Those of Us Who Are About to Tire Swing …

September 6, 2008 11:10 a.m.

It always brings a tear to my eye when I see the Grey Lady hopping on the McCain tire swing. But there she goes. Yesterday the McCain campaign was all mum on the Walter Reed/Green Screen goof until deep in the evening when they released some pro forma bamboozlement to the effect that it was all on purpose. They mean to highlight the middle school.

From the Times report

“The changing image-screen was linked to the American thematics of the speech and the public school was simply part of it,” Mr. Bounds said, adding that during the speech, Mr. McCain “called for public education reforms that empower parents and students before bureaucrats and labor unions.”

Sadly, the Times actually went for that explanation. And even more bizarrely, Timesman Michael Falcone actually bought the idea that the McCain campaign wouldn’t want to highlight the real Walter Reed because of the controversy over its treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan war vets.

However that may be, a few problems with the idea that this wasn’t a goof. One is that McCain campaign manager Rick Davis was admitting it was a goof at party’s after the speech and telling reporters that Fred Davis, McCain’s ad man, was at fault.

But you don’t need the inside scoop to know what happened here. Those who watched the convention closely know that through the event, the screen backdrop had rotating video of what Bounds called “images of Americana.” Stuff would cycle in and out.

But that’s not what happened with McCain. Our crack analysts at TPM HQ pulled the tape. And what happened in McCains case was that the green screen was up for 5 or 6 minutes. Then it got pulled. It was replaced briefly by a cornfield. And then after a few moments of that it was the picture of the flag, which appeared as a blue screen to viewers on tv. That remained through McCain’s entire speech. No more changes. It was pretty clear that someone on McCain’s staff realized the goof a few minutes into the speech, cancelled the pre-programmed order of images and hurriedly slotted in flag image to save the day.

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