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Drudge: NY Times Rejected McCain Op/Ed

In response to Sen. Barack Obama’s piece on his Iraq strategy in The New York Times opinion page last week, Sen. John McCain responded with an op/ed of his own — which was rejected, according to The Drudge Report. The gist: Drudge reports that David Shipley, op-ed page editor of The Times — who, Drudge points out, is a former Clinton administration official — says the piece was turned down because McCain did not explain how he would define victory in Iraq. From Drudge:

Shipley, who is on vacation this week, explained his decision not to run the editorial.

‘The Obama piece worked for me because it offered new information (it appeared before his speech); while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans.’

Shipley continues: ‘It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama’s piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq.’

Shipley reportedly told McCain that he would welcome another draft. According to Drudge, a "top McCain source claims the paper simply does not agree with the senator’s Iraq policy, and wants him to change it, not ‘re-work the draft.’ The Washington Post reports the McCain campaign is not interested in resubmitting the piece:

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said the Times’s response "reveals where they’re coming from" and that the article will not be resubmitted. The Republican candidate’s position on Iraq, Rogers said, "will not change based on politics or the demands of The New York Times."

It is true that — unlike Obama’s article — McCain’s piece, which Drudge published as submitted, doesn’t offer new information or, for that matter, anything about McCain’s Iraq policy. It is basically a long version of one of the many anti-Obama statements the campaign emails to reporters daily (and to be fair, the Obama campaign also inundates reporters with negative emails about McCain.)

It will never hurt the McCain camp with the GOP’s conservative base to level bias charges against the hated New York Times, but I don’t think they are warranted in this case. The Times has every right to prevent its pages from becoming yet another forum for inter-campaign sniping. If McCain wants his articles to be printed in the paper of record, he should offer a bit more substance. But, the article may have done more for the campaign without being published than it ever could have if it was.

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