On Nightline last night, ABC's Cynthia McFadden didn't exactly say John McCain had no character, but she certainly implied it.
In an interview with Pastor Rick Warren on ABC's Nightline, McFadden was trying to get Warren to indicate if he would counsel his flock on who to vote for. The feature on Warren came after the pastor's Civic Forum on the Presidency held over the weekend at his 22,000-member church in southern California.
McFadden asked Warren if he "owed" it to "people who look up to you" to tell them for whom he was voting. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />
Barack Obama: Well, I think that whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.
Rick Warren: At what point is a baby entitled to human rights?
John McCain: At the moment of conception.
Warren finessed McFadden's loaded question by responding that if “preserving life” were a person's “top value,” then voting for the person who opposed abortion was “great.”
McFadden also asked Warren if his Civic Forum on the Presidency was just a “sham” since he was an evangelical and “most evangelicals overwhelmingly are registered as Republicans and support John McCain.”
Warren: I'm not a Republican and I'm not a Democrat. I'm actually registered as an Independent. So that may be the big surprise to America. The truth is, I think there's a significant number of people out there who are disillusioned and disenfranchised by both sides. I'm somewhere here in the middle and I would like to find and create a common ground for the common good.
McFadden: But ultimately you've got to vote for one of them.
Warren: Of course you do. And that's going to have to be a personal choice. I'm a pastor, not a prophet.
McFadden continued to press Warren for his preference, and concluded that Warren backs McCain:
McFadden: Could you vote for either one of them? That's a different question than saying who would you vote for.
Warren: Could I vote for either one of them? I don't know. I don't know if that's a good question to ask. (He winks at someone off camera.)
McFadden: The wink seems to say McCain, but Rick Warren is too savvy to speak the name. Determined to keep the public dialogue going with his two very powerful friends.
Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.