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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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campbell brown must have missed her pms pills. her angry liberal bias is showing

Commonsense, you are an infant.
Gorepan, that is the funniest post I've seen. Please keep it up!

Another thing that I don't understand is this whole bit about Palin not being able to be VP because she is a mom. How did feminism reach a point where women can't be VP because they are moms, but men can be president when they are dads?

I have really been searching hard to know what experience Sarah Palin brings to the table and this interview was one more sidestep the McCain camp takes to avoid an issue. "Common Sense" does not think Sarah Palin is being treated fairly, but all the people are trying to find out is what makes her the best qualified, and we hear no answers. And when we ask, we get accused of picking on her because she is a woman. And let's remember that Campbell Brown is a woman and just ran circles around Tucker. Can we say that Campbell is picking on him because he's a man?

And now John McCain is upset over the scrutiny by the media to get answers (or fears he will be asked the same question) and thinks that ignoring the media will make them go away. Ignoring them will only raise more questions. I thought McCain was a man that could take a little pressure. If his camp is unable to answer simple questions, how can we trust him to answer the really tough ones that come with being President?

Tucker could not answer her simple and apt question, so she is over the line? But its fine that he accused her, unwarrantedly, that she was disrespecting the office of governor? He sidestepped the question which deserves to be answered since the Republicans initiated the whole question of experience. Its understandable that Tucker couldn't answer the question, because apparently there was nothing with which to answer it.

Tucker Bounds did not and could not answer the question. No one knows anything about Sarah Palin except that she comes from Alaska. Even John McCain doesn't. What we are seeing is damage-control that is in fact backfiring. This makes the McCain camp look silly ... and frankly they are. Censoring the media is not the way to do it. If you can't answer the question, you can only be upset with yourself. It has nothing to do with being a woman (as suggested by Common Sense"). McCain did no vetting whatsoever, combined with bad communication skills in the Republican Party, and egocentric sidesteppers (like Tucker), you get nothing but a huge mess. Who do you want to vote for in November?

McCain has proven himself to be the biggest flip-flopper in history. After campaigning about "Affirmative Action" in his own state, he makes a decision to appoint a mediocre Palin as VP just to have a token female on the ticket to attract Hillary voters.

McCain must believe that Americans supported Hillary during the Democratic campaign based solely on her gender. He is entirely wrong, which is why I am so angry. We supported Hillary because she has the skills to lead this country. Palin cannot hold an intellectual candle to Hillary, Biden, or Obama. What is McCain thinking?

Let's just hope America does not get fooled by McCain and his Manchurian candidate.

Common Sense: Cordially...if you can't stand the heat, get back in the kitchen.

I found Campball Brown's inteview, way over the "line" talk about reverse sexism, how dare she call Tucker "baby", she was was both rude and vulgar, and could not be more obvious concerning her own political views. I have watched CNN over the years and have always admired the anouncers, for their interviews, both the men and the woman on the political team are welll informed and I might add very fair to the candidates from both political parties. A spoiled mouthy brat like Ms. Brown has no place on this team or for that matter on a highly respected network like CNN

the irony here is that campbell brown is married to a neocon from the bush administration, dan senor.

for those not in the know, there is a war going on in the republican party right now between the neocons and the fundies. the neocons think that the fundies will be the death of the republican party as we know it. the fundies are irate at the neocons for not delivering on their promises to pass legislation on the social issues they care about. the brown/bounds tension on screen captured the essence of the debate in a very public way.

caught in the middle are the libertarians, who represent the purest strain of republican dogma. all we can do is look on in disgust at these two different forms of extremism.

The truth is, no democrat would never be asked to go into such detail about their "foreign policy" experience. Has Campbell ever asked questions like that of Obama? No, never. She treated him with kid gloves in the debates with Hillary (As mocked by SNL) CNN news is very pro-Democratic party and it shows.

I believe the comments and innuendo spewed forth by Obama surrogates is distasteful and disrespectful to the candidates. I also believe it is insulting to the process which has been a mantra for the Obama campaign beginning with Alice Palmer through Hillary Clinton and now John McCain and Mrs Palin.
Barak Obama has shown lack of leadership and judgement with regard to his stewardship of his infamous campaign through his inability to corral his 'followers' and their distasteful commentary. They are crude. This is a direct reflection on Barak Obama and his attitude of arrogance towards others and their actual accomplishments.

This is about a network campaigning for ONE specific candidate. She consistently asks..."I " want someone to tell "ME"....When , as a "journalist" do you place yourself above reporting facts, noyt your own personal opinion. That is why cnn is rated so low.....I am going back to watching FOX.

I think Campbell Brown did the right thing. I am tired of republican rhetoric about Sarah Palin's (Shocking Sarah) executive experience. If Tucker Bounds cannot give a single example of her experience or a single example of a decision that she has made, then it is only fitting that we, the voters, need to see shocking Sarah for what she is. If the republican response is to tuck their tails in-between their legs and sprint off to networks with softball questions, then their behavior underlines the fact that McCain made a mistake and the republicans know it. American voters are not stupid. We can see through the fudging....

I am a firm believer that a woman can perform any job as effectively as a man. Therefore, if a man running for president or vice president is going to get grilled, have all their dirty laundry aired, and all verbal gaffes posted, then it is fair game for a woman running for one of those positions. It is not sexism to apply the same scrutiny to all four of these high profile candidates. Besides, if a person can't handle these tough questions from the media then they shouldn't be running for one of the two highest positions in this country.

Note to all media and bloggers - DON'T INVOLVE THE CHILDREN, ABSOLUTELY NO RELEVANCE!!!!

I am a female and from the south. The condescending tone that Brown used just goes to show how biased the media really is. He did answer her questions. He did try to explain and when Brown coiuld not convince him to change his answer she threw in a good southern ladies comment for that's just a bunch of crap.

When did reporters stop being reporters and begin giving commentaries. Ask the question, listen to the answer and then let the public decide what was said. We really aren't so stupid that we don't know what we hear.

As for McCain not coming to the interview, why should he? If you aren't going to listen, if you are going to call him a lar (in a nice southern way of course) Why should he encourage people to watch you and help your ratings.

Considering how well ABC handled the democratic debate, maybe George S. caqn join his pal.

Mayhaps they can find out John's faovrite grilling recipes.

By the way, the best clip of the night was the RNC cio-chair referring to the nomination of Sarah PAWLENTY!

I have it up, in case you missed it.

Why would Mccain refuse to take questions, certainly Obama and his campaign had been questioned numerous times and they seem to handle it well. What is John Mccain running away from? Or is he not ready to answer a journalist question but ready to lead country.

So when is Barack Obama going on Fox for an interview? Oh yeah, it's only 'childish' when Republicans do it.

CNN is the Fox equivalent for Democratic party. Wake up folks.

The way Campbell Brown has treated both female candidates, you would think she was a male chauvenist, hiding in a skirt. She was horrible to Hillary, and now, she's doing the same thing with Palin. She must have some sort of inferiority complex when it comes to other women. Either that, or she's a paid Obama surrogate.

One more thing...

And when Campbell Brown stops throwing soft balls at Team Obama, then we can start to believe that she's a tough journalists asking fair questions. Seriously, you will never see Campbell asking Axlerod to name Obama's accomplishments nor will you see her trying to play gotcha with an Obama spokesperson. Rezko? Ayers? Wright? Nope. It's more important to probe the sex life of a 17 year daughter of the Republican VP pick or toting the talking points of the Daily Kos' kooky half-baked theories. Campell Brown is a stones throw away from the left-wing attack machine.

To the poster named "Common Sense"... you seem to be lacking in it. I don't descount your claims of sexism by the media, but to cast your vote for the opposite party you believe just because you are mad is immature. Your vote should be formed ONLY by who you feel will best lead this country forward. You people who are willing to ignore this and vote over emotion or to "get even" with the other party (or even worse, the "sexist media") make me sick. I don't care who you vote for... just do it for the right reasons.

Oh, and you are not "pulling the lever for Palin". You are voting for McCain. His, and only his name will be on the ballot for the Republicans. Know what you are talking about next time you post.

Common Sense, you must be one of those overblown PUMAs the talking heads got so hyperventilated about.

It's not sexism, it's the MSM doing their job--finally. Men have repeatedly been scrutinized like this, some times with disastrous results. Let's go back to 1972. His name was Thomas Eagleton, and he was George McGovern's VP pick. Although a long-serving Senator from Missouri, he was asked to withdraw by McGovern when the media revealed that Eagleton had been hospitalized on multiple occasions, and an unscrupulous newspaper reporter fabricated a hit piece against him.

I'm a woman, and my definition of sexism is having Palin tell me what I can and cannot do with my body. Shame on McCain for not taking seriously his responsibility for fully vetting a VP candidate--this doesn't reflect well on how he will approach the Presidency. A vote for Palin is a vote against women's rights. I'll pass.

Gorefan--your comment is pure genius! LMAO!

I am a lifelong Republican and former member of the media, I have no problem with Campbell Brown's line of questioning. Palin's lack of foreign policy experience is fair game just the way Barack Obama's lack of any real political experience is also fair game. All we want as Republicans is for the media to treat both sides the same way.
In other words, if the media is going to spend so much time on Palin's husband's DUI 22 years ago, why are we not also hearing about Obama's cocaine use about the same time frame?
Let's get real, mainstream media, and stopping taking sides and report the facts. If we are going to pick the right person to be President, we need to know all of the facts before making that decision. That is the #1 responsibility of the media.

It's about time a member of the much-maligned mainstream media actually tried to get a straight answer from somebody. Any body.

McCain's flack still hasn't answered the question. And his silly claim that Palin has foreign policy experience because she "commands" the Alaska National Guard would be laughable -- except when you realize he was serious.

Campbell Brown should be assigned 24/7 to buzz the so-called straight talk express.

And, I can't help but respond to the comment from "Common Sense" above:

I think every "female" candidate, just like any man running for office, would readily expect to have her or his past actions, positions, and experience (whatever there is) reviewed. Since the McCain campaign has done precious little to tell us about her (if they actually knew anything), somebody has to dig in to tell all of us prospective voters just who we're being asked to consider. Remember, my friend, we've already had at least 19 months -- and for some, decades -- to learn all we'd want to know, and more, about all of the other non-Palin candidates.

This isn't sexism. This is filling in the blanks.

If McCain can't deal with Larry King, how can he deal with Vladimir Putin?

Taylor Bounds was wrestling with possible replies and all the while watching a number of nightmare headlines dancing in front of his eyes. I've seen that look. I've worn that look.

I don't see how Campbell Brown can be faulted. She was doing what a good journalist is supposed to do. She was persistent, but not rude. This was not a harangue. The remark at the end was flip, but it was made in frustration -- a frustration I imagine most viewers would naturally share.

I'm an Obama supporter, but if I were in Bounds' position, I would respond with a sentence constructed as an affirmation. "Sarah Palin has been a mayor and a governor, offices that, by their nature, deal mostly with domestic political challenges. She also has ample executive experience, knows how to make decisions and has demonstrated good judgment. She will be part of a team with high foreign policy expertise overall and will have plenty of support. In this light, John McCain is confident in her ability to perform well in all areas."

This provides the admission Brown wants, but tacitly only. I don't see any better choices. Certainly, dragging the National Guard into the discussion provides very little help. McCain has not given his spokesmen anything like a strong hand to play here and declaring war on CNN probably makes matters worse.

That's the same clip that CNN showed explaining why McCain decided to bail. This is bogus, and focuses the discussion on the wrong issues (which are the lame Republican response to the experience question, or should I say, lack of response.)

The real reason is not shown. It was when Campbell went off on "Should Palin even be the VP with a special needs kid and the other issues at home."

As usual, CNN plays lose with the facts.

I agree with the McCain campaign that Campbell Brown crossed the line in her emotional and unprofessional questioning of Tucker Bounds,
It's too bad that in order to show his displeasure and reign in the frenzy that that has seized the liberal news media in anything relating to Gov. Palin, McCain felt compelled to cancel an interview with Larry King, who is a highly respected journalist and a gentleman, but he had to show CNN that there are consequences when an anchorwoman oversteps the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
Besides CNN, the losers were the audience; we would have enjoyed a good interview,

"Ask the question, listen to the answer and then let the public decide what was said. We really aren't so stupid that we don't know what we hear."

Yes we are. We are that stupid. Most of you at least. You hear the questions, then you hear the spin and 'deflection and then you shout 'Yeah, that guy is right' and quickly forget that he didn't actually answer the question. There is hardly any accountability in politics any more and part of that is because the media allows the spin and deflections, and yes, us Americans are too stupid to demand it.

If you think there is a bias, demand that CNN do the same to democrats. That is fine. But don't say Brown was wrong in what she did. That is what we need now, more than ever.

I'm not a woman. But I am curious. How many women actually refer to themselves as "female?"

As "Natosha" did, above.

I've lately seen "female" included in many, many posts in reference to Palin and to me it really seems as if men are writing those messages -- posing as an aggrieved woman.

As I said, just curious.

Well, we heard Rev. Wright mudslinging for several weeks, so I figure Todd Palin's DUI will keep us going well into October. Is it relevant to Palin's candidacy? No. But her lack of qualifications for the job certainly is.

As for illegal drug use-Bush's past cocaine use certainly didn't keep Republicans from electing him President, so tell me, why would you have a problem with that in any candidate?

The GOP is stuck in an infinitely illogical loop. They argue that Palin has infinitely more experience as leader, being a mayor and a governor. And yet they argue that McCain has the greatest amount of experience, though he has not served as a mayor nor governor.

Is it to be that whatever it is that the GOP does, they are always more qualified? Or does the GOP have serious issues about their sensibilities on what qualifications make for a great leader? I think the latter - they surely cannot have their cake and eat it too.

Amazing how the inclusive Dems are treating a woman who has rose to the office of Govenor. Treating her like a fool. Why? She has accomplished more than Campbell will ever achieve in her life. The Dems will suffer for the Sexism unleashed upon her. The Dems are a hateful and trite party.

Is this surprising? CNN has always been a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party.

Does anyone really expect fairness from this network? Does anyone really expect that Campbel Brown would subject Obama to a similar grilling about his flip-flop vote for domestic spying? Or question Joe Biden about his enslavement to credit card companies?

No way. Even worse, CNN refuses to give any coverage to third party candidates. Did you see any coverage on that network of Nader's rally in Denver with over 4500 people? Nada. Can't have any facts getting in the way of their favorite Democrat's quest for the White House.


I always find it interesting during these types of political interviews when a straightforward question is answered with another topic and when pressured for a answer it’s turned into an angry outburst of unfairness.

It reminds me of someone that has just been caught being unfaithful and goes on the offensive to reflect the criticism. Or imagine if you asked your child numerous times if they finished their homework and they just kept telling you today is a no homework day and you know it isn’t.

I’m not naive to believe everything I hear or read in the media. In fact I see them as a business entity whose primary purpose is to make money and they do that by sensationalism. I do however believe, that ocassionaly the media does thier job and asks the tough questions which I’m entitled to know, to assist me in making my choice for President.

How many of us wouldn’t love to sit down with McCain or Obama and ask a few straightforward questions of our own? I say go ahead and ask the tough questions, and if you can’t stand the heat than stay out of the kitchen, because my vote demands it.

Just for the record, Campbell admitted to WOlf Blitzer tonight that in fact Gov Palin had deployed the National Guard to fight wildfires in Alaska. If you recall Mr. Bounds tried to correct Ms. Brown about a Governor's ablitlty to deploy troops in State emergencies, but she wrongly insisted that she was going to let him off.

In fact tonight Cambell admitted that she got it wrong.

In addiition to her duties as head of the National Guard, Palin has a son on the front line in Iraq in the army on his second tour. She has negotiated with Canada to build a new pipeline worth billions of dollars.

Palin is a technocrat that at any other point would be a perfectly approrieate balance in a presidential ticket. Unfortunaltey this year because the republican v-p pick is a woman people like Campbell believe that their is a logical equivalence between a newbie presidental nominee and McCain's experience in Washingtonl and abroad at the top of the ticket. That somehow the position of v-p must be the exact same as the president on the ticket and never once acknowleding the complete imbalance on the other side.

Governor Palin has not stolen her nomination as Obama has. She did not enter a conspiracy to ignore a million voters as Obama did. Obama got fewer votes but more delegates than Hillary Clinton, remember? That's called tyranny. Not counting the votes of whole states because you didn't like the likely outcome and withdrew? How did Obama get away with that? Perhaps most people believe that tyranny and oppression can be a good thing, but I do not. My vote was ignored when it counted, halved, and acknowledged only when the issue was settled. I will never vote for Obama under any circumstances. I will never support Obama under any circumstances. Freedom is everything, not something to be thrown away when convenient.

Palin's foreign policy experience seems limited to providing a Scottish late night talk show host, Craig Ferguson, with Alaskan citizenship and a single trip to Iraq. She's not a tyrant, which qualifies her better than the tyrannical, racist-supported Obama.

She got OWNED! He didn't fall into her liberal pander to the ignorant attack and she was flustered like a nazi when she didn't get her way. Keep up the hate, liberals. Everytime you open your mouth you create a vote for Princess Sarah.

Would Campbell Brown have dogged a member of the Obama campaign about their candidates lack of experience this way. We all the answer is no. Of all the posts, this was my favorite: "Campbell was polite and courteous."

Polite my ass. I haven't seen an interviewer behave so poorly since Dan Rather interviewed George HW Bush.

LOL You DEMs stick with the vetting angle. It's the only one that won't cost you votes in November.

Brown will eventually be demoted because she lost businesses for CNN. When Bounds did not want to answer a question, Brown should give him some face. No Republican has claimed Palin has foreign experiences. If you keep asking this question, then you are not polite. If Bounds answered directly, then his answer will become Obama campain's commercial against McCain/Palin.

When someone asked McCain how many properties his wife and he owned, he said his advisor would get back to him. Either McCain did not know the number of properties (understandable because his wife, not he owns the properties) or he did not want to say it because he did not want people to know they are so rich. It seems he is too old. McCain should NOT directly answer that question.

Im a woman and everything they are doing to her they have done to Obama. So lets she if she can take the heat. Everytime a woman gets the heat women want to rally around her and save her. Thats the difference between a man and woman. It actually gives me more reason to vote for the male.

Campbell Brown did her job. There was nothing partisan about it! One of the few times in ages I've seen someone interviewing anybody Dem. or Rep. and having the gall to press and insist that they answer the fraking question. I get so tired of reporters allowing these weasels to spin, bob and weave and do anything but give a concise answer. If only more reporters did this in the run up to the war.
As for McCain's refusal to go on Larry King. It is typical behavior of a grumpy, petty old man.

Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that protects the entire nation from ballistic missile attacks. It's on permanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden's.

She's also the commander in chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security's counterterrorism plans.

Campbell Brown's interview was indignant and unprofessional. I think CNN should be ashamed of itself for these types of antics to garner ratings. Campbell Brown was very ignorant on the issue of governorship as it relates to the national guard. Perhaps she should review the military chain of command before she acts as an expert and questions a governor's role as it pertains to the national guard.
The fact of the matter remains - if the media is going to attack Sarah Palin for her lack of executive experience, they need to look at Obama's executive experience as well. These attacks by the media seem petty and pointless and I am very disappointed with the leadership at CNN for condoning this. I will tune into to another media network to avoid shrieking, ignorant antics.

Yes, posters--Brown went after him, and, yes, she had every right to.

Now watch these same stalwart defenders of the press go bananas when Fox grills Obama.

It is amusing to watch Campbell hit levels of hysteria I've not seen out of her previously. She would ask a question and then screech out another before even giving two seconds for a response. The panic is evident in her face as she and so many other members of the media scramble to attempt to discredit John McCain, and even more so, Sarah Palin. Of all argument to make, you think the left would avoid discussing experience when their candidate is Obama. I would love for Campbell to ask Mr. Obama, with that same sarcastic vigor, to name one accomplishment, foreign or domestic, he can claim. Of course there is none, and Campbell and her friends won't dare broach the subject anyway.

Can someone please explain to me 3 things...
(1) how can the Dems complain about Palin's lack of foreign policy experience when Obama has the same experience, i.e. none?????
(2) how can the Dems criticize McCain for having too many houses when just 4 years ago they nominated John Kerry?
(3) why can't the Republicans point this hypocrisy out?

If anyone is planning on voting for Palin then John McCain planned works a little...."Women think everything is sexism". How sad. Im a woman and you didnt get me. Women are smarter than McCain thinks.....I hope. If you dont stand for something you will fall for anything.

the only tension i detected in this interview appeared to come from campbell brown. if she would have simply let tucker finish a sentence she might have eventually gotten an answer to her question. which begs the question as to why she was so frustrated? was it because tucker didn't answer her question or he didn't answer the way she wanted him to? i believe the evidence shows it to be the later as tucker was finally given a chance to put a few sentences together (he has the patience of a saint. perhaps a good choice for mccain as ambassador to north korea.) to explain that palin, as the chief executive officer of alaska actually has more commander in chief experience w/ her authority over the state national guard than obama, the top pick on the democratic ticket.

at first campbell appeared confused and unaware that govenor's have authority over their state national guard's in times of domestic emergencies. finally, she seemed to "get it" but she appeared even more frustrated w/ this accurate fact and regressed even a little more demanding to know what specific executive orders palin has made in regards to the national guard in alaska. the point is that palin has this experience and obama doesn't. point, set and match to the republicans, again.

lastly, congrats to you democrats for nominating one of the weakest candidates in years. you couldn't have done it at a more opportune time for us republicans. i get the sense that campbell is also frustrated because she's starting to understand this too. we republicans thought we were down and out for this election but you not only kept us in the game you've actually given us a real chance to win in november. for that i sincerely thank you.

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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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