Joe Klein Banned from McCain Plane
Joe Klein, political columnist for TIME magazine, has been unable to secure a seat on the McCain campaign planes for months, Michael Calerone reports for Politico.
“I’ve done nine presidential campaigns and this is the first time this has ever happened to me,” Klein said. “I was even allowed—I won’t say welcomed—on the Clinton plane in the summer of 1996 after I was revealed as the author of Primary Colors.”
“I rode with McCain during the primaries, but not since I asked him—at a June press conference—whether he really believed Ahmadinejad was the ‘leader’ of Iran, since he has no control over foreign policy or the nuclear program,” Klein continued. “That was when they suddenly told me that I hadn’t called in time to get secret service clearance. (I had called more than a day in advance.)”
They’ve also banned Maureen Dowd, apparantly. After initially attributing this to bureaucracy, saying Klein applied too late for credentials, the new tack, from spokesman Michael Goldfarb, is “we don’t allow Daily Kos diarists on board either.” This prompted Erza Klein to quip, “How does Goldfarb know there are no DailyKos diarists on the plane? Many DailyKos diarists are anonymous. They could be anywhere! They are everywhere! Even…behind…you.”
For his own part, Klein says “I don’t consider it a big deal,” noting that he’s an opinion columnist, that several TIME reporters have seats on the plane, and that he’s still treated cordially by most McCain staffers, who continue to answer his questions.
Klein has been pretty brutal to McCain, questioning his decency and integrity, so it’s not entirely surprising that the campaign’s not rolling out the red carpet. Still, this is just gobsmackingly stupid. McCain made his reputation largely on the strength of a warm relationship with the press corps, granting them unprecedented access. It makes no sense to alienate name brand columnists — and their peers — by being petty.