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CNN, John McCain's camp at odds following confrontational Campbell Brown interview

In one of those moments a network executive would excitingly term "great TV," CNN's Campbell Brown and John McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds clashed on air Monday over vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's foreign policy credentials.

Tensions -- and voices -- rose after the anchorwoman told Bounds that she was just "trying to get someone from the campaign to explain what foreign policy experience [Palin] has." Bounds repeatedly skirted the question, choosing instead to criticize Barack Obama's lack of executive experience.

"All right, Tucker," Brown said as she ended the segment with a broad, sarcastic smile. "I'm just going to give it to ya, baby."

The clip was much in demand today -- and, CNN revealed, the McCain camp made clear it was not pleased.

This afternoon, anchorman Wolf Blitzer announced on air that McCain's planned interview with Larry King tonight had been canceled by the campaign. Blitzer said McCain aides complained that Brown had gone "over the line" in her grilling of Bounds.

McCain campaign spokeswoman Maria Comella later explained the cancellation with this sharply worded statement:

"After a relentless refusal by certain on-air reporters to come to terms with John McCain’s selection of Alaska’s sitting governor as our party’s nominee for vice president, we decided John McCain’s time would be better served elsewhere."

Meanwhile, ABC News announced that it would be broadcasting "the only interview" with McCain during the week's Republican National Convention. Charles Gibson will handle the questioning, and the network will dole it out -- parts will air Wednesday on "World News Tonight" and "Nightline" and Thursday on "Good Morning America."

UPDATE: Jon Klein, president of CNN, has issued a statement in support of Brown's interview. "Campbell Brown did what journalists do," Klein said Tuesday evening. "She asked fair and important questions in a respectful way and was simply trying to get a straight answer to a straightforward question."

-- Kate Linthicum

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I don't get this whole "Why is Gloria being gagged" schtick. Huh? This is not about that? Well, who is acting childish this time? The Republicans? All of them? Ok, I am not really surprised. Censuring the media isn't going to help them now is it. Maybe that is what brown meant when she called Tucker "Baby".

How sad that Tucker Bounds gets owned and John McCain takes his ball and goes home. Is that how he is going to handle difficult international situations? Quit and go home?

I guess Campbell Brown didn't get the talking points memo, "you are not to say anything bad or asking tough questions as it relates to Sarah Palin. If you do, you are going to be accused of being over the line or accused of being sexist".

Let Tucker go to Faux news and answer the softball questions. Campbell Brown for vice president!

I guess McCain will stick to FOX ntework - a safe port in this storm

Between vettinggate, troopergate, earmarkgate, and babygate, it appears that McCain has added a new word to the dictionary.

Palin (pay lin), verb, palined, palining. – 1. to make career ending mistake thru shear stupidity, laziness or lack of attention to details: example - The senator palined his presidential bid with his v.p. pick. syn. senile
2. to fire an employee for refusing to do unethical or illegal activities; example - The Attorney General palined the eight federal prosecutors.
3. be against government programs from which you previously benefited; example - The governor now palins earmarks. – syn. hypocrite.
4. to force abstinence education instead of realistic sex education on high schools students; example - The teenage pregnancy rate in Alaska skyrocketed after the governor palined the local school board. -syn. delusion.

I think That Tucker Bounds did not answer Campbell's question. He is a classic side stepper. Palin has no foreign policy experience. McCain has no distinct record of being different than George Bush. Hopefully the American people will see past this politcal sidestepping of the Bush, I mean McCain campaign.

Every female voter should be very upset at the sexism involved with the media. First it was Hillary and now Sarah. If Sarah were a man, she would not be getting grilled this way. Absoloutely disgusting! For the first time in my life, I will do a protest vote against my own party and pull the lever for Palin.

Give me a break....McCain is only letting Charles Gibson interview him?! Is that Gibson's reward for conducting the Most Embarrassing Display by the Media in Television History...his moderation of the Democratic Presidential Debate?

I love to watch the Republicans implode. I've been waiting 20 years for these mean-spirited people to finally get theirs. They have left so many people without hope. Now it's their turn.

Poor old Republican whiners and cry babies. Tucker sounded and looked like a rebuffed TV evangelist. When you listen to a TV evangelist word for word, you realize how empty their rhetoric is.

I guess McCain found him on Mr. Tucker Bounds on Ebay too.

All we need is another four years of Bush policies with John Mc Cain and his gun totin' running mate,, Annie Oakley, who doesn't care about the environment - typical Bush stuff - isn't this country in bad enough shape - and McCain wants to continue the war - another war monger with more and more killings -

What I love most about this is how the McCain camp gets up in arms because of attention directed at Palin's lack of foreign relations experience while it shifts it's attack on Obama's lack of foreign relations experience to lack of "executive" experience. Can you smell, er... spell hypocrisy?

Wow! Censoring the media...go figure. Way to go Campbell for doing just what journalist are suppose to do--ask the though questions. The interview was valid. Media shouldn't be involved in spin! She asked valid questions and asked for valid examples...Tucker couldn't provide any!

Great ethical unbiased, unspun Journalism!

About damn time reporters give these talking points spewers some fire under their feet. Is it too much to ask for debate questioners to not take the pablum and be able to tell everyone - sorry but you aren't answering the question? Anyway, Campbell Brown is a star and I hope she never backs down.

How can Campbell Brown breathe when she's that far in the tank for the Obama campaign?

Wow, so this is what passes for a "confrontational" interview in today's climate? This should be the norm.

Campbell Brown's interview with Tucker ? was wonderful. Campbell did something that most American reporters seem unwilling to do, demand an answer to their question. Its time that American politicians are held to a similar standard as their European counterparts. There is a reason that the White House avoided press conferences where George Bush appeared along side Tony Blair. I don't think Bush dared to visit Ireland again after being interviewed by an Irish women reporter. What an impact the monies funding the presidential campaign would make if used to support American citizens. It could raise the education level of the populace, combat poverty or provide health care. Campbell and the CNN reporters need to continue to make the political parties responsible to American citizens. If the candidates can't or refuse to answer questions it highlights their inadequacies to the American public. Please demand answers from both presidential candidates. We depend on you!!

For heaven's sake, Campbell was asking a question and was looking for an answer. There was nothing agressive or even feisty about it. Just a journalist asking a question and hoping for an answer.
Campbell, you are doing okay. I hope they are paying you enough.
Cheers, Peter


I've had enough "foreign policy" to last for a loooonnnggg time...

This post is from a GOP 'insider'. I've seen the exact wording on several blogs and talk backs:

" ...I will do a protest vote against my own party and pull the lever for Palin."

Classic GOP

"Every female voter should be very upset at the sexism involved with the media. First it was Hillary and now Sarah. If Sarah were a man, she would not be getting grilled this way. Absoloutely disgusting! For the first time in my life, I will do a protest vote against my own party and pull the lever for Palin."

Open your eyes. The McCain camp has been flying the whole "experience is everything and Obama has none" flag for months and now it's being thrown back at his pick for VP.

It's not sexist at all.

Kudos to the McCain camp for standing up to the left-wing media!!! Campbell Brown's relentless badgering of Tucker Bounds is indicative of the overwhelming liberal bias in today's press. Her smugness at the end of the Q&A with Brown only showed that she was not after answers to substantive questions but attempting to expose Palin's perceived weaknesses and elevate O'bama as the better candidate. Bounds not only answered the questions but he did it honorably and in a dignified way. Let the biasness and political punditry happen in a moderated debate, not on a liberal press outlet that falsely professes even-handedness and objectivity!! At least Charlie Gibson possesses the kind of class that is deserved of an exclusive interview with a presidential candidate!!

Liberal media? Has anyone watched the hate speech broadcast on Fox News? Thanks to CNN for offering some kind of response to the propaganda.

>>>First it was Hillary and now Sarah. If Sarah were a man,
>>>she would not be getting grilled this way.

That's completely false.

If she were a man with a year and a half as governor, no
foreign policy experience whatsoever, who preached abstinence
but was unable to get the message through to his own daughter,
and who tried to use political power to get people fired for personal
reasons, then he would get exactly the same treatment.

Having foreign policy experience has nothing to do with
gender. It has to do with creating and voting on foreign
policies, as McCain, Obama, and Biden all have. Obama
has been at it for less time, but he is on the Senate Foreign
Relations subcommittee and has authored a couple of bills
of foreign policy that have been voted in and approved by
President Bush.

Let me see if I understand -- Campbell tried to ask the questions for which we listenrs want answers. Because she pushed for the truth, CNN & America is being punished, We must receive all of our information after it has been sanitized by the "Camp". It seems to me that I recall learning of this type of activity in 5th grade Social Studies class. This is when we learned about communism and dictatorship. Is this what we Americans will have to look forward to if McCain/Palin win in November. Excuse me, but I thought this was America, the land of Free Speech!.

Way to go totally rock! I was cheering you all the way!!!

It's total insanity to watch the Republicans try to work with one or two ridiculous talking points they've been told to stick to and all the while try to convince themselves of this ridiculous pick for Vice President.

What planet are we on? Who are those people?

I'm scared and think they are more of a threat than Al Qaeda.

The best comment for both the Democratic and Republican side can simply stated here:

Politics aside, I used to like Campbell Brown; however, the Bounds 'interview' left me turning down the volume. This is the third and LAST time I will endure the 'nagging wife ' approach to questioning... perserverance is expected, but the shrillness rose to a timbre of a cat-fight and frankly,as a woman, I am sadly becoming embarrassed by her.

@Common Sense "If Sarah were a man, she would not be getting grilled this way."

Remember during the Democratic primary when MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked Senator Kirk Watson about Obama's accomplishments and Senator Watson did not reply? The media has grilled Obama relentlessly. Do you believe that Palin should be spared from equal grilling because she is a woman?

I think Campbell Brown handled the interview very well, she is not backing off getting the "real" answers. Why is it okay for some women to be tough and stand toe to toe with men but not others?

To common sense @ 6:09pm
A man wasn't grilled the way Palin is? Are you in a fog? Do you remember any of the treatment the repubs gave to Obama? You are casting a "protest vote"? Why? Who is that going to hurt? I don't have children McSame can send to die in a senseless war, I don't have a daughter that is seeing an unmarried girl glamorized for being pregnant. It was the same "R" party that criticized the Spears daughter for the same behavior; but it's only wrong for others not the people you like.

When you cast that 'protest' vote; just remember you get what you deserve.

After you and the disgruntled PUMAs cast their angry votes, will the R party embrace your issues in gratitude? Will they include any of your concerns for the environment (assuming you have them); the future energy policy? support real sex education, not the stuff that 'worked so well for Ms Palin"?

Once your vote is cast, it may as well be in stone as there will be no going back.

I am a woman who marched for women's rights; I still will not vote for anything in a skirt/pant suit. I want quality!

Palin IS trailer trash and so is her non-abstinence practicing family.

CNN should invite Obama to take the space of McCain for a Larry King interview.

I agree with johnthebaptist, Ms Brown for VP! If Ms Palin were a man, she would not be the nominee.

If Palin were a man she wouldn't have been selected as V.P. by McCain. Where is the sexism?
No one has said because she is a woman she isnt capable of being the V.P, we are saying she is not experienced enough to be the V.P. If I could be guaranteed she would never need to step in and take over the Presidency, I would probably say "what the heck", whats the big deal, but unfortunately no one can guarantee that, so I won't take that chance.

Tucker Bounds' repeating of the memorized statement (talking points) as a means of refusing (or being unable) to answer Campbell Brown's question, represents in a classic way the typical Republican double-speak about which Scott McClellan wrote in his book "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception." Republicans' refusal to speak in anything but generalities translates as a total lack of substance in what it offers the American public.

She's not capable of being president. It is so very scary.

Excuse me, but I think what was over the line was Ms Brown's repeated questions regarding Mrs Palin's daugter. Barack Obama has strongly condemed dragging a canidate's family into the political discourse and that is exactly what Ms Brown did...repeatedly.

This is pretty amazing that the McCain campaign got offended by this campaign. Campbell was polite and courteous, but did her job as a journalist and kept asking for an answer to her question.

If the McCain campaign can't handle answering hard questions, would a McCain administration be any different? I think not.

We don't need a government that shames us for asking questions, we need one that is open and transparent.

I used to have a great deal of respect for John McCain, right up until he won the nomination. It's unfortunate to see someone whom you have previously admired go so far down the tubes.

Campbell Brown did a good job. Now, if the rest of the so-called reporters would stop just accepting the talking points, without thought, without analysis, without using any common sense.

McCain has a checkered history: his adultery, the Keating Five, his temperament, his jokes and language (what did he call his wife?), his inconsistencies and backtracking, the ludicrous gut decision for his VP... and what do we get when he or his people are interviewed? "Oooh... such service to his country.... he was tortured, you know." Arggh.

I'm gonna say it since no one there seems to have the guts to. He was tortured: that's very sad, but so what!? That has NOTHING to do with being qualified to be President; frankly, I would worry what torture and 5 years of captivity would do to someone's brain.

If the US elects this man and Caribou Barbie, it is lost.

I literally hold my face in my hands in desperation when I see the logic of these people. I liked John McCain. I respected him. Now I know he is not fit to be President. The guy doesn't think.

The attack on Plain is nothing but liberal democrats running scared. It shows how gutless and cowardice they are. To throw the Palin family under the media bus like they did is disgusting. Shows how much liberals hate women. The party of the pro savery movement has not changed in over 150 years. Democrats have turned to evil to advance their agenda.

I saw the exchange live and Campbell Brown was way out of line. Unbelievable that CNN has never pressed anyone from the Obama campaign this way in the entire 19 months he's been running. Gov Palin has been on the scene just over a week and the media is in full character assasination mode.
Keep it up Campbell, everytime you attack Gov Palin thousands of voters sympathize with her instead of you and your sorry ilk. You too Wolfe!

Campbell Brown could not get Tucker Bound to give her a straight answer. She did an excellent job trying to get the truth out of Bound. 5 stars for her interview!!!!

I am so shocked at the treatment doled out by the shrewish Campbell Brown about Sarah Palin's selection. Also, she attacked Sarah's ability as a mother at another time, and David Gergen corrected her. You could tell Gergen was really offended. This is UTTER SEXISM.

To Common Sense:

This has to do with Sarah as a person. Is she whines about a few questions of tv, how would she handle world dictators?

Sarah is a token pick, and that puts your party over your country.

Dear common sense, just because we are women does not mean we are weak or unable to take the heat. Clinton took the heat and proved how strong she was. If Sarah Palin cannot take being questioned or vetted over her ability to be president, that's right, president - in case McCain becomes too old or infirm - then she is not prepared for the job - one of the toughest on earth. Questioning her resume and preparedness is not sexist, it is important for our country. If we knew her we would not have to do it - but all we know is what the republicans tell us - and they can't be trusted on this!

the fact of the matter here is tucker did make an effort to answer the question , but bulldog faced campbell would not let the man speak. this is just another classic example of The Obama Loving News Network. CNN=OLNN. "Kiss Kiss We Love You Obama" you made our ratings rise during the dnc, we are eternally in your debt. the fact that you cannont report objectively goes to show that as newspeople you are literally owned by time warner and you will do just as you are told or else you might get fired. like obama on the issues you'll sacrifice your convictions to safely maintain your job. what a bunch of sellouts, i really thought the central news negotiators (cnn) were above that, i guess not

Ms. Brown: It's good to see that you Liberals are actually concerned about Sarah Palin's credentials to be VP! She has enough experience to do the job as Vice President, which is more than I can say for Obama. Maybe when Obama or Biden go on Fox News (A REAL NEWS CHANNEL), and actually get questioned by O'Reilly or Hannity, perhaps then we'll get some real answers about Barrack Obama! We already know what "Pit Bull" Biden's all about, so there's really no hurry to hear from him.

In the meantime, put down the kool-aide, it's really not good for you!

On the bright side, we don't have to suffer through Larry King tossing softballs at McCain. Eh, it was worth it, Campbell.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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