reporting by uncritically repeating the McCain campaign's suggestion that "because of the rumors that were on the Internet" concerning the 17-year-old pregnant daughter of Sen. John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the campaign "felt they had to get the story out" about the pregnancy. Bumiller said the McCain campaign "did not want to do it on the first day of the convention," adding that McCain "was completely off message."
But Bumiller's assertion contradicts her colleague Adam Nagourney's reporting in the Times that the McCain campaign released the information about Palin's daughter's pregnancy, along with other unflattering information about the Palin family, on Labor Day because the media were focused on Hurricane Gustav and also because "the nation was busy with family and social activities." The Times quoted Tucker Eskew, a senior adviser to Palin, saying of the release of information about Palin on Labor Day: "We are going to flush the toilet."
From the 1 p.m. ET hour of the September 2 edition of MSNBC Live:
ANDREA MITCHELL (NBC News foreign affairs correspondent): Just yesterday, it was revealed that Palin's teen daughter, Bristol Palin, is pregnant. Then there was word that the state of Alaska had hired a private attorney for Palin to defend herself in the state ethics investigation; also that her husband had been arrested more than two decades ago on a drunken driving charge -- all of which was well known to the campaign during the vet.
Elisabeth Bumiller, the Washington correspondent for The New York Times, she's written about all of this today. Elisabeth, how concerned do you think the campaign needs to be? They say they knew all of this, they went through it, and this is the person that John McCain wants with him on the ticket. Is it a lot of background noise? Is it a distraction? Does it actually help in firing up the base?
BUMILLER: Well, I think it's safe to say they did not want this to happen on the first day of the Republican convention. There was a big distraction with Hurricane Gustav but they -- this was not what they had planned. They said that they were -- you know, because of the rumors that were on the Internet, that, you know, very -- what they called very vicious rumors, they felt they had to get the story out.
But I can tell you they did not want to do it on the first day of the convention and certainly it's a distraction. He's completely -- was completely off message yesterday and it's spilling into today as well.