Nagourney to McCain: Don't Mention the War

Political reporter Adam Nagourney reported on Sen. John McCain's strong pro-war speech at the Virginia Military Institute yesterday, and felt the need to remind his readers that McCain's presidential candidacy was "shaken" bythe senator'sstubborn support for the war.

"Mr. McCain, a Republican whose presidential candidacy has been shaken by his support of the war, spoke in vivid and even apocalyptic terms as he offered a forceful call for the United States to press on in Iraq. And he repeatedly portrayed Democrats as acting out of political opportunism - and Republicans as acting on principle - in the debate over the war."

Nagourney's position is highly debatable- many think that the only thing keeping the McCain campaign afloat among conservatives (who have serious disagreements with McCain on a series of issues) is the senator's consistency on Iraq.

The Wednesday afternoon online version of his story emphasized even more Nagourney's belief that McCain's support for the war was hurting him even among Republicans: "Mr. McCain's presidential bid has been increasingly identified with his advocacy of the war in Iraq, a position that many Republicans have said has weakened him in the competitive Republican presidential field. Mr. McCain went to Baghdad last week where, trailed by a camera crew that showed him wearing a bullet proof vest and protected by a hundred soldiers with rifles. He offered a relatively positive appraisal of the situation there that was widely criticized, by local merchants as well as some of his prospective opponents."

The online version continued (the highlighted text was removed from the final print edition of the story): "Some Republicans have in recent weeks been advising Mr. McCain to move away from discussing his position on the war, arguing that his being identified with the war accounted for much of the problem he has had with his campaign in recent weeks. With his speech today, Mr. McCain made clear he intended to do no such thing, instead offering a case for war that echoed - and indeed amplified - what President Bush has said."

Nagourney's belief that the pro-war view isa bustlined up neatly with the Times' lead editorial Thursday morning, "Four Years Later in Iraq," which concluded with this sunny support for the war effort:

"Two months into the Baghdad security drive, the gains Mr. Bush is banking on have not materialized. More American soldiers continue to arrive, and their commanders are talking about extending the troop buildup through the fall or into early next year. After four years, the political trend is even more discouraging.

"There is no possible triumph in Iraq and very little hope left."