This just in: John McCain supports Hillary Clinton over Rand Paul for president in 2016! That was the message that CBS’s Gayle King implied during a news brief on Thursday’s CBS This Morning. King reported on a recent interview in The New Republic in which Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) was asked who he would vote for in 2016 if former Secretary of State Clinton faced Sen. Paul (R-Ky.) in the general election. McCain’s reply, which King reported, was, “It’s gonna be a tough choice.”
That was enough for CBS to run with. King then proclaimed, “McCain and Paul have butted heads a few times in the Senate. In the interview, McCain praised Clinton's work as secretary of state and called her a rock star.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
From those two sentences, it sounds as if McCain is definitely leaning towards Clinton. It’s understandable that CBS would want to make it seem that way. The liberal media are certainly leaning towards Clinton in 2016, and an endorsement from a moderate Republican like McCain would boost Hillary while furthering the liberal media narrative that the GOP is internally fractured to the point that a libertarian-leaning nominee would cause establishment Republicans to walk away.
However, when you look at the actual interview in The New Republic, McCain’s position seems more ambiguous. Here is the segment in his interview with Isaac Chotiner in which he commented on Hillary Clinton:
ISAAC CHOTINER: Given that you think things are out of control, what do you make of Hillary Clinton’s term as secretary of state?
JOHN MCCAIN: I think she did a fine job. She’s a rock star. She has, maybe not glamour, but certainly the aura of someone widely regarded throughout the world. I do think it is interesting that the issues where John Kerry is engaging is where Hillary Clinton did not engage in, that those decisions were left to the White House and the National Security Council.
It sounds as if McCain respects Clinton, but he is not exactly fawning over her. Meanwhile, CBS failed to even mention anything that McCain said about Paul in the interview. The old senator did, in fact, comment on the junior Kentucky senator. Here is the relevant exchange:
CHOTINER: When Hillary Clinton versus Rand Paul occurs in 2016, I guess you are going to have to decide who to vote for, huh?
MCCAIN: It’s gonna be a tough choice [laughs].
MCCAIN: Let me just clarify that. I think that Rand Paul represents a segment of the GOP, just like his father. And I think he is trying to expand that, intelligently, to make it larger.
McCain and Paul may have “butted heads” in the past, as King stated, but McCain’s comment about Paul was not at all scathing. Unfortunately, while CBS reported that McCain called Clinton a “rock star,” they failed to mention that he also said that Paul was “intelligently” trying to expand a certain segment of the GOP.
Of course, CBS did not dare to report that McCain also slammed the liberal media later in the interview for the way they “savaged” his vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, in 2008. He singled out former CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric as the one who began the “shredding and destruction” of Palin.
Below is a transcript of the CBS This Morning segment:
GAYLE KING: McCain is also making headlines over the next presidential campaign. The New Republic magazine asked him who he would support in 2016 if Democrat Hillary Clinton faced Republican Senator Rand Paul. The 2008 GOP nominee laughed and said it's going to be a tough choice. McCain and Paul have butted heads a few times in the Senate. In the interview, McCain praised Clinton's work as secretary of state and called her a rock star.