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On the August 27 broadcast of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, host Chris Matthews asked his panel of guests, "Why does the media like [Sen. John] McCain [R-AZ]? I mean, what's going on here? Does he seem to be more authentic than other politicians?" In response, MSNBC chief Washington correspondent and NBC Today correspondent Norah O'Donnell said, "[S]ometimes people criticize the media for 'liking' John McCain, but I think, quite frankly, if there's any sort of affection, it's because he actually gives us some access." Later, New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller added, "[T]here also is his personality ... people seem to like John McCain in sort of the same way they liked [George W.] Bush back in 2000 before everything else happened."
From the August 27 broadcast of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, which also included panelist and Newsweek chief political correspondent and Washington bureau chief Howard Fineman:
MATTHEWS: I want to ask a very relevant question --
MATTHEWS: -- after listening to the four of you. Why does the media like McCain? What's going on here? Does he seem to be more authentic than other politicians?
O'DONNELL: Well --
FINEMAN: Well, I think part of it on this --
O'DONNELL: Well --
FINEMAN: -- part of it on this specific thing, he knows what he's talking about. He clearly has a lot of experience, militarily, from the inside out on the Armed Services Committee.
FINEMAN: He knows his stuff on that -- on this particular question.
O'DONNELL: Sometimes people criticize the media for "liking" John McCain, but I think, quite frankly, if there's any sort of affection, it's because he actually gives us some access. He actually agrees to interviews, which very few politicians do and very few people that are running for president seem to shy away from the press.
BUMILLER: There also is -- there also is his personality. You mean, we're sort of talking around the issue, but people seem to like John McCain in sort of the same way they liked Bush back in 2000 before everything else happened.
MATTHEWS: Does he really like Bush now?
BUMILLER: Excuse me?
MATTHEWS: Does McCain really like Bush?
BUMILLER: Does McCain like Bush? That's a very good question.
MATTHEWS: I'll be right back with scoops and predictions straight from the notebooks of these top reporters. Tell me something I don't know. Be right back.