Reporters Annoyed with McCain's Mockery of Obama

It's OK for Democrats to mock McCain as a tool of Big Oil, but don't laugh or issue "snarky news releases" about Obama's tire gauge suggestion.

Onlycertain kinds of campaign mockery pass the laugh test at the Times. Elisabeth Bumiller, the Times chief John McCain reporter (whose reporting is consistently hostile toward McCain and Republicans in general) filed this huge breaking story Tuesday on the "Caucus" blog: "D.N.C. Sends Reporters Exxon-McCain '08 Campaign Kit."

Reporters traveling with Senator John McCain were sent a gift by the Democratic National Committee on Tuesday: An "Exxon-McCain '08" campaign kit, complete with an oil barrel-shaped stress ball for scribes theoretically stressed out by their lack of access to a candidate who no longer engages in back-of-the-bus media talk-a-thons.

After pointing out the "gift"'s timingwas linked to McCain's visit today to an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and was accompanied by a press release stating "the best way to stand up for Big Oil is to vote Exxon-McCain '08,"Bumiller added:

The kit was a retort of sorts to the McCain campaign for handing out tire gauges to reporters inscribed with "Barack Obama Energy Plan," which mocked Senator Barack Obama's suggestion that Americans inflate their tires to use less gas.

Bumiller did no mocking of the silly (and liberally paranoid) gift from the Democratic camp. But the Times seemed a little annoyed a couple of weeks ago, when McCain handed out tire gauges to mock Obama's suggestion that we could save energy by keeping our tires properly inflated.

An excerpt from "Accord on the Tire-Gauge Question," an August 7 "Caucus" post by Mary Ann Giordano:

The McCain campaign and Republican supporters have been having a lot of fun in recent days reducing Senator Barack Obama's extensive energy program down to one bit of advice that Mr. Obama offered, to save gasoline by keeping car tires properly inflated. Tire gauges were handed out, snarky news releases were issued and a lot of laughs were had over a matter that, it seems, has the support of groups as diverse as Nascar and the Automobile Club.

Giordano went on to call the stunt part of "the silly season" of politics.

Before that, an August 4 "Caucus" post by Katharine Seelye and Kate Phillips, "Tired of Talking Tires Yet?" indicated Times reporters were already weary of McCain's anti-Obama stunt.

It's Day 3 or Day 4 of the McCain-Republican machine pumping out numerous e-mails, flashing tire gauges and issuing sound bites criticizing Senator Barack Obama's advice last week to keep your tires inflated to conserve gasoline.

And it hasn't ended yet. We'd joke that it hasn't run out of gas yet, but we'd be accused of getting carried away with the puns here.