Chicago Tribune's Zuckman repeated McCain's suggestion that Obama had no bipartisan record -- but McCain has previously thanked Obama for bipartisanship

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

In a blog post, the Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman wrote: "Asked by one of his supporters to provide a few examples where [Sen. Barack] Obama has reached across the aisle, [Sen. John] McCain -- not surprisingly -- was unable to come up with anything." But Zuckman did not note that McCain has previously thanked Obama for his bipartisan work on a bill with several Republicans, including McCain, and McCain's Senate office reportedly contacted Obama's office to cosponsor an update of that bill.

In a June 17 post, Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman wrote: "Asked by one of his supporters to provide a few examples where [Sen. Barack] Obama has reached across the aisle, [Sen. John] McCain -- not surprisingly -- was unable to come up with anything." But in the post -- on The Swamp, the Tribune Co.'s Washington bureau blog -- Zuckman did not note that McCain has previously thanked Obama for his bipartisan work on a bill with several Republicans, including McCain, and that McCain's Senate office reportedly contacted Obama's office to cosponsor an update of that bill.

With Republican Sen. Tom Coburn (OK), Obama was a key co-sponsor of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S.2590) -- often referred to as the Coburn-Obama bill -- which "create[d] a Google-like search engine and database to track approximately $1 trillion in federal grants, contracts, earmarks and loans." It was signed into law on September 26, 2006. McCain was a co-sponsor of the legislation and praised Obama's work on the bill during July 18, 2006, remarks in a Senate subcommittee hearing about the legislation, saying : "Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman [Coburn], and I want to thank you and Senator Obama and Senator [Thomas] Carper [D-DE] and Chairwoman [Susan] Collins [R-ME] for your involvement in all these issues and including this specific one ... I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to again thank the bipartisanship that is associated with this bill, including Senator Carper and Senator Obama."

Additionally, The Hill reported on June 4 that "McCain's Senate office contacted Obama's office Monday night asking to sign on to" the Strengthening Transparency and Accountability in Federal Spending Act of 2008 (S.3077), an update of the 2006 Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act that, according to The Hill, "Obama had been working on ... primarily with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)." The Hill added that "Obama staffers were happy to comply with McCain's request to sign on." Obama introduced the bill on June 3 with McCain, Coburn, and Carper as co-sponsors .

As Media Matters for America has noted, Obama also worked with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar (IN) to produce the "Lugar-Obama proliferation and threat reduction initiative," which President Bush signed into law on January 11, 2007, and which received funding on June 28 of that year. The initiative, according to a joint press release by Lugar and Obama's Senate offices, "expands U.S. cooperation to destroy conventional weapons. It also expands the State Department's ability to detect and interdict weapons and materials of mass destruction." Also, four of the 12 co-sponsors of Obama's bill (S.2125) to "promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo" were Republicans: Sam Brownback (KS), Susan Collins (ME), Mike DeWine (OH), and James Inhofe (OK). President Bush signed the bill into law on December 22, 2006.

Additionally, Zuckman uncritically wrote that "[t]he National Journal ranked Obama as having the most liberal voting record in the Senate, providing Republicans with ammunition against him for the year. And McCain said he would be happy to be judged on where he stands." But Zuckman did not note that the National Journal stated it was unable to, in McCain's word, "judge" McCain in 2007 because McCain "did not vote frequently enough to receive a composite score." Further, Zuckman did not report that the National Journal ranking was based on 99 votes selected by the magazine's staff -- a subjective process that Obama himself has criticized. American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman J. Ornstein has also criticized the National Journal's rating of Obama as the "most liberal senator," calling it "pretty ridiculous." In contrast to the National Journal, a study by political science professors Keith Poole and Jeff Lewis that was based on all 388 non-unanimous Senate votes during 2007 produced a different result, ranking Obama as tied for the 10th most liberal senator. In that same study, McCain was ranked the eighth most conservative senator in 2007.

From Zuckman's June 17 post:

During a fundraiser in San Antonio, Texas, Sen. John McCain said today that he would hold Sen. Barack Obama to his record, describing it as "the most extreme" of any senator with votes that were "down-the- line liberal Democrat."

Asked by one of his supporters to provide a few examples where Obama has reached across the aisle, McCain -- not surprisingly -- was unable to come up with anything.

"When you look at the fact that he has the most extreme voting record, people who have extreme voting records are not generally known for their bipartisan work," McCain said.

The National Journal ranked Obama as having the most liberal voting record in the Senate, providing Republicans with ammunition against him for the year.

And McCain said he would be happy to be judged on where he stands.

"A lot of Americans are undecided," McCain told the crowd at the San Antonio Country Club, where he raised $1.3 million. "A lot of Americans are going to switch between now and then and judge us. I believe that they should judge us by our records. I believe we should - they should judge us by how we stand on the issues, and I also believe that they should judge us on what our plan of action is for the future of this nation."

McCain was accompanied by Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to the event, where about 200 guests noshed on quesadillas and sipped iced tea.

Network/Outlet
Chicago Tribune, Tribune Co.
Person
Jill Zuckman
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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