Last June, when Iowa was inundated with massive floods, Iowa officials asked the presidential candidates to stay away. Barack Obama did. John McCain and his entourage arrived to insure he got some photos. George Bush showed up, too.
Today, John McCain, Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin are flying to Mississippi for a pre-hurricane photo op. They’re meeting with state officials. The Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, used to chair the RNC, “invited” them — so he’s letting his staffers be used for the politicking on the eve of a massive hurricane striking. Do the McCains and Palin really need to show up with all of the staff, their security and the press? McCain did it in Iowa during the floods. Now, he’s doing it during Gustav:
Mr. McCain plans to go to Jackson, Miss., which is inland, with his wife, Cindy, and his newly-selected running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, his campaign said. Mr. McCain will take only a small pool of reporters, and will tour a hurricane center with Gov. Haley Barbour, the Mississippi governor.
Senator Barack Obama said that he had talked to the Louisiana governor and other officials. He added that he was monitoring the storm, but was planning no tour of the coast because he wanted to stay out of the way.
Come on. Only “a small pool of reporters”? Those reporters are the whole point of the visit. McCain could get this briefing over the phone or as a web conference (not that he knows what that is). He doesn’t want information. He wants pictures. This is just another example of McCain putting politics first.
As a Senator, there is basically nothing McCain can do right now to help anyone in the Gulf Coast prepare for a hurricane. Not a thing. Just like there was not a thing he could do in Iowa during the floods. This is pure politics — and McCain doesn’t care how it interferes with the ongoing operation. It’s actually pretty craven. Once again, McCain puts McCain’s political interests first.
This you know is true: If Obama, Michelle and Biden headed to the Gulf Coast today, Haley Barbour would be the first one to criticize him for interfering with hurricane operations. And, the entire political press corps would dutifully report it.