Media continue to repeat Cindy McCain's comment about troop funding without noting her husband's own vote

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH & MORGAN WEILAND

The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Morning Joe reported Cindy McCain's attack on Sen. Barack Obama that his "vote to not fund my son while he was serving sent a cold chill through my body." However, none of their reports noted that Sen. John McCain himself voted against legislation to fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In October 9 articles, The New York Times and The Washington Post quoted Cindy McCain's claim that Sen. Barack Obama's "vote to not fund my son while he was serving sent a cold chill through my body," but did not note that McCain himself voted against legislation to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as Obama pointed out during the first presidential debate on September 26. While both articles noted that Obama voted against troop funding because the legislation did not include a withdrawal timetable, they did not note McCain's vote.

Neither the Times nor the Post noted that McCain voted against a March 2007 bill that would have funded the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and would have provided more than $1 billion in additional funds to the Department of Veterans Affairs -- along with all but two of his fellow Republican senators.

During the September 26 debate, McCain stated that Obama "did the incredible thing of voting to cut off the funds for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan." Obama responded: "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 George Bush. We had a difference on the timetable. We didn't have a difference on whether or not we were going to be funding troops."

Similarly, MSNBC played the clip of Cindy McCain's claim on the October 9 edition of Morning Joe, and co-host Mika Brzezinski stated: "There's been so much talk about the strategy of the McCain campaign; that to me seems like a smart one. I mean that's real, relevant." Co-host Joe Scarborough agreed, saying, "That's smart, that's relevant, that is -- that's legitimate, and that resonates much better than William Ayers." However, neither Brzezinski nor Scarborough noted McCain's vote against the March 2007 bill. Later in the segment, Scarborough asked Obama campaign communications director Robert Gibbs, "[I]s it unfair to make the kind of statement that Cindy McCain made about Barack Obama -- abandoning the troops in the field by not voting to fund them?" Gibbs replied, in part: "I can't imagine what Cindy McCain's reaction must have been when John McCain walked down to the Senate floor and also voted against funding the troops in Iraq."

By contrast, on the October 8 edition of NBC's Nightly News, chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell played a clip of Cindy McCain's comments and then noted: "In fact, Obama voted against money for the troops once, in May 2007 -- he said because the bill didn't include a timetable for withdrawal. But John McCain also voted against a troop-funding bill two months earlier for the opposite reason: because that bill called for a troop withdrawal."

From the October 9 New York Times article:

''The day that Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son while he was serving sent a cold chill through my body, let me tell you,'' Mrs. McCain said. ''I would suggest that Senator Obama change shoes with me for just one day.'' Mrs. McCain was referring to a vote against troop financing that Mr. Obama cast in 2007 because the legislation did not include a timetable for withdrawal; Mr. Obama has voted for all other war-spending bills since he entered the Senate in 2005.

From the October 9 Washington Post article:

The McCain campaign's attacks on Obama's judgment and readiness came often and from a number of surrogates. Cindy McCain led the way, accusing the Democrat of voting against funding U.S. troops in Iraq, which at one time included the McCains' son.

"The day that Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body," Cindy McCain told a crowd of several thousand supporters in Bethlehem, Pa. "I would suggest Senator Obama change shoes with me for just one day and see what it means to have a loved one serving in the armed services."

The Obama campaign said McCain has distorted his vote, which was an attempt to force Bush to come up with a plan to withdraw troops from Iraq by setting a cutoff date.

From the October 9 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

CINDY McCAIN [video clip]: The day that Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body. Let me tell you, I would suggest Senator Obama change shoes with me for just one day.

BRZEZINSKI: Welcome back. There's been so much talk about the strategy of the McCain campaign; that to me seems like a smart one. I mean that's real, relevant.

SCARBOROUGH: That's smart, that's relevant, that is -- that's legitimate, and that resonates much better than William Ayers.

BRZEZINSKI: I wonder who we can ask about that.

SCARBOROUGH: And, also, Joe Biden made the same charge, basically, during the Democratic debates, so you can go there. That being said, if this race were being run on Iraq, military issues, the war on terror - John McCain would be ahead. It's the economy, the economy, the economy, but that's been the problem.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, we could ask the campaigns about this.

[...]

SCARBOROUGH: Robert Gibbs, is it unfair to make the kind of statement that Cindy McCain made about Barack Obama -- abandoning the troops in the field by not voting to fund them?

GIBBS: Well, look, Barack Obama obviously understands and honors the commitment and the sacrifice that our men and women in uniform make. I can't imagine what Cindy McCain's reaction must have been when John McCain walked down to the Senate floor and also voted against funding the troops in Iraq.

From the October 8 edition of NBC's Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS (anchor): Now, a related topic: presidential politics. And about last night -- looks like 63 million of us watched on television, more than the first presidential debate, but fewer viewers than that Biden/Palin VP debate. There were no devastating or towering moments in the Obama/McCain debate in Nashville last night. All we heard beforehand was that McCain was most comfortable in the so-called "town hall" format, though many viewers saw something less than that. As it turned out, two moments from last night loomed large today as the campaigns went back on the road with just 27 days to go now until the election. Our report tonight from NBC's Andrea Mitchell.

MITCHELL: In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, today, the Republican candidate's wife, Cindy McCain, accused Barack Obama of not supporting the troops in Iraq, including her son.

CINDY McCAIN [video clip]: The day that Senator Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body.

MITCHELL: In fact, Obama voted against money for the troops once, in May 2007 -- he said because the bill didn't include a timetable for withdrawal. But John McCain also voted against a troop-funding bill two months earlier for the opposite reason: because that bill called for a troop withdrawal.

The day after their second debate, John McCain also kept up his attack on Obama.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post, MSNBC, The New York Times
Person
Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Sarah Palin
Show/Publication
Morning Joe
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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