The attention-driven Warren, Book II

Warren gets defensive when pressed again about the "cone of silence."

Published August 18, 2008 7:14PM (EDT)

Rick Warren is really milking the media circuit. Here he interviews with Beliefnet's Dan Gilgoff, a fine reporter and author of the definitive book on James Dobson. (Only portions of the interview have been published thus far.)

Gilgoff presses Warren about whether John McCain had an unfair advantage. Warren gets very, very defensive. But even if there was no intentional favoritism -- even if McCain was just running late to the debate -- why did Warren very plainly claim as Barack Obama was coming onstage that McCain was at that very moment in some soundproof room. Last time I checked, this violates one of the Commandments. This is the exchange:

Dan Gilgoff: Some Obama supporters are claiming that McCain saw the questions before the forum began, giving him a leg up on Obama.

Rick Warren: They're dead wrong. That's just sour grapes. They both did fantastically well. The only question he knew, I gave them the first question and I was changing the questions within an hour [before the forum began]. I talked to both of them a week before the debate and told them all the themes. I talked personally to John McCain and I talked personally to Barack Obama. I said, 'We'll talk about leadership, talk about the roles of government,' I said I'd probably have a question about climate change, probably a question on the courts. I didn't say, 'I'm going to ask which Supreme Court justice would you not [nominate]. They were clearly not prepared for that.

D.G.: A source at the debate tells me that McCain had access to some communications devices in the few minutes before he went on stage with you and that there was a monitor in his green room, in violation of the debate rules.

R.W.: That's absolutely a lie, absolutely a lie. That room was totally free, with no monitors -- a flat out lie.

You know what: Maybe that was a lie. But even if it was, so was the statement Warren made to open the broadcast when he made such a point to assure his audience that McCain was in a "cone of silence" -- a term he chose. Again, maybe McCain was unable to benefit one bit from being en route instead of being, er, in-coned. So why tell a baldfaced lie on national television about McCain's actual status, Pastor?

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

MORE FROM Thomas Schaller

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

2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz. Rick Warren