McCain to media: Let's stay together

Author: Mike Madden

[Commentary] A week after clinching the Republican nomination for president, John McCain came back to New Hampshire to thank voters for putting him on the path that led there, with a campaign stop that could have been straight out of his 2000 run. With snow falling outside, he answered an hour's worth of questions from a packed, hot town hall full of voters. "I really think the town meeting is the environment I enjoy the most," he said afterwards. His visit to Exeter could be one of a dwindling number of chances for him to revel in that environment; when the event was over, he headed dutifully off to the latest in what has become a relentless series of fundraisers. But there's another environment McCain probably likes even more than town halls -- riding on the bus with the media, for an endless, rolling, mutually advantageous press conference. And now that too could be endangered. Offering reporters the sort of face time no other candidate gives them has clearly reaped rewards for John McCain in both the tone and content of press coverage. But if McCain is forced by the realities of being a presidential nominee to restrict that access, will his portrayal in the media change too? There is no question that McCain starts the general election out on much friendlier terms with the press than either Democrat, despite conservative protests of a liberal media bias. And there's no question that it helps him. When he ran against George W. Bush eight years ago, McCain joked that the national media was his base. Then, the press wasn't quite enough to carry him through the campaign. This time around, facing a Democratic nominee who will almost certainly have more money and more enthusiastic supporters than he does, McCain may need that base even more.



Login to rate this headline.