Media outlets reported McCain's criticism of Obama's "political speech" in Germany, didn't note McCain's own recent speech in Canada

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

Numerous media outlets quoted or aired all or part of a statement Sen. John McCain made criticizing Sen. Barack Obama for giving a "political speech" in Berlin while "a candidate for the office of the presidency," but none noted that McCain himself gave a "political speech" in a foreign country last month, speaking to the Economic Club of Toronto in Ottawa, Canada, on a trip paid for by his presidential campaign.

On July 24 and 25, numerous media outlets quoted or aired all or part of the following statement that Sen. John McCain made during a July 24 campaign event in Ohio, in reference to a July 24 speech that Sen. Barack Obama gave in Berlin: "I'd love to give a speech in Germany to -- a political speech or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in, but I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States, rather than as a candidate for the office of presidency." Among the media outlets that did so were the Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg News, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, Fox News' Special Report, and the CBS Evening News. None of these reports, however, indicated that McCain himself gave a "political speech" in a foreign country last month, while also "a candidate for the office of presidency" rather than president. On June 20, McCain spoke to the Economic Club of Toronto in Ottawa, Canada, on a trip paid for by his presidential campaign.

By contrast, in a July 24 post on MSNBC.com's First Read blog, NBC deputy political director Mark Murray noted the contradiction between a similar statement McCain made criticizing Obama's Berlin speech and the fact that "McCain himself gave a speech in Canada" in June:

In his interview with NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, which will air on NBC's Nightly News tonight, McCain questions whether Obama should have given a speech in Berlin before becoming president.

"I would rather speak at a rally or a political gathering any place outside of the country after I am president of the United States," McCain told O'Donnell. "But that's a judgment that Sen. Obama and the American people will make."

However, on June 20, McCain himself gave a speech in Canada -- to the Economic Club of Canada -- in which he applauded NAFTA's successes. An implicit message behind that speech was that Obama had been critical of the trade accord. Also, McCain's trip to Canada was paid for by the campaign.

McCain's speech in Canada is posted in the "Speeches" section of McCain's presidential campaign website. During the speech, McCain asserted: "Demanding unilateral changes and threatening to abrogate an agreement that has increased trade and prosperity is nothing more than retreating behind protectionist walls. If I am elected president, have no doubt that America will honor its international commitments -- and we will expect the same of others." Those comments echoed a direct criticism McCain made of Obama in a statement released the same day, in which McCain asserted: "For months, Barack Obama said that he would 'make sure that we renegotiate' NAFTA, demanded unilateral changes and threatened to unilaterally withdraw if he did not get his way. Barack Obama knew better." According to a June 20 Reuters article, McCain "said his trip was organized and paid for by his presidential campaign because he felt it inappropriate for U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill when he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee."

The following media outlets reported all or part of McCain's July 24 comment without noting McCain's own "political speech" in Canada:

  • In a July 24 Reuters article headlined "McCain takes swipe at Obama for Berlin speech," Jeff Mason reported: "Republican John McCain said on Thursday he would like to give a speech in Germany as U.S. president not as a White House candidate, taking a swipe at rival Barack Obama while the Democrat gave a major address in Berlin." Mason then quoted McCain's comment, "I'd love to give a speech in Germany ... a political speech or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in, but I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate ... for the office of presidency."
  • A July 24 Associated Press article by Tom Raum quoted McCain asserting, "I'd love to give a speech in Germany. But I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for president."
  • On the July 24 edition of the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric reported that McCain "took a jab at Senator Obama and his Berlin speech," and then aired McCain's comment.
  • On the July 24 edition of Special Report, Washington correspondent James Rosen reported that McCain "chided Senator Obama for getting a little ahead of himself," and then aired McCain's comment.
  • In a July 25 article, Los Angeles Times staff writer Peter Nicholas reported that Republicans are "trying to encourage unease among voters by building the impression that Obama's overseas trip and other actions show he has a sense of entitlement that suggests he believes the White House is already his." Nicholas continued, "In Ohio on Thursday, McCain hit that theme: 'I'd love to give a speech in Germany . . . but I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States, rather than as a candidate for the office of presidency.' "
  • In a separate July 25 Los Angeles Times article, Washington bureau political editor Don Frederick reported that "McCain held a brief media availability and immediately pressed what is becoming one of his party's main narratives in this year's campaign: that Obama is prematurely, and arrogantly, assuming the trappings of the presidency." Frederick continued: "Asked about the point he sought to make with his stop at Schmidt's, McCain said, 'Well, I'd love to give a speech in Germany . . . but I would much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of the presidency.' "
  • In a July 25 USA Today article, Kathy Kiely reported that "Republican candidate John McCain suggested that Obama is getting ahead of the U.S. electorate." Kiely also wrote: "'I'd love to give a speech in Germany,' McCain said at Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant, where he had bratwurst with local business leaders. 'But I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for president.' "
  • In a July 25 New York Times article, Jeff Zeleny and Nicholas Kulish reported that McCain "campaigned in Ohio, where he belittled Mr. Obama's grasp of foreign policy and criticized him for traveling to Germany to deliver the address." Zeleny and Kulish continued: " 'I'd love to give a speech in Germany - a political speech or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in,' Mr. McCain told a crowd in Ohio, 'but I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate.' "
  • In a July 25 Washington Post article, staff writers Dan Balz and Shannon Smiley reported:

McCain's campaign fired back at Obama, with an adviser declaring that the Democrat had taken a "premature victory lap" with his events in Europe. McCain, who made a campaign appearance at a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, said, "I'd love to give a speech in Germany . . . a political speech or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in. But I would much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of the presidency."

  • In a July 25 Wall Street Journal article, Jay Solomon and Mike Esterl reported: " 'Well, I'd love to give a speech in Germany...or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in,' Sen. McCain told reporters. 'But I would much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of the presidency.' "
  • In a July 25 Bloomberg News article, Julianna Goldman and Andreas Cremer reported that McCain "told reporters yesterday that while he'd 'love to give a speech in Germany,' he would 'much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of the presidency.' "

From July 24 edition of the CBS Evening News:

COURIC: He couldn't be in Berlin, so John McCain did the next best thing: stopping for lunch today at a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. He talked about the economy with small-business owners, and he took a jab at Senator Obama and his Berlin speech.

McCAIN [video clip]: I'd love to give a speech in Germany too -- a political speech or a -- a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in, but I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States, rather than as a candidate for -- for the -- for the office of presidency.

COURIC: Senator McCain had hoped to visit an oil rig off Louisiana today to express his support for offshore drilling, but bad weather in the Gulf caused by Hurricane Dolly forced him to cancel the trip.

From July 24 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: With the world's spotlight on Senator Obama, Republican John McCain had to get a little creative to draw some attention today. So McCain added a little international flavor to his agenda while sticking with his usual style and message. Correspondent James Rosen reports.

ROSEN: On a day when his Democratic opponent was addressing massive crowds in Germany, John McCain's Straight Talk Express rumbled up to a German restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. There the presumptive Republican nominee practiced the kind of retail politics that is his strong suit.

McCAIN [video clip]: I saw the [unintelligible] and I am very excited.

ROSEN: And chided Senator Obama for getting a little ahead of himself.

McCAIN [video clipl]: I'd love to give a speech in Germany too -- a political speech or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in. But I'd much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for -- for the -- for the office of presidency.

ROSEN: McCain also underscored his long record of dealing with foreign leaders, including some whose countries have joined the combat in Afghanistan, and whom Obama, on his current travels, is meeting for the first time.

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