Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why McCain Ditched Letterman Show

"The Campaign is in Suspense"

I was watching this Countdown segment last night about Yawn McCain's defection from Friday's presidential debate when Olbermann mentioned that the Caveman had also cancelled an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman at the last minute. Olbermann knew this because Letterman had called him as an emergency replacement when Letterman received the call from McCain's peeps after he had actually begun taping the show. A McCain spokesperson had just told Letterman he was flying to Washington immediately to 'deal with the financial crisis.' One must assume that the studios of MSNBC and CBS's Ed Sullivan Theater are adjacent or very close to one another.

Here's the Olbermann clip:

The clip from the Letterman show (which was uploaded to YouTube even before Letterman's broadcast at 11:30 EDT) can be seen in this post at Ice Station Tango. As Olbermann notes, Letterman was PISSED about being slagged like that. Did I mention he'd already begun taping when McCain informed him that he would be a no-show? I should also mention that Letterman is not someone who readily puts up with right-wing bullshit, as his famous confrontation with Bill O'Reilly proves.

It wasn't too far into Olbermann's appearance on Letterman that Dave was informed about where McCain was - in another CBS studio doing an interview with Katy Couric. It's safe to say that Letterman went from PISSED! to PISSED!!! at that point, yelling at the on-set screen that he and Keith were watching Couric on, "I've got a question for you John - You want a ride to the airport?"

As Letterman repeated through his show with increasing vehemence, something about this scenario stunk to high heaven, and this EXCELLENT post from The Anonymous Liberal nails the true motives of the Senior Citizen Senior Senator from Arizona. It was a desperate attempt at damage control, as McCain ran the unscheduled interview with Couric in an attempt to push another earlier interview of Sarah Palin off the primetime airwaves.
In that interview, Palin did two things that hurt the McCain campaign and, but for McCain's late afternoon shenanigans, would have garnered much more attention. First, buying into the premise of one of Couric's questions, she all but stated that if no bailout legislation is passed, we'll be headed into the next Great Depression. Even if true, that's not a very smart thing for a politician to say and, importantly, it all but foreclosed any possibility of McCain voting against the bailout.
I think the McCain campaign knew the Couric interview would be a disaster as soon as it was done taping and spent much of the day frantically trying to think of a way to push it out of the headlines. The clincher for me is the fact that McCain cancelled his Letterman appearance at the last second and instead sat down for an impromptu interview with, of all people, Katie Couric. The hope was to bump the Palin interview even on the CBS Evening News, which otherwise would have hyped and teased the Palin interview all afternoon and used it to lead the broadcast. Instead, CBS devoted most of its coverage to McCain and played segments of the Palin interview almost as an afterthought. Mission accomplished.
Palin looked like a moose in the headlights in the interview. The entire clip is available on YouTube, you can see it in the aforementioned post from The Anonymous Liberal. She really falls flat on her face. This video HAD TO be kept out of the public eye as much as it was in McCain's power to do so.

The Palin bounce has fallen flat, especially now that it has become obvious to even the Lamestream Media that she has been trying to shut them out. She is forced by the reality of her inexperience, her extremism, her lying, her bizarre religious affiliations, to hide from any meaningful scrutiny of her policy positions. In the absence of any input from the candidate it's only natural that the media fill the vacuum by examining her brief political history of the Governor of Alaska and before that the Mayor of Wasilla, even her family life. She is trying very hard to be judged solely on her looks and her self-description as an agent of change. It isn't working. She is simply incapable of opening her mouth without jumping in with both feet. On the other hand the more she hides from the public the more people wonder what she has to hide. In mining terms, the preliminary dig has produced enough paydirt to finance further exploration.

Palin's attempt to look presidential by visiting several world leaders at the UN the other day was the last straw for the media. She set unprecedented rules that simply stated said, 'pictures, but no sound.' Reporters were expected to provide a photo opportunity with no questions as to the content or depth of her talks. This rubbed everyone the wrong way, bringing negative comments from everybody in the news media. And I mean everybody. (Countdown video: Palin vs. the Press) "You know when FOX "news" complains it's bad."

I can hardly wait for Letterman tonight. I'm sure by taping time today someone at CBS has told Dave about this post at Anonymous Liberal. It should make for some interesting late night TV. And as a parting note, I don't believe that the McCain campaign is in suspense at all. It's circling the bowl.

UPDATE: In this post from Glenn Greenwald, Glenn describes Palin's performance in the Couric interview as being so bad that he felt sorry for her. That's not good. And as John Aravosis points out, the Republican party is in such disarray that even their seasoned operatives are finding it hard to advance the agenda anymore.

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