McCain Campaign’s non-denial denial and McCain’s character

More on McCain’s breaking the rules of the Saddleback Civil Forum and seemingly making a liar out of Pastor Rick Warren.

Mark is right that the McCain campaign’s over-the-top response to the possibility that McCain was advantaged by his breaking the Saddleback Civil Forum rules is a non-sequitur.

It’s also worth noting that his spokesperson, Nicolle Wallace, with all the credibility that comes from her prior work as George W. Bush’s “communications director,” only denied that McCain himself had heard the broadcast or the questions. He could have been advantaged by staffers feeding him answers or topics, without his having personally heard any of the questions.

Pastor Rick Warren, who introduced the forum by saying “…We have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence,” and who has said how important integrity is to leadership, needs to explain how he feels about being made out to be a liar by his “friend” John McCain.

Also, if John McCain is willing now to flout the rules of his friend the Pastor, what does that say about his character? Does it say that his time as a POW did not change his lack of respect for rules that caused him to be “on restriction” for most of his time at the Naval Academy? Would he really be a change from Bush/Cheney in respect for the law?

Update: The Saddleback CIvil Forum Media Team response to my email inquiry about whether Pastor Rick Warren was concerned about John McCain undermining the Pastor’s reputation for truthfulness is at the jump. They now say the “cone of silence” was only metaphorical and that only a gentleman’s agreement was in place to prevent the McCain campaign from taking advantage of knowledge of the questions to Senator Obama.

Second Update The non-denial about whether McCain learned of the questions indirectly continues. It does seem that Saddleback was naive about what it would take to isolate a candidate in the age of cell phones and blackberries.

Thank you for your inquiry about the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency and the metaphorical use of the term “cone of silence.” There were several parameters and agreements regarding the ground rules for conducting the Civil Forum, one of which was the agreement between Pastor Warren and the campaign teams that they would honor the request to neither listen or watch whomever went first so as to keep a level playing field. This was established at the onset of scheduling the event.

Once it was determined that Senator Obama would go first in the program — which was two consecutive conversations with the presumed presidential nominees, Senator McCain’s team agreed that they would not listen to Senator Obama’s session with Pastor Warren. On the evening of the event, we are assured by Senator McCain’s staff that while he was in the motorcade that there was no audio feed into his automobile, and once he arrived on campus, he was in a separate room outside of the auditorium which did not have audio or video feed, as well.

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