July 12, 2008

McCain Campaign Pulls A Bissinger...

I almost never write weekend posts. I can't remember the last time I did, actually. It's kind of like seeing a dog walk on his hind legs. That or hearing Mike Tomlin give a press conference without using the phrase "the reality of it."

But this time, I feel it's important.

At this point, you've probably heard about John McCain's creative memory. Well in response to the slip up, his campaign had this to say...

"[This] was an honest mistake...If bloggers want to make fun of John McCain because he forgot which team he used under torture, that is their right."
From a PR standpoint, this is a classic but anachronistic strategy that I call "the Jedi Mind Trick." Yes, he was wrong, but look over there - those bloggers are a bunch of insensitive dicks (/McCain sneaks out back door while everyone throws stones at bloggers).

Having worked in PR at the beginning of my career, and now authoring this blog, I have what I think is a unique perspective on this.

Which is, that's a piss poor response. The last thing you want to do when the center of your campaign has completely screwed up, is blame someone else who merely pointed out the mistake (albeit in a sarcastic and less than flattering tone). The right reaction would have been just to apologize. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less.

For example, think about the steroid situation in baseball. Take Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi. I know they're not exactly on the same talent level and I know it is remotely (very very remotely) possible that Bonds didn't use steroids. But my point is - Bonds has chided everyone for suggesting that he cheated, and everyone hates him (well, just about everyone). Giambi openly admitted his mistake, apologized, and people forgave him.

It's not some brilliant strategy. It's human nature. When you make a mistake, you apologize. And you certainly don't blame other people for pointing out the truth. This is not 1955. Today, information is distributed at light speed. You just can't expect everyone to ignore such a glaring mistake.

So I don't know who's in charge of McCain's PR, but in this man's opinion, they handled this one really poorly. I mean, after all, McCain is vying for the Presidency. This certainly doesn't instill much confidence in me that he's a decent and caring man. Especially when his campaign takes a shot at bloggers. Way to go with the flavor of the week defense. Jerks.

Anyone feel differently? Thoughts? Were bloggers wrong for highlighting McCain's blunder?

McCain's Mind No Steel Trap [Post-Gazette]
McCain's Steelers Memory Contradicts His Book [KDKA]
John McCain Is Old Or A Liar [PSAMP]
John McCain is a Steelers Fan (when in PA) [MJD]
In PA, McCain Tells a New Version of Heroic P.O.W. Story [ABC News]
McCain claims he recited Steelers lineup, problem is... [Daily Kos]


Christy said...

Long off-season, long presidential campaign.


Cotter said...

You said it Christy!

At least we're just about one week from training camp. 'Bout damn time.

Cotter said...

Err...make that two weeks...

William said...

Agree with you all the way, Cotter. Poor response from the McCain campaign.

I'd understand if McCain was attempting to pander. But if this is a sign of declining mental acuity, Lord help us all if he manages to get elected.

tobiathan said...

If we're gonna touch on politics i'll just say that i don't like EITHER choice. At all. Not one stinking bit.

Not like it ever mattered who was President, at least not since the 1880's anyway.....

Neither of these two inspire any confidence in me. I *hope* Obama is a sincere, just, intelligent, independent man who would do good for America, but as he comes from the corrupt and incestuous world of Chicago politics i seriously doubt it. McCain simply spent WAY TOO MUCH time at the mercy of devbout Communists for me to ignore the potential for a high degree of brainwashing. At the very least i worry for his ability to act indepently of big lobbies.

Either way: nothing changes.

So what? He said "Steelers"? Like it matters...Obama as big a schmooze as McCain.

Just my opinion, of course. In case anyone cares....

Cotter said...

william ~ I won't even get into McCain's mental acuity. But it certainly didn't do much for his credibility. I mean, he probably wasn't going to win PA in the 1st place, but now...good luck.

tobiathan ~ you should write in Owen Schmitt for President. It won't bring him to Pittsburgh but at least you won't feel like you've wasted your vote...right?

tobiathan said...

I'm gonna write in Cotter for President and Domski for Secretary of State. Because what I say counts n'at....