Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hours Before Debate, McCain Has Doubts About Ifill

Sen. John McCain is having second thoughts about the selection of PBS' Gwen Ifill as the moderator of tonight's vice presidential debate between Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin.

Yesterday, McCain had expressed confidence in Ifill. Today, he soften that view while speaking on FOX's "Fox and Friends"

“Frankly, I wish they had picked a moderator that isn’t writing a book favorable to Barack Obama — let's face it," McCain said. "But I have to have confidence that Gwen Ifill will handle this as the professional journalist that she is. Life isn’t fair ..."

Word came out yesterday that Ifill had written a book that is seen as pro-Obama. That book is to be released in January, and stands to make more money for Ifill if Obama wins the election next month.

McCain had a different view yesterday when asked about Ifill, telling FOX:

"I think that Gwen Ifill is a professional, and I think that she will do a totally objective job because she is a highly respected professional. Does this help that if she has written a book that is favorable to Senator Obama? Probably not, but I have confidence that Gwen Ifill will do a professional job. And I have that confidence."

Palin told Sean Hannity today that the conflict would just make her "try harder." Here's their discussion:

HANNITY: Let me ask you one last question. There's been this issue that the moderator of tomorrow night's debate, Gwen Ifill, is apparently writing a book to come out the time the next president takes office, and apparently, I actually have the tape, and I'll play it for you. This is Gwen Ifill talking about the book and it seems very favorable to Barack Obama, I want to ask you out of this if you're concerned about it.

IFILL: My name is Gwen Ifill. I am the moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and a senior correspondent for the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. The title of the book is "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama." It's taking the story of Barack Obama and extending it to cover a whole new generation of black politicians who are doing similar things in different ways.

HANNITY: Your thoughts, Governor, is that a concern at all to you?

PALIN: You know, I'm not going to let it be a concern. Let me just tell you that John McCain has been in an underdog position before, and this ticket, I think it is safe to say, is in an underdog position. But that's what makes us work harder. It makes us want to communicate more clearly and profoundly with the electorate, letting them know what the contrasts are between these two tickets, It's motivating to me, even, to hear Gwen's comments there because, again, it makes us work that much harder, and it provides even more fairness and objectivity and choices for the voters on Nov. 4, if we try that much harder.

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