Cindy McCain, the wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, released a summary of her 2006 income tax return Friday prompting media members to quickly make negative comparisons between what she revealed and what Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) wife disclosed to the public in October 2004.
Most notable was the New York Times which in characterizing Teresa Heinz Kerry's 2003 income as being less than Cindy's in 2006 completely ignored its own October 16, 2004, article revealing as much as $50 million Teresa made in "trusts of which she is the beneficiary" not included in her personal tax filing.
Isn't that convenient?
Let's begin our examination with Saturday's Times piece (emphasis added, h/t Redstate, picture courtesy AP):
Breaking news! A parallel universe does indeed exist, and either John Harwood or I inhabit it. The irrefutable evidence came this evening, as Harwood of CNBC/NYT claimed that Michelle Obama will be—albeit slightly–more of an asset to her husband's campaign than will Cindy McCain to that of her spouse.
Here was Harwood's response on this evening's Race for the White House to a question from host David Gregory about the respective roles the two spouses will play in the coming campaign.
JOHN HARWOOD: Yes, look, I don't know how you match up spouses, and obviously people generally speaking aren't going to vote on that. Cindy McCain looks a little bit more exotic, she's a little richer than Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama has a little bit more of the average, middle-class housewife look about her, she's got young kids. So, I'm not sure there's a big advantage for either side, if I had to give any I'd say slight advantage to Michelle Obama.
CNN correspondent Carol Costello compared Cindy McCain to a "Stepford Wife" due to her "low key" role in her husband’s campaign so far, in a segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room." Costello, detailing Mrs. McCain’s recent photo spread in Vogue magazine, stated the feature "projects an image quite unlike the Cindy McCain we see on the trail," and a talking head described this "Cindy McCain we see" as "low key... taking the traditional role of standing by her husband's side at events." Costello then quipped, "A role critics say makes Mrs. McCain look like -- well, Glenn Close in the movie ‘The Stepford Wives.’" [audio available here]
On the other hand, Costello described Michelle Obama’s Vogue spread more glowingly: "...Michelle Obama chose a traditional black dress with pearl earrings for her Vogue spread. As The Washington Post described it, it was if Michelle Obama was saying 'I am not some scary other.... I am Camelot with a tan.'"
The "Today" show's Ann Curry interviewed Cindy McCain on Thursday morning and got her to promise that the McCain campaign won't go negative. However Curry, herself, repeatedly pressed a point that is sure to be part of a, not-so-quiet, whisper campaign against the Arizona Senator this fall--that he's too old to be President. [audio available here]
ANN CURRY: And she laughed when asked if she has any concerns about his age. You're laughing. Why are you smiling about that?
CINDY MCCAIN: Come spend the day with us.
CURRY: I mean there's never been an older president, at 71. So you've got, this, this is a fair question.
MCCAIN: It is a fair question.
CURRY: And you've seen, as a wife of a senator, what that job does to the men elected to it.
MCCAIN: I would challenge anybody who has a question about his age to come travel with us for a day, on the campaign, because I have to pull off sometimes. He's too much for me. This is about experience. This is a man, who not only has experience, but has the, the, the compass that his life's skills and his life experiences have given him.
CURRY: Can't take away the numbers. 71?
The following is the full interview as it occurred on the May 8, "Today" show:
Michelle Obama proclaimed that “for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” but instead of putting the burden on the Obama campaign to defend her admission of a lack of pride in her nation, NBC on Tuesday night framed its coverage around Cindy McCain's “rhetoric” in issuing a “political jab” over the remark and concern over whether that “was a knock at Michelle Obama?” But at least NBC highlighted the comment from Monday. ABC's World News didn't utter a word about it while CBS's Jim Axelrod pointed out how the Obama “campaign says don't slice apart the quote to infer she's not a patriot.”
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams set up the story: “For the Republicans, the rhetoric today was also largely about words. And today it involved the wife of the frontrunner, Cindy McCain.” Kelly O'Donnell relayed how “the most memorable political jab of the day did not come” from John McCain but from Cindy McCain who declared “I'm proud of my country.” O'Donnell treated that as an attack which required justification: “Asked directly if this was a knock at Michelle Obama, John McCain steered clear.”