Ignoring McCain attacks on same day, CNN's Harris called McCain's congratulatory ad "a nice touch"

››› ››› MORGAN WEILAND

Referring to a McCain campaign ad in which Sen. John McCain congratulates Sen. Barack Obama on receiving the Democratic presidential nomination, CNN's Tony Harris said, "I thought it was a nice touch to see the John McCain ad congratulating Barack Obama. I guess some would quibble with it, but I won't be one of those." Harris did not note that, notwithstanding the ad's suggestion that McCain was taking the day off from attacking Obama, the McCain campaign did attack Obama the same day that the congratulatory ad came out.

Referring to an ad released by the McCain campaign on August 28 in which Sen. John McCain congratulates Sen. Barack Obama on receiving the Democratic presidential nomination and says, "Tomorrow we'll be back at it, but tonight, Senator, job well done," CNN Newsroom co-host Tony Harris said on August 29: "I thought it was a nice touch to see the John McCain ad congratulating Barack Obama on the historic achievement. I thought it was a nice touch. I guess some would quibble with it, but I won't be one of those." However, Harris did not note that, notwithstanding the ad's suggestion that McCain was taking the day off from attacking Obama, the McCain campaign did attack Obama on August 28. Indeed, during a commercial break in the 4 p.m. ET hour, CNN aired a McCain campaign attack ad "Higher" that asserts of Obama: "He's ready to raise your taxes, but not ready to lead."

In the "Convention Night" ad, McCain stated: "Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, 'Congratulations.' How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow we'll be back at it, but tonight, Senator, job well done." Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances of television and print media referring to the congratulatory McCain ad without noting that the McCain campaign issued negative ads on the "historic day," to use McCain's own words, the 45th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

As Media Matters noted, the McCain campaign also ran attack ads throughout the night in various television markets. For example, the "Higher" ad ran on Washington, D.C.'s NBC affiliate TV station prior to the network's coverage of Obama's speech. The same ad ran that evening on network TV affiliates in Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.

In addition to running television ads, the McCain campaign released a Web video yesterday that purportedly shows that Obama does not "have the experience and judgment to be president." In an August 28 press release, the McCain campaign stated that the video -- titled "Remote Control" -- "features Democrats, in their own words, questioning Barack Obama's ability to lead in this dangerous world. ... Democrats rightly said Barack Obama did not have the experience and judgment to be president." As Media Matters for America noted, the press release itself is featured on McCain's website below McCain's convention night video about Obama. Additionally, August 28 posts on the McCain campaign's website mocked the stage at Denver's Invesco Field, where Obama gave his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination for president.

Moreover, following the conclusion of Obama's acceptance speech, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds issued a statement criticizing the speech and accusing him of making "misleading claims."

From the 9 a.m. ET hour of the August 29 edition of CNN Newsroom:

HARRIS: Yeah, and I thought it was a nice touch.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX (CNN White House correspondent): Never thought they'd --

HARRIS: Yeah. I thought it was a nice touch to see the John McCain ad congratulating Barack Obama on the historic achievement. I thought it was a nice touch. I guess some would quibble with it, but I won't be one of those. Suzanne Malveaux with us this morning, Suzanne, terrific work in Denver and great to talk to you this morning. Alex Castellanos is with us now. He is a Republican media strategist. He's joining us from -- from New York, and Alex, good to talk to you, good see you again. It's been a while.

CASTELLANOS: Good to see you.

HARRIS: You know, I'm curious in a couple of things with you this morning. Let's talk about, if you would, some of the things that you believe Barack Obama did well last night. And then, let's talk about some of the areas that you think are open to attack next week.

CASTELLANOS: The list of things he did well is a long list. We could be here a while. It was -- it was a terrific speech. And you know, even from the Republican point of view, we should -- we should cede him that. He demonstrated strength --

HARRIS: Hey, Alex, did you think it was a nice touch -- I thought it was, and I'm sure some will quibble, but I thought it was a nice touch for John McCain to acknowledge the accomplishments and the historic nature of last night.

CASTELLANOS: Very much so, you know, and we saw that from both sides. Obama reached out. I thought he drew his differences with McCain sharply but respectfully, and I thought Senator McCain did the same thing from the other side of the aisle and said this is an important day for the country, we've -- it shows progress that we've made in some important areas and that maybe -- maybe there are things we can all agree on and achieve. So yes, I thought it was -- it was something that's been lacking in our politics a little bit, and it was nicely done.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel, CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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