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Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008

Think You Know John McCain?

Who Loves You, Baby

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The media is in love with Barack Obama. If it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny.”

That’s the message that John McCain’s campaign wants you to believe: The adoring media is “in the tank” for Obama and never challenges him; Obama has been anointed “The One”; and McCain can’t get a break, especially when he’s eating bratwurst in Ohio and his Democratic challenger is wowing a crowd of 200,000 in Berlin and meeting heads of state.

McCain has been the sweetheart of the press corps since his 2000 campaign against George W. Bush. McCain has even been on “The Daily Show” about a dozen times. So how true is the “love” line? Here’s how the daughter of one of the presidential candidates recounted a March 2008 party at her parents’ home: “Yesterday we hosted the press corps at our cabin in Sedona and my dad grilled his famous ribs and chicken for them. And it was a really fun experience. I thought it was going to be a lot more difficult than it ended up being because anytime there’s a big group of press around you have to be ‘on’ in some context or another. But everyone really relaxed and it was really fun to kind of see, you know, big journalistic figures like Holly Bailey [of Newsweek] swinging on the tire swing and Jon Martin [of Politico.com], like, helping my dad grill ribs and it was really funny to see just, like, the juxtaposition of, like, the D.C. reporters at my cabin in Sedona and having the press corps meet longtime friends.”

Was that 10-year-old Malia Obama, recounting her birthday party with her parents and the press? Nope! It was recent Columbia University graduate Meghan McCain, on her Web site, mccainblogette.com, which features videos from the campaign trail. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Partying with the Press

The Sedona barbecue shows Sen. Lindsey Graham teasingly shunning the camera, loads of laughter among the press corps and the senator’s friends and aides, and the spacious million-dollar-plus Arizona estate, owned by the candidate’s wife, beer heiress Cindy McCain. Mrs. McCain also makes an appearance in her daughter’s video, in a dark jacket and sunglasses.

“I think mom also had a good time when she was there,” Meghan said into the camera. “She loves hosting people and always having a casual setting. And as I’ve said before, people haven’t seen her silly side enough, and she was definitely much more playful with everyone up there.”

Mrs. McCain looked anything but playful and silly. “This is much better than Washington, D.C., isn’t it?” she says sarcastically and laughs. “I think.”

“The guys from Politico brought her flowers,” Meghan explained. “Which I still think is, like, the most adorable thing ever. So, thank you. I think it was, like, so cute that they decided to bring my mom flowers.

‘Cause, it’s rare—they are journalists,” she concluded, laughing. So, in the interest of fairness and balance, will the guys from Politico send a bouquet to Michelle Obama? Or would that mean that they’re cheating on John McCain?

What’s your take? Write: editor@shepex.com or comment on this story online at www.expressmilwaukee.com

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