MSNBC's Mitchell, McCain campaign manager duke it out

A TV appearance by Rick Davis quickly turns heated when his campaign's tactics come up.

Published July 31, 2008 8:00PM (EDT)

Rick Davis, John McCain's campaign manager, probably didn't expect much out of the ordinary when he called in to MSNBC for an interview Thursday afternoon. What happened, though, once the network's Andrea Mitchell brought up the McCain campaign's controversial "Celeb" ad, was out of the ordinary -- the interview quickly turned into sniping back and forth between Mitchell and Davis.

Things began to turn for the worse about two and a half minutes in to the interview. (Video of the full segment appears below.) But the two probably reached a point of no return when Mitchell brought up former McCain aide John Weaver's recent criticism of the campaign's strategy, something Davis probably didn't want to have to discuss on national television. "I think this is just one example of why John Weaver hasn't been involved in this campaign for over a year," Davis snapped, leaving Mitchell almost speechless.

The two also got into an argument over which side was the first to go negative during this campaign. And when Mitchell asked Davis "whether the whole tone of this campaign, on both sides, has now deteriorated, degenerated, to a level that the American people could say a pox on both their houses," Davis shot back, "Well, I think that's a lot of hyperactivity on the part of the media."

And both Davis and Mitchell found themselves unable to resist taking some parting shots as the interview finished. Responding to Mitchell saying, "One just wonders about the trivialization of this," Davis said, "Well, I'm happy to talk about more substantive issues the next time I come on your show." And as she ushered him off the air, Mitchell alluded to the "Celeb" ad and some earlier questioning she'd done of whether it was fair to compare Barack Obama to Britney Spears, describing Davis as "a celebrity on the political circuit, if not a celebrity like Britney Spears."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz. Msnbc