Newspaper logo  
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education

10.09 The Ongoing Destruction of Public Education

10.06 Teachers vs. Prisons

Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

10.09 Climate Change “Tipping Points” and the Fate of the Earth

10.09 End of Life Care: 'We're Reluctant to Talk About Death'

10.09 Jane Goodall Interview: 'Even Chimps Understand Sustainability'

10.09 One in three young Chinese men will die from smoking, study says

10.09 Four more carmakers join diesel emissions row

10.09 Poland’s second city to ban coal use after anti-smog law approved

10.08 Cars, aviation, steel ... the stranded assets risk spreads far beyond fossil fuel firms

10.08 How a Manmade Tidal Lagoon Could Change the Future of Clean Energy

10.08 L.A.'s New 'Energy Atlas' Maps Who Sucks the Most Off the Grid

10.07 California governor signs bill legalizing physician-assisted suicide

10.07 The Clean-Energy Moonshot

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

10.09 It took me two hours to get my hands on an AK-47. Welcome to America

10.08 Planned Parenthood's Cecile Richards: 'In this election, Roe v Wade is on the ballot'

10.08 'The goal is to be the winner': Donald Trump's campaign is for real

10.08 The Future of U.S. Voting May Be U.K. Technology

10.07 The Counted: 'Forced to fire'

10.07 Gun demanding: the psychology of why people want firearms

10.07 Bill Ackman's latest wager: Bloomberg for president

10.07 The Populist Prophet

10.06 Stephen Colbert to Donald Trump: ‘There Is Zero Chance’ You’ll Be President [7:58 video]

10.06 Watch John Oliver Explain Broken U.S. Mental Health System [11:54 video]

Justice Matters

10.08 Donald Trump takes campaign against windfarms to UK supreme court

10.08 Can California Prevent Wage Discrimination Against Women?

High Crimes?

10.06 U.S. General Says Afghans Requested Airstrike That Hit Kunduz Hospital

Economics, Crony Capitalism

10.09 My Plan to Prevent the Next Crash

10.08 Hillary Clinton Abandons Obama on Trade

10.07 The Corporate-Friendly World of the T.P.P.

10.07 The Good (and Bad) News About Poverty and Global Trade

10.06 Obama faces TPP deal balancing act as Congress considers approval


10.09 Living in a steel box: are shipping containers really the future of housing?

10.08 In the Montréal Area, 82 Municipalities Begin to Think and Act As One

10.08 All You Need Is Love [An old, true story with a timeless, powerful lesson]

10.08 Ready or Not, the Third Intifada May Be Here [Dear Netanyahu, read the story, above and ponder]

10.07 Nato’s bombs fall like confetti, not containing conflict but spreading it

10.07 Afghan hospital bombing: MSF demands investigation under Geneva conventions

10.07 Activists: Russia, Syria launch coordinated military attack on Assad opponents [2:13 video]

10.07 Boko Haram Has Killed 600 Nigerian Teachers, Displaced 19,000: Teachers Union [Why does the most barbaric behavior in the world have an Islamic basis?]

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: