Panicked Obama Campaign Accuses McCain Of Cheating At Saddleback

Well, it’s official: Barack Obama did poorly at the Saddleback Debate forum, and John McCain did tremendously well.

I don’t have to state this as an opinion: I can turn to the Obama campaign’s own reaction in the aftermath of the event.

The liberal Andrew Sullivan of the liberal Atlantic has this:

“The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because what they are putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well-prepared.”

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell stirred up the dirt with the completely unsubstantiated claim:

Mitchell reported that some “Obama people” were suggesting “that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well prepared.”

A McCain aide said that is not the case: “Senator McCain was in a motorcade led by the United States Secret Service and held in a green room with no broadcast feed.”

Mitchell made the comment in the context of saying McCain did better, and that the Obama camp was defensive. In response to the campaign’s letter, she pointed out that journalists get criticism from both sides.

“I wasn’t expressing an opinion,” Mitchell said. “I was reporting what they were saying.”

I wonder if she would have given the McCain campaign charge as much “impartial” coverage.

In any event, we are learning that John McCain was not actually inside the “cone of silence” the entire time Obama was speaking. He did not actually enter his “cone of silence” until half an hour into the program. He had been in a Secret Service motorcade, and then proceeding to the forum, for that half an hour.

Was McCain gaining an advantage by listening in during part of that half hour?

Let me point some things out:

First of all, let it be stated for the record that there is no possible way that McCain could have been listening for the entire half hour, but only for about half of that time when he was actually in the motorcade. During part of that time, Rick Warner was introducing the event. And the first couple questions were fairly personal.

Given the fact that McCain could not even possibly have listened in to the entire program, how do those who claim McCain cheated account for the fact that McCain’s answers were strong throughout the event? McCain wasn’t just “well prepared” for a few minutes; he was razor-sharp throughout.

Saddleback spokesman Larry Ross has said that the first couple of questions were released to the candidates in advance so they wouldn’t be nervous, and that the categories of question were also released beforehand. In fact, Larry Ross said that he actually gave Obama the third question beforehand (and Obama actually admitted “I cheated on this”) but was not able to tell McCain the question.

Finally, I would argue that, had John McCain actually listened to Barack Obama’s answers, it would only have rotted his brain with Obama’s long, drawn-out pontifications and actually harmed him.

Did anyone notice how many more questions McCain answered – because his answers were concise and to-the-point – than Barack Obama? How – by the Obama claim of listening in and cheating – did McCain prepare for those?

What I find most interesting is the panic from the Obama camp that this charge would come out, which implicitly acknowledges that their boy flopped, and the vindictiveness that making the claim of cheating without any actual evidence represents.

Barack Obama proved he is not only a loser, but a sore loser.

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