In the midst of media hype for “insider” Scott McClellan's attacks on the Bush White House, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CBS's Katie Couric prompted a revelation from McClellan that undermines the presumption he's any kind of partisan Republican or conservative ideologue. They asked a question NBC's Meredith Vieira did not in two lengthy live segments on Thursday's Today show: Will he vote for John McCain? He told both Raddatz and Courtic that he's “intrigued by Senator Obama's message,” also confirming to Couric that he's no conservative as he praised John McCain as “someone who has certainly governed from the center, and that's where I come from.” So why not vote for him over the left-wing Obama? But Couric wondered: “There's some feeling this will tarnish the candidacy of John McCain. Do you support John McCain?” McClellan conceded: “I haven't made a decision....”
On ABC's World News, Raddatz touted the ambivalence as a “change” though McClellan's self-identification as a centrist may suggest otherwise: “To show how truly big a change McClellan's made, he's even considering voting for a Democrat.” After he told her “I'm intrigued by Senator Obama's message,” she followed up: “So you haven't made up your mind about a candidate, which means you haven't decided whether you'll vote Democratic or Republican?” McClellan demurred: “I haven't made any decision.”
Couric's most loaded question:
Do you feel any sense of guilt that the Iraq war, which you helped sell to the American people, has resulted in the loss of life for thousands of American soldiers?
McClellan's admission makes more understandable his choice of a publisher. My Wednesday night NewsBusters posting, “McClellan's Publisher a Liberal: Advances Soros & Slams Limbaugh,” detailed how McClellan went with a liberal publisher with ties to Bush-haters.
The online version of Couric's interview highlighted McClellan's voting orientation, “McClellan: I'm 'Intrigued' By Obama; Ex-WH Press Secretary Tells CBS News Obama's Message Is Like Bush's in 2000.” (The posted transcript does not match what was aired, see below.)
ABCNews.com posted the online version of the Raddatz session with McClellan under a headline that does not touch on his political views, “McClellan: I Became What I Wanted to Change; ABC's Martha Raddatz Interviews Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.”
The relevant portions of the interviews aired Thursday night, May 29:
From ABC's World News:
MARTHA RADDATZ: To show how truly big a change McClellan's made, he's even considering voting for a Democrat.
SCOTT McCLELLAN: I'm intrigued by Senator Obama's message.
RADDATZ TO McCLELLAN: So you haven't made up your mind about a candidate, which means you haven't decided whether you'll vote Democratic or Republican?
McCLELLAN: I haven't made any decision.
From the CBS Evening News:
COURIC: There's some feeling this will tarnish the candidacy of John McCain. Do you support John McCain?
McCLELLAN: I haven't made a decision. I have a lot of admiration and respect for Senator McCain. He is someone who has certainly governed from the center, and that's where I come from. I also am intrigued by Senator Obama's message. It's a message that is very similar to the one that Governor Bush ran on in 2000.