Reuters, AP, LA Times reported McCain ad attacking Obama over troop funding vote, but ignored McCain's own record

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

In articles reporting that a McCain campaign ad criticizes Sen. Barack Obama for voting against legislation to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reuters, the Associated Press, and the Los Angeles Times did not mention, as Obama pointed out during the first presidential debate, that Sen. John McCain has also voted against troop funding legislation.

In a September 28 article, Reuters reported that Sen. John McCain's "campaign released an ad criticizing [Sen. Barack] Obama for a 2007 vote against funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan." But Reuters did not note that McCain himself has voted against legislation to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Indeed, though the article did not mention it, Obama pointed out McCain's votes during the September 26 presidential debate. After McCain claimed that Obama "vot[ed] to cut off the funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan," Obama stated: "John always brings this up. ... Senator McCain opposed funding for troops in legislation that had a timetable, because he didn't believe in a timetable. I opposed funding a mission that had no timetable, and was open-ended, giving a blank check to [President] George Bush. We had a difference on the timetable."

Moreover, reporting on Obama's troop funding record, the Associated Press reported on September 27: "Despite opposing the war, Obama has, with one exception, voted for Iraq troop financing. In 2007, he voted against a troop funding bill because it did not contain language calling for a troop withdrawal. The Illinois senator backed another bill that had such language -- and money for the troops."

In addition to Reuters, the Los Angeles Times reported in a September 28 article that "on Saturday, McCain launched a TV ad that accuses Obama of voting to 'cut off funding for our troops,' a charge that Obama vehemently denies," but did not note that Obama pointed out McCain's vote against the troop funding bill that included a timetable for withdrawal. Similarly, a September 28 AP article mentioned the McCain campaign ad and reported, "When McCain cited that vote during the debate, Obama defended it as being aimed at the lack of a withdrawal timetable, not at funding for troops," but did not note that Obama also pointed out that McCain himself had voted against legislation to fund the wars.

From the Reuters article:

McCain lashed out at Obama for not talking about victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

"I noticed during our debate that even as American troops are fighting on two fronts, Barack Obama couldn't bring himself to use the word "victory" even once," McCain in his remarks to the sportsmen group.

His campaign released an ad criticizing Obama for a 2007 vote against funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The narrator says Obama was "playing politics, risking lives. Not ready to lead."

From the AP article:

McCain harshly criticized Obama's debate performance Saturday in a speech to the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance.

"It wasn't such a good night for my opponent," McCain said, saying among other things that Obama was trying to use the looming market meltdown for political gain.

"It was clear that Senator Obama still sees the financial crisis in America as a national problem to be exploited first and solved later," McCain said.

McCain's campaign readied a spot on a topic that came up in the debate: Obama's vote in 2007 against funding troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The ad uses the words of Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, against him, saying the Illinois senator had been trying to make a "political point" with the vote.

When McCain cited that vote during the debate, Obama defended it as being aimed at the lack of a withdrawal timetable, not at funding for troops.

From the Los Angeles Times article:

History shows, however, that opinions are fluid. In 2000, Vice President Al Gore initially was seen by many as the winner of his first debate with George W. Bush. But in the days that followed, the Bush campaign promoted the idea that Gore had exaggerated in his responses to questions. That, along with attention to Gore's heavy sighing, helped lift Bush in the polls and led to later perceptions that Gore had lost the debate.

Also on Saturday, McCain launched a TV ad that accuses Obama of voting to "cut off funding for our troops," a charge that Obama vehemently denies.

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