The Times Disses McCain Op-ed After Running Obama's

The Times isn't about to give John McCain a break, setting stringent standards before it will take a pro-surge op-ed from him, even though it printed Obama's pro-withdrawal op-ed last week.

When Hillary dropped out under a wave of hostile coverage, she left John McCain the only person standing between Barack Obama and a history-making presidency. With Obama rocking waves of positive coverage overseas, the media tide is out for the Republican nominee, and the Times surely isn't going to give McCain any breaks now.

The same New York Times that endorsed McCain (albeit in hold-your-nose fashion) during the Republican primaries now refuses to run an op-ed by him that: laid out recent successes in Iraq; said Obama was wrong in opposing the surge; and accused the Democrat of having "learned nothing from recent history."

Times' op-ed editor David Shipley emailed McCain's staff: "I'm not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written."

Yet the McCain op-ed was in response to one from Obama, "My Plan for Iraq," that had appeared in the Times on July 14. Did the Timesat leastinvite the McCain camp to submit an op-ed in defense of the war and the surge (to accompany Obama's call for withdrawal) before Obama's op-ed appeared?

Shipley said he wanted something more forward-looking that paralleled more closely with Obama's piece, which mentioned McCain onlytwice while sketching out a vision of withdrawing troops from Iraq. The piece McCain submitted to the Timesattacked Obama on his past statements on the surge and also went after points from Obama's NYT op-ed.

Shipleylaid outsome pretty stringent demands on McCain:

It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece. To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = ST1 />Iraq. It would also have to lay out a clear plan for achieving victory- with troops levels, timetables and measures for compelling the Iraqis to cooperate. And it would need to describe the Senator's Afghanistan strategy, spelling out how it meshes with his Iraq plan.

The last McCain op-ed to appear in the Times came in March 2003 - ironically, a pro-war piece written on the eve of the Iraq War titled "The Right War for the Right Reasons."

The last op-ed from Obama to appear in the Times (before last week) came in June 2005. "Grounding aPandemic," co-written with Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, warned of the threat of an "avian flu pandemic." For Obama, bird flu evidently tops Saddam Hussein as a plausible imminent threat.