McCain's 'Cone of Silence' Not So Quiet

Before the candidate forum at the Saddleback Church got underway on Saturday night, the Rev. Rick Warren explained that both candidates would get the exact same questions. Barack Obama would go first, and John McCain had been "safely placed ... in a cone of silence."

As it turns out, that's not quite right.
Members of the McCain campaign staff, who flew here Sunday from California, said Mr. McCain was in his motorcade on the way to the church as Mr. Obama was being interviewed by the Rev. Rick Warren, the author of the best-selling book "The Purpose Driven Life."
The matter is of interest because Mr. McCain, who followed Mr. Obama's hourlong appearance in the forum, was asked virtually the same questions as Mr. Obama. Mr. McCain's performance was well received, raising speculation among some viewers, especially supporters of Mr. Obama, that he was not as isolated during the Obama interview as Mr. Warren implied.
Nicolle Wallace, a spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, said on Sunday night that Mr. McCain had not heard the broadcast of the event while in his motorcade and heard none of the questions.
"The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous," Ms. Wallace said.

Now, I have no idea if McCain heard any of the questions, or if anyone on his staff gave him a heads-up on what to expect. The McCain campaign hasn't exactly operated with a high level of integrity, but we'll probably never know for sure. The Obama campaign is reportedly "not pursuing" this and I doubt it's a "story" with legs.

That said, I can't help but notice that Nicolle Wallace, a veteran of Karl Rove's shop, responded to a question about this by reminding us that McCain is "a former prisoner of war."

I'm afraid the campaign took a right turn at embarrassing, and is headed straight for ridiculous.

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