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

September 2, 2008 |  5:02 pm

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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