CNN's Wolf Blitzer said of Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, "many would regard them [as] a little bit of mavericks." Despite McCain's widely held reputation for being willing to diverge from President Bush, Media Matters has repeatedly documented instances in which McCain has supported President Bush or changed his position to support Bush; the same is true of Graham.
A New York Times article on Sen. John McCain's proposal to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq ignored a key question: whether the strategy is even feasible, given that McCain has asserted that the fate of the U.S. effort in Iraq will be decided in a matter of months and yet acknowledged that sending 20,000 more soldiers into the region would require increasing active forces by 100,000. CNN's Wolf Blitzer similarly ignored the question of whether the plan is achievable.
In their reports on Sen. Mel Martinez's decision to take over as chairman of the Republican National Committee, The New York Times' Adam Nagourney and Fox News' Jim Angle made no reference to Martinez's admission that his office authored a controversial memo in the Terri Schiavo case and also did not mention the controversy surrounding Martinez's campaign tactics in 2004.
Meet the Press host Tim Russert failed to challenge Sen. John McCain on the feasibility of his call for sending more U.S. troops to Iraq and his statement that "[w]e're either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months." Russert also failed to note that at the time McCain made a 2005 statement that ethanol mandates are "harmful" and "will result in higher gasoline costs for states," the price of oil had risen past the threshold at which McCain had previously claimed that ethanol mandates "make sense."
In an editorial, The Washington Post asserted that "[t]he worst offenders" of "negative campaigning" were "Republicans, but that probably was because they were the ones on the defensive." In fact, Republicans also employed vicious smears in winning the 2002 and 2004 elections.
A Los Angeles Times editorial described Arizona's 2006 midterm election results as "[a] referendum on immigration policy" and proclaimed Sen. John McCain its "winner," even though he personally campaigned for and endorsed candidates whose defeat the editorial touted as evidence of McCain's supposed victory.
In her syndicated column, Ann Coulter claimed that the Democratic Party made "pathetic gains" in the November 7 midterm elections. In fact, the Democrats' gains in the House are just slightly under the average for the party out of power in the White House in the sixth-year midterm elections over the past century, and the Democrats' Senate gains are above the average. Moreover, the 2006 elections were the first sixth-year midterms since 1918 in which control of both houses of Congress switched parties.
The Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum reported that Sen. John McCain has "long been seen as a champion of independents" and the "good news" for him is that this voting bloc played a significant role in determining the outcome of this year's elections. However, that logic overlooks the fact that independents cited the Iraq war -- which McCain supports -- as one of their top reasons for voting Democratic this year.
In a New York Post op-ed, Deborah Orin-Eilbeck used a poll conducted by a Republican firm to suggest that both Sen. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani would "trounc[e]" Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2008 presidential election. However, recent independent polls show Clinton either favored or much closer in those matchups.
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The Washington Times reported that "Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] emerged from yesterday's elections as one of Republicans' only winners as Democrats made solid gains and both parties turn an eye toward 2008," but offered no explanation to support the claim. In fact, there are indications that the opposite might be true -- issues and candidates supported by McCain were repudiated by voters in the November 7 election.