Extra! Extra! McCain to Take Questions From the Press!
ORLANDO, Fla. — We’ve written before about the McCain campaign’s recent restriction of the media’s access to the candidate. In the last few days, I’ve heard some reporters say that they could just as easily do their jobs from their desks in Washington. Some plucky journalists have resorted to calling out questions when they find themselves within earshot at Sen. John McCain’s photo-ops, only to be ignored.
Well, today is a little different. For the first time in the four weeks that I’ve been traveling with the campaign, McCain has actually scheduled — as in it’s in the schedule, as opposed to hastily announced, usually moments before — a media availability for later today in Panama City, Fla. This will be the first time the presumptive Republican nominee has taken questions from the traveling press in more than a week — since last Thursday’s awkward supermarket debacle, that made more headlines for an applesauce spill than for its content.
So is McCain looking forward to taking questions and getting his message out — in this week where his campaign really went after Sen. Barack Obama in an ad that compared the Illinois senator to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears? The likely answer: not really. The conference is scheduled for 3:20 p.m. CDT — part of the Florida panhandle is not on Eastern time — which is 4:20 EDT. It is expected to last until 4:35 p.m. His one press conference of the week will take place late in the day Friday. As so many beleaguered administrations — consider the Reagan White House during Iran-contra, not to mention the current Bush White House — have demonstrated, this ls the ideal time to release information if you want it to be ignored. It’s not ideal for the press corps — but at this point, they will have to take what they can get.