Seems that Mr Straight Talk Express offered up a little white lie this past weekend regarding the so called "cone of silence."
For those who don't know the story, Andrea Mitchell had this to say on Meet The Press regarding the previous night's appearances of Senators Obama and McCain:
The Obama people must feel that he didn't do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that--what they're putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.
There are a number of issues playing out here and can be summed up with these (what some philosophers might call) statements of fact. They are either true or false:
- Mitchell said the Obama folks were speculating that McCain might not have been in the cone of silence
- McCain was in the cone of silence
- Whether being out of the cone gave him any sort of advantage
The first one is relatively insignificant as it hinges on whether the Obama folks were speculating or not. If they were, that statement is simply true. It's the second one that's at issue here.
At the appearance, McCain seemed to imply that he WAS in the cone of silence:
Warren: Now my first question was the cone of silence comfortable that you were in just now?
McCain: I was trying to hear through the wall.
McCain's joke actually covered up his lie - he wasn't in the "cone of silence." He was actually in his motorcade on the way to the appearance and then in the green room waiting to go on. The New York Times backs up Andrea Mitchell here:
Senator John McCain was not in a “cone of silence” on Saturday night while his rival, Senator Barack Obama, was being interviewed at the Saddleback Church in California.
Members of the McCain campaign staff, who flew here Sunday from California, said Mr. McCain was in his motorcade on the way to the church as Mr. Obama was being interviewed by the Rev. Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling book “The Purpose Driven Life.”
Whether that gave him any sort of advantage is a completely separate issue and it doesn't erase the fact that McCain LIED to a national audience. To a pastor.
A truthful answer would have been, "Actually I was in the motorcade on the way here and then in the green room..." Anything else is a lie of omission.
Indeed this part's been confirmed by the McCain camp. In his protest letter to NBC, McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis wrote:
The fact is that during Senator Obama's segment at Saddleback last night, Senator McCain was in a motorcade to the event and then held in a green room with no broadcast feed.
Note that he did NOT say that McCain was completely cut off from the segment. Was he or wasn't he? Did he receive any communication that would have aided him that evening?
Until we have proof otherwise we have to at least speculate that he had. I mean, the whole purpose of the "cone of silence" was to make sure everyone had proof that there'd be no contact and no advantage. Without the cone no one can be sure. And that's the point.
In any event, McCain LIED to a pastor. On television. And this is trustworthy?