McCain had private meeting with head of gay group

John McCain and Patrick Sammon of the Log Cabin Republicans met recently, but McCain's campaign kept the event off his public schedule.

Published June 25, 2008 10:06PM (EDT)

John McCain met recently with Patrick Sammon, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans -- a group for gay Republicans. But to look at his public schedule, you'd never know it.

The meeting was first reported by Bruce Carroll, a Republican who runs the blog GayPatriot. Sammon confirmed it in an e-mail to Carroll, saying, "We've had a series of productive meetings with the campaign since Sen. McCain won the nomination -- including a recent meeting with the Senator. We expect to have more conversations with the campaign as we head toward November."

Carroll says he has a source who told him that "McCain has routine personal meetings that are not shown on [his] public schedule." That's not surprising. But it is interesting to note, as Politico's Ben Smith did, which meetings McCain publicizes and which he keeps quiet.

One other recent example is a meeting McCain held with Republican Latino leaders in Chicago last week, which was closed to the media. In both cases, McCain needs to tread carefully to avoid angering his base, which sees him as not conservative enough in some ways, including on immigration and social issues, but at the same time he needs to project a moderate image to appeal to independents. By keeping these particular meetings quiet, McCain makes it less likely that he'll run into trouble with conservatives or be exposed as someone who changes his positions on issues with the wind.

Details of the Chicago meeting leaked to the press, though, and showed the danger these events can pose to McCain. In this case, it appears that he tailored his message to his audience, telling those in attendance something different from what has become his public message on immigration.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz. Lgbt