Newspaper logo  
Local Gov’t Stories, Events


Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

10.24 Inside big pharma's fight to block recreational marijuana

10.24 We sent a vegetarian to see if meatless burgers can convert carnivores

10.23 Dear Donald Trump: I'm an OB-GYN. There are no 9-month abortions.

10.23 China’s Wind Co. Profits, share price soar by 60%: 2 Turbines an Hour being Installed

10.23 The world’s first tidal energy farm could power 175,000 homes [similar project is underway in the Bay of Fundy]

10.22 Law to cut sex-selective abortions in Armenia 'putting lives at risk'

10.22 US energy shakeup continues as solar capacity set to triple

10.22 A three-bed house with £500 energy bills? How you too can slash your costs

10.22 Highlighting Damage of Lack of Clinic Funding, CDC Says STDs at All-Time High

10.22 Three Massive Mergers—Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate

10.21 Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump on science, energy, and the climate

10.21 That's 4 straight debates without a single question on climate change. Good job, everyone.

10.21 Bottled Water or Tap: How Much Does Your Choice Matter?

10.21 We are approaching the Trumpocene, a new epoch where climate change is just a big scary conspiracy

10.21 Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded

10.21 Onshore windfarms more popular than thought, UK poll finds

10.21 Europe's offshore wind industry booming as costs fall

News Media Matters

10.23 The Crackdown on Dakota Access Pipeline Reporters Shows the Vital Role of Independent Media

10.23 How media outlets from around the world are reacting to the presidential campaign

10.22 Documentary film-makers face decades in prison for taping oil pipeline protests

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

10.23 AIR TRUMP: A SHORT PLAY [parody]


10.22 The Huge Corporate Tax Cut Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Talk About [is double-taxation on foreign income normal or out of step?]

10.22 Bernie Looks Ahead

Justice Matters

10.24 Police and hired assassins are killing land rights defenders. Let's end this violence

10.24 Tunisian coalition party fights for women's rights with gender violence bill

10.22 Senators Want to Know: Who's Actually Being Held Accountable at Wells Fargo?


10.20 Mass incarceration in America, explained in 22 maps and charts

High Crimes?

10.24 Philippines senator calls for Duterte to face crimes against humanity inquiry

Economics, Crony Capitalism

10.24 How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul

10.24 Elizabeth Warren Warns Democrats Not To Cave On Corporate Tax Reform

10.23 Super-size my superyacht: the quest for bigger boats and gadgets


10.22 We Never Voted for Corporate Rule

10.21 Capitalism Is Doomed — Without Alternatives, So Are We


10.24 The Turks want Mosul and Aleppo "back."

10.24 Diary

10.24 Young, female and determined: how millennial social entrepreneurs are changing the world

10.24 Q&A: what happens now to the Calais refugees?

10.23 America, land of opportunity? Not for young people, study says

10.20 Elon Musk says fully self-driving Tesla cars already being built

10.19 Everything You Need to Know About the Momentous Habitat III

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
This site Web
  McCain's 'Cone of Silence' Caper
Newspaper logo


McCain's 'Cone of Silence' Caper

by Robert Parry

August 18, 2008—Millions of Americans who watched Barack Obama and then John McCain respond to nearly identical questions from evangelical minister Rick Warren were surely impressed by McCain’s quick and sharp answers. Supposedly he had been in a “cone of silence” while Obama was getting grilled during the preceding hour.

However, as it turned out, TV viewers and other Americans were misled. McCain had not been in any “cone of silence” shielding him from hearing Warren’s questions and Obama’s answers.

On Saturday night as Obama was on stage, McCain was in his motorcade on the way to the church and thus would have had access through his staff to the questions and how Obama had answered them.

When McCain came on the set, he played along with the fiction about being in a “cone of silence,” joking that “I was trying to hear through the wall.”

McCain then proceeded to knock the questions out of the proverbial park, impressing not only the audience at Rev. Warren’s Saddleback Church in California, but the political pundits who spent the next two days praising McCain’s performance and judging him the clear winner over Obama.

For instance, New York Times columnist William Kristol declared that it was “McCain’s night” and marveled at how “McCain, who went second, was crisp by contrast [to Obama] and his anecdotes colorful.”

Kristol also mocked grousing from Obama’s aides that McCain may have had access to the questions beforehand. “There’s no evidence that McCain had any such advantage,” Kristol wrote in his Monday column.

However, in the same newspaper, New York Times reporters discovered that the assertion by Warren that McCain had been in some “cone of silence” wasn’t true.

“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,” wrote reporter Katharine Q. Seeyle.

Still, McCain’s staff bristled at suggestions that McCain listened to the broadcast while en route to the church.

“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” said McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace. [NYT, Aug. 18, 2008]

What McCain’s Vietnam War-era POW status had to do with this wasn’t clear. But it was clear that Warren’s assurance that “we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence” wasn’t true, nor was McCain’s light-hearted remark about trying to hear through the wall.

If McCain did get pre-briefed on what questions to expect, it would be reminiscent of the presidential debate in 1980 when someone from Ronald Reagan’s campaign stole President Jimmy Carter’s debate briefing book and allegedly used it to coach Reagan’s responses.

Robert ParryRobert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to

This article is republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2008 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on August 19, 2008.


Public Service Ads: