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Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain cheated? proof he knew the questions ahead of time. UPDATED with video link.

You can read the transcript of the forum tonight here.

I did take the liberty to edit the transcript slightly so it made sense and because it was ugly. Also, the emphasis added below is mine.

Did they have the questions ahead of time? All I could find was that they would be provided the topics to be covered. But whether or not they were both given a list of the exact questions, I simply cannot find anything on that one way or the other.

But one of them DID have the questions ahead of time, as proven below. The following is evidence that either McCain was NOT in a quiet room during Obama's interview OR that he indeed had the questions ahead of time. If Obama was not provided the questions as well, then McCain clearly cheated.

In a Church even, how brazen.

Oh, I did a Vid. :)

Warren with Obama:

Q. OKAY LET’S GO TO EDUCATION. AMERICA RIGHT NOW 23 RANKS 19TH IN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION. WE’RE FIRST IN INCARCERATIONS.

A. NOT GOOD.

Q. NOT GOOD. 80 PERCENT OF AMERICANS RECENT POLE SAID THEY BELIEVE IN MERIT PAY FOR TEACHERS.

1. I’M NOT ASKING DO YOU THINK ALL TEACHERS SHOULD GET A RAISE.

2. DO YOU THINK BETTER TEACHERS SHOULD BE PAID BETTER?

3. THEY SHOULD BE MAKING MORE THAN POOR TEACHERS?

So, essentially on this topic, there were technically only two questions, the ones I've labelled 2 and 3. But one COULD make the argument that the comment I labelled as 1 was also a question.

Now to McCain:

Q ALL RIGHT. LET’S TALK ABOUT EDUCATION. AMERICA 18 RANKS 19TH IN HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATIONS, BUT WE’RE FIRST IN 19 INCARCERATION. EVERYBODY SAYS THEY WANT MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IN SCHOOLS?

A UH-HUH.

Q ABOUT 80 PERCENT OF AMERICA SAYS THEY SUPPORT MERIT PAY FOR THE BEST TEACHERS. NOW, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOUR STUMP SPEECH ON EDUCATION?

A YES. YES. AND FIND BAD TEACHERS ANOTHER LINE OF WORK.

Q YOU KNOW –

A CAN I –

Q YOU ARE ANSWERING SO QUICKLY.

A CAN I –

Q YOU WANT TO PLAY A GAME OF POKER?

See that? Warren didn't ask him ANY questions. Yet, McCain knew to answer the three questions posed to Obama. Wonder how that happened?

UPDATE:
Sawgrass727 found

this:

To avoid bias, and give America a true and fair comparison the questions to both candidates will be identical to provide a fair comparison, although the follow-up questions may differ, based on their response.

Sen. Barack Obama will be interviewed first, as determined by the flip of a coin. To insure fairness, Sen. McCain will not hear the questions of the first hour.

The Saddleback Civil Forum will focus on the core convictions of each candidate that would shape how each one would lead and their views on America's role, direction, and culture. Each interview will be segmented into four themes of 12 ½ minutes each:

STEWARDSHIP: Questions on the constitution, the role of government, security, education, energy

LEADERSHIP: Questions on personal character, competence, convictions, experience to be president

WORLDVIEW: Questions on life, family, evil, freedom, Christianity, Islam

AMERICA'S ROLE IN THE WORLD: Questions on going to war, on America's responsibility to bless other nations, poverty and disease, human rights, religious liberty, corruption, vision for America.

Now, if we can confirm Obama did NOT have the questions, we may be onto something.

UPDATE 2:
Nice catch from Lauren S, from the transripts:

9 DEFINE MARRIAGE.

10 A UNION — A UNION BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN, BETWEEN

11 ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN, THAT’S MY DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE.

12 ARE WE GOING TO GET BACK TO THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPREME

13 COURT JUSTICES.

14 Q WE’LL GET TO THAT.

15 A ALL RIGHT. OKAY.

16 Q YOU GOT ALL MY QUESTIONS, GOOD.

Huh.

UPDATE 3:

Thank you all for the recs. I desparately need to go to bed, so if evidence becomes available that Obama DID have the questions as well, please Unrecommend so this diary gets removed from the rec list. If you find out Obama DID NOT have the questions, then PLEASE push this story as hard as you can. Thanks and goodnight. :)

UPDATE 4:

Well, so much for sleep! As I was laying in bed, I realized that all three of them, Warren, McCain and Obama were certainly behaving like they didn't have the questions. In fact, comments from all of them ABOUT the questions is why I assumed that they DID NOT have the questions prior.

25 Q. OKAY. LET’S GO THROUGH THE TOUGH ONES.

1 A. I THOUGHT THAT WAS PRETTY TOUGH.

2 Q. NO THAT WAS A FREEBIE. THAT WAS A GIMME.

17 Q. OKAY. LET ME ASK YOU THIS. THIS IS A

18 CHARACTER QUESTION.

19 A. I HOPE THEY GET EASIER.

20 Q. THIS ONE ISN’T ANY EASIER.

1 A. THEY DON’T GET ANY EASIER?

2 Q. NO THEY DON’T GET ANY EASIER.

20 Q ALL RIGHT. LET’S GO INTO THE TOUGH ONES. THAT

21 WAS JUST A GIMMIE.

Honestly, all of that posturing about the "tough" questions is why I assumed they did not have the questions beforehand. And we know McCain had them, perhaps Obama did too (we don't know for sure yet, he did make that "cheating" comment about the orphan issue). But if they did have the questions, why pretend otherwise? I don't get that.

UPDATE 5:

Video Link.

YouTube John McCain

Relevant section: minute 2:00 to 2:56. Please watch and see for yourself. Take note of the hand chops, he is answering three questions. Watch Warren's facial expressions, he looks surprised. Watch McCain's face when Warren makes his comment about answering so fast and about poker, he sure looks like the kid with his hand caught in the cookie jar.

Yes, there are some below who call this speculating. McCain's old, who cares if they gave him the questions? He needs a little help. It does us no good to cry foul. Let's give him a pass. This makes us look bad. There is no proof. And on and on. To which I say: grow some and open your frickin' eyes! If they both had the questions, fine. If only one of them did, then that is cheating, pure and simple. I simply want to find out. And so should you.

But, please, feel free to disagree.

(Sorry, I have no idea how to plop the one minute of relevant video into a diary. If someone can explain how, I will attempt it.)

Still no reply e-mail from Saddleback, FYI.

Original here

Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life

Overturning Roe v. Wade

John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.

Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.


However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion - the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level. As John McCain has publicly noted, "At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level."

Promoting Adoption

In 1993, John McCain and his wife, Cindy, adopted a little girl from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh. She has been a blessing to the McCain family and helped make adoption advocacy a personal issue for the Senator.

The McCain family experience is not unique; millions of families have had their lives transformed by the adoption of a child. As president, motivated by his personal experience, John McCain will seek ways to promote adoption as a first option for women struggling with a crisis pregnancy. In the past, he cosponsored legislation to prohibit discrimination against families with adopted children, to provide adoption education, and to permit tax deductions for qualified adoption expenses, as well as to remove barriers to interracial and inter-ethnic adoptions.

Protecting Marriage

As president, John McCain would nominate judges who understand that the role of the Court is not to subvert the rights of the people by legislating from the bench. Critical to Constitutional balance is ensuring that, where state and local governments do act to preserve the traditional family, the Courts must not overstep their authority and thwart the Constitutional right of the people to decide this question.

The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation.

As with most issues vital to the preservation and health of civil society, the basic responsibility for preserving and strengthening the family should reside at the level of government closest to the people. In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers reserved for the States the authority and responsibility to protect and strengthen the vital institutions of our civil society. They did so to ensure that the voices of America's families could not be ignored by an indifferent national government or suffocated through filibusters and clever legislative maneuvering in Congress.

Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology

Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases - hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles.

For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of "fetal farming," making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes. Furthermore, he voted to ban attempts to use or obtain human cells gestated in animals. Finally, John McCain strongly opposes human cloning and voted to ban the practice, and any related experimentation, under federal law.

As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos.

Where federal funds are used for stem cell research, Senator McCain believes clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress, and that any such research should be subject to strict federal guidelines.

Protecting Children from Internet Pornography

John McCain believes the Internet offers tremendous promise in terms of freedom of expression, information sharing, and the spread of knowledge and commerce. It represents the greatest innovation of the modern era in terms of the democratization of free speech and access to information. From human rights groups in China to bloggers here in the United States, the Internet has opened a global dialogue that has propelled the world into an exciting new century of connectivity and communication.

However, there is a darker side to the Internet. Along with the access and anonymity of the Internet have come those who would use it to peddle child pornography and other sexually explicit material and to prey upon children.

John McCain has been a leader in pushing legislation through Congress that requires all schools and libraries receiving federal subsidies for Internet connectivity to utilize technology to restrict access to sexually explicit material by children using such computers. While the first line of defense for children will always be strong and involved parents, when they send their child to school or drop their child off at the library, parents have the right to feel safe that someone is going to be looking out for their children.

Protecting Children from Online Predators

America's most precious asset is its children. The innocence of childhood provides hope for the future and refreshes and restores the ideals of this great country. However, there are those who prey upon this innocence and the Internet offers these predators unprecedented, often anonymous, access to children. John McCain has taken a hard line against pedophiles that would use the Internet to prey upon children by proposing the first-of-its-kind national online registry for persons who have been convicted of sex crimes against children. Senator McCain's legislation requires that sex offenders register all online accounts in a national database that can be used by law enforcement to investigate crimes against children. If these predators fail to register they would be sent to prison for ten years. The legislation also makes use of the Internet an "aggravating factor" in sex crimes against children, adding an additional ten years to any conviction. It is the responsibility of government to do all that can be done to protect children from predators who lurk on the Internet.

The Greatest Honor is to Serve the Cause of Human Dignity

There is no greater nobility than to sacrifice for a great cause and no cause greater than protection of human dignity. Decency, human compassion, self-sacrifice and the defense of innocent life are at the core of John McCain's value system and will be the guiding principles of a McCain Presidency.

"To sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself, and to sacrifice your life to the eminence of that cause, is the noblest activity of all."

John McCain is the son and grandson of military officers. He served as a Navy pilot, honored to live in the company of heroes as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and is a beloved husband and father. Senator McCain has enjoyed the quiet blessings found in serving others.

Original here

McCain Jokes About His Definition Of The Rich: ‘How About $5 Million?’

Last night, during his Saddleback Church presidential forum, Pastor Rick Warren asked both Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to “define rich.” With regard to tax brackets, “where do you move from middle class to rich?” Warren asked. Obama said, “if you are making $150,000 a year or less, as a family, then you’re middle class.”

McCain, however, dismissed Warren’s question, asking in jest, “How about $5 million?”

WARREN: Everybody talks about, you know, taxing the rich, but not the poor, the middle class. At what point, give me a number, give me a specific number. Where do you move from middle class to rich? […]

MCCAIN: How about $5 million? No, but seriously, I don’t think you can, I don’t think seriously that the point is I’m trying to make, seriously, and I’m sure that comment will be distorted but the point is…that we want to keep people’s taxes low, and increase revenues. … So, it doesn’t matter really what my definition of rich is because I don’t want to raise anybody’s taxes. I really don’t.

Watch it:

McCain is right — millionaires are rich. In fact, those making $5 million per year or more are wealthier than 99.99% of all Americans. All but the nation’s wealthiest five percent, have household incomes of less than $174,000 per year.

But while McCain now says “it doesn’t matter really what my definition of rich is,” in 2000, he criticized tax cuts proposed by then-presidential candidate George W. Bush because they would benefit the rich “at the expense of middle-class Americans.” McCain said that he believed Bush was targeting the wrong individuals:

I don’t think the governor’s tax cut is too big–it’s just misplaced. Sixty percent of the benefits from his tax cuts go to the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans–and that’s not the kind of tax relief that Americans need. … I don’t believe the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans should get 60 percent of the tax breaks. I think the lowest 10 percent should get the breaks.

McCain summarized his position at the time saying, “I’m not giving tax cuts for the rich.” Now McCain is proposing to do exactly that. McCain — who, by his own definition, is rich — would get a $300,000 tax break if his proposals were enacted. McCain would decrease middle-class Americans’ tax bills by just $319.

Transcript:

WARREN: Everybody talks about, you know, taxing the rich, but not the poor, the middle class. At what point, give me a number, give me a specific number. Where do you move from middle class to rich?

MCCAIN: Some of the richest people I’ve ever known in my life are the most unhappy. I think that Rich should be defined by a home, a good job, an education, and the ability to hand to our children a more prosperous and safer world than the one that we inherited. I don’t want to take any money from the Rich. I want everybody to get Rich. I don’t believe in class warfare or redistribution of the wealth but I can tell you, for example, there are small businessmen and women who are working 16 hours a day, seven days a week, that some people would classify as “rich.” My friends, want to raise their tax, want to raise their payroll taxes. Keep taxes low. Let’s give every family in America a $7,000 tax credit for every child they have. Let’s give them a $5,000 refundable tax credit to go out and get the health insurance of their choice. Let’s not have the government take over their health care system in America.

So i think if you’re just talking about income, how about $5 million. No, but seriously, I don’t think you can, I don’t think seriously that the point is I’m trying to make seriously and I’m sure that comment will be distorted but the point is, the point is, the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low, and increase revenues, and my friend, it was not taxing that mattered in America in the last several years. It was spending. Spending got completely out of control. […]

So it doesn’t matter really what my definition of rich is because i don’t want to raise anybody’s taxes. I really don’t. In fact, I want to give working Americans a better shot at having a better life.

Original here

The Candidate We Still Don’t Know

By FRANK RICH

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

AS I went on vacation at the end of July, Barack Obama was leading John McCain by three to four percentage points in national polls. When I returned last week he still was. But lo and behold, a whole new plot twist had rolled off the bloviation assembly line in those intervening two weeks: Obama had lost the election!

The poor guy should be winning in a landslide against the despised party of Bush-Cheney, and he’s not. He should be passing the 50 percent mark in polls, and he’s not. He’s been done in by that ad with Britney and Paris and by a new international crisis that allows McCain to again flex his Manchurian Candidate military cred. Let the neocons identify a new battleground for igniting World War III, whether Baghdad or Tehran or Moscow, and McCain gets with the program as if Angela Lansbury has just dealt him the Queen of Hearts.

Obama has also been defeated by racism (again). He can’t connect and “close the deal” with ordinary Americans too doltish to comprehend a multicultural biography that includes what Cokie Roberts of ABC News has damned as the “foreign, exotic place” of Hawaii. As The Economist sums up the received wisdom, “lunch-pail Ohio Democrats” find Obama’s ideas of change “airy-fairy” and are all asking, “Who on earth is this guy?”

It seems almost churlish to look at some actual facts. No presidential candidate was breaking the 50 percent mark in mid-August polls in 2004 or 2000. Obama’s average lead of three to four points is marginally larger than both John Kerry’s and Al Gore’s leads then (each was winning by one point in Gallup surveys). Obama is also ahead of Ronald Reagan in mid-August 1980 (40 percent to Jimmy Carter’s 46). At Pollster.com, which aggregates polls and gauges the electoral count, Obama as of Friday stood at 284 electoral votes, McCain at 169. That means McCain could win all 85 electoral votes in current toss-up states and still lose the election.

Yet surely, we keep hearing, Obama should be running away with the thing. Even Michael Dukakis was beating the first George Bush by 17 percentage points in the summer of 1988. Of course, were Obama ahead by 17 points today, the same prognosticators now fussing over his narrow lead would be predicting that the arrogant and presumptuous Obama was destined to squander that landslide on vacation and tank just like his hapless predecessor.

The truth is we have no idea what will happen in November. But for the sake of argument, let’s posit that one thread of the Obama-is-doomed scenario is right: His lead should be huge in a year when the G.O.P. is in such disrepute that at least eight of the party’s own senatorial incumbents are skipping their own convention, the fail-safe way to avoid being caught near the Larry Craig Memorial Men’s Room at the Twin Cities airport.

So why isn’t Obama romping? The obvious answer — and both the excessively genteel Obama campaign and a too-compliant press bear responsibility for it — is that the public doesn’t know who on earth John McCain is. The most revealing poll this month by far is the Pew Research Center survey finding that 48 percent of Americans feel they’re “hearing too much” about Obama. Pew found that only 26 percent feel that way about McCain, and that nearly 4 in 10 Americans feel they hear too little about him. It’s past time for that pressing educational need to be met.

What is widely known is the skin-deep, out-of-date McCain image. As this fairy tale has it, the hero who survived the Hanoi Hilton has stood up as rebelliously in Washington as he did to his Vietnamese captors. He strenuously opposed the execution of the Iraq war; he slammed the president’s response to Katrina; he fought the “agents of intolerance” of the religious right; he crusaded against the G.O.P. House leader Tom DeLay, the criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff and their coterie of influence-peddlers.

With the exception of McCain’s imprisonment in Vietnam, every aspect of this profile in courage is inaccurate or defunct.

McCain never called for Donald Rumsfeld to be fired and didn’t start criticizing the war plan until late August 2003, nearly four months after “Mission Accomplished.” By then the growing insurgency was undeniable. On the day Hurricane Katrina hit, McCain laughed it up with the oblivious president at a birthday photo-op in Arizona. McCain didn’t get to New Orleans for another six months and didn’t sharply express public criticism of the Bush response to the calamity until this April, when he traveled to the Gulf Coast in desperate search of election-year pageantry surrounding him with black extras.

McCain long ago embraced the right’s agents of intolerance, even spending months courting the Rev. John Hagee, whose fringe views about Roman Catholics and the Holocaust were known to anyone who can use the Internet. (Once the McCain campaign discovered YouTube, it ditched Hagee.) On Monday McCain is scheduled to appear at an Atlanta fund-raiser being promoted by Ralph Reed, who is not only the former aide de camp to one of the agents of intolerance McCain once vilified (Pat Robertson) but is also the former Abramoff acolyte showcased in McCain’s own Senate investigation of Indian casino lobbying.

Though the McCain campaign announced a new no-lobbyists policy three months after The Washington Post’s February report that lobbyists were “essentially running” the whole operation, the fact remains that McCain’s top officials and fund-raisers have past financial ties to nearly every domestic and foreign flashpoint, from Fannie Mae to Blackwater to Ahmad Chalabi to the government of Georgia. No sooner does McCain flip-flop on oil drilling than a bevy of Hess Oil family members and executives, not to mention a lowly Hess office manager and his wife, each give a maximum $28,500 to the Republican Party.

While reporters at The Post and The New York Times have been vetting McCain, many others give him a free pass. Their default cliché is to present him as the Old Faithful everyone already knows. They routinely salute his “independence,” his “maverick image” and his “renegade reputation” — as the hackneyed script was reiterated by Karl Rove in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column last week. At Talking Points Memo, the essential blog vigilantly pursuing the McCain revelations often ignored elsewhere, Josh Marshall accurately observes that the Republican candidate is “graded on a curve.”

Most Americans still don’t know, as Marshall writes, that on the campaign trail “McCain frequently forgets key elements of policies, gets countries’ names wrong, forgets things he’s said only hours or days before and is frequently just confused.” Most Americans still don’t know it is precisely for this reason that the McCain campaign has now shut down the press’s previously unfettered access to the candidate on the Straight Talk Express.

To appreciate the discrepancy in what we know about McCain and Obama, merely look at the coverage of the potential first ladies. We have heard too much indeed about Michelle Obama’s Princeton thesis, her pay raises at the University of Chicago hospital, her statement about being “proud” of her country and the false rumor of a video of her ranting about “whitey.” But we still haven’t been inside Cindy McCain’s tax returns, all her multiple homes or private plane. The Los Angeles Times reported in June that Hensley & Company, the enormous beer distributorship she controls, “lobbies regulatory agencies on alcohol issues that involve public health and safety,” in opposition to groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The McCain campaign told The Times that Mrs. McCain’s future role in her beer empire won’t be revealed before the election.

Some of those who know McCain best — Republicans — are tougher on him than the press is. Rita Hauser, who was a Bush financial chairwoman in New York in 2000 and served on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in the administration’s first term, joined other players in the G.O.P. establishment in forming Republicans for Obama last week. Why? The leadership qualities she admires in Obama — temperament, sustained judgment, the ability to play well with others — are missing in McCain. “He doesn’t listen carefully to people and make reasoned judgments,” Hauser told me. “If John says ‘I’m going with so and so,’ you can’t count on that the next morning,” she complained, adding, “That’s not the man we want for president.”

McCain has even prompted alarms from the right’s own favorite hit man du jour: Jerome Corsi, who Swift-boated John Kerry as co-author of “Unfit to Command” in 2004 and who is trying to do the same to Obama in his newly minted best seller, “The Obama Nation.”

Corsi’s writings have been repeatedly promoted by Sean Hannity on Fox News; Corsi’s publisher, Mary Matalin, has praised her author’s “scholarship.” If Republican warriors like Hannity and Matalin think so highly of Corsi’s research into Obama, then perhaps we should take seriously Corsi’s scholarship about McCain. In recent articles at worldnetdaily.com, Corsi has claimed (among other charges) that the McCain campaign received “strong” financial support from a “group tied to Al Qaeda” and that “McCain’s personal fortune traces back to organized crime in Arizona.”

As everyone says, polls are meaningless in the summers of election years. Especially this year, when there’s one candidate whose real story has yet to be fully told.

Original here

Spokesman Admits McCain Broke Forum Rules

Updated with video (8:13PM).

Via the McCain Report blog, McCain Deputy Communications Director Michael Goldfarb now concedes that John McCain was not in a "cone of silence" at the Saddleback Church as Rick Warren, and therefore the nation, had been led to believe:

The facts are that Senator McCain was in a motorcade led by the United States Secret Service and held in a green room with no broadcast feed.

(Edit: Note that it is totally irrelevant that McCain was with the Secret Service. They go with him wherever he goes. Goldfarb is just mentioning to make it seem like there was a good reason for McCain to break his pledge.)

Goldfarb doesn't expand on those details, but it turns out that McCain finally arrived about thirty minutes into the event. (As Nate Silver reports, Rick Warren confirmed this on CNN. I've posted the video at the bottom of this entry.)

Goldfarb makes a big point of saying the green room had no broadcast feed, but that is beside the point.

McCain had agreed to be in a cone of silence. He broke his promise. Because of that fact, we will probably never know whether or not McCain had any advance notice of the questions.

The whole idea of the "cone of silence" was to avoid this sort of crisis of confidence. It really doesn't matter what McCain was or was not told. Rules are rules, and they exist so that everybody can trust the fairness of the process.

McCain wants us to simply take on faith that he didn't cheat, but the fact is that by his own campaign's admission, he broke the rules.

Goldfarb's spin on this is rather brilliant. He plays a magic trick, trying to focus attention on who "won" the forum. Of course, he thinks that McCain "won," and therefore casts the outrage at McCain's rulebreaking as "sour grapes."

But I will again make this simple point: the issue isn't whether or not McCain broke the rules so he could cheat, it's that by breaking the rules he cast a shadow over the whole process.

It's just like his relationship with his top foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann. Scheunemann has received $800,000 from the government of Georgia, and until March worked for them. Because of that, whether or not his advice is right, there is a cloud of suspicion over the McCain campaign.

What we're now learning is that the McCain campaign thinks they play by different rules than anybody else.

They don't have that right. Nobody does.

::: :::

Update 1: I'm uploading video now from CNN which has (a) Rick Warren saying that he believed McCain was on site when he announced that McCain was in a cone of silence; (b) has both Rick Warren and Rick Sanchez accepting McCain's promise that he didn't listen to the question on the basis of his word; and (c) has the McCain campaign again confirming that McCain was not on site for the first half of the broadcast.

Again, the issue here isn't really whether or not McCain actually heard the questions. The issue is that he promised to follow a set of rules, and he broke that promise. In the process, he threw Rick Warren under the bus, because he caused Rick Warren to make a false statement. (Who hasn't McCain thrown under the bus, by the way?)

That fact that the McCain campaign's response is "well, he didn't listen in" and that Warren accepted that that uncritically is quite disappointing. Again, the key issue here is that McCain broke his word on a commitment he made, putting not just his own integrity on the line, but the integrity of the entire forum.

::: :::

Update 2: Here's the video.

::: :::

Update 3: McCain's defense is like a batter stepping up the plate in the World Series with a corked bat. After he gets discovered, his defense is "well, I struck out." Yeah, but you were still breaking the rules. Would it have been worse if he hit a home run? Perhaps a little, but the core issue was breaking the rules -- not how things turned out.

Original here