WASHINGTON--The McCain campaign conference call with campaign manager Rick Davis and senior strategist Steve Schmidt was organized to draw attention to the "Chicago Machine" spot launched Monday against Barack Obama. The McCain leadership team used the call to bash the New York Times coverage of their campaign.
The "Chicago Machine" ad will run the "depth and breadth" of battleground states and will be a "real buy," the McCain leadership team said. That "real buy" comment is a reference to this: sometimes campaigns produce videos and call them ads to get the attention of the press when the actual amount of time bought on television to show the ad (called the "buy") is tiny. In that case, the video is sort of like a press release. Political reporters who may ignore a press release--video or otherwise--will pay more attention to the contents and message if it is an ad.
Most of the more than dozen questions were about other matters--the economic rescue package a hot topic--but the second question was about a New York Times article in Monday's edition about how Davis was paid $30,000-a-month for five years to represent the Homeowners Alliance, established by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The meltdown of these mortgage companies helped trigger the U.S. financial crisis.
"We are first amendment absolutists on this campaign," Schmidt said. "Of course, it is constitutionally protected with regard to writing whatever they want to write. Let's be clear and be honest with each other. Whatever the New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization.
"It is a pro-Obama advocacy organization that every day, attacks the McCain campaign, attacks Gov. Palin and excuses Sen. Obama. .....it is 150 percent in the tank" for Obama.
Davis said on the call he has severed all ties more than a year ago to the Homeowners Alliance--created to thwart Congressional attempts to add regulations to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He has also taken a leave of absence from his firm.