In a fawning June 28 Newsmax profile of John McCain ("John McCain is back — and he's in a fighting mood! The Arizona senator looked even younger and fitter than during his recent presidential campaign when I caught him last week on C-SPAN"), Christopher Ruddy offers up a revisionist view of the 2008 presidential campaign that leaves out certain inconvenient facts.
In September, the McCain-Palin ticket was narrowly ahead in the polls. Then the roof caved in. The Bush administration announced that the entire U.S. and global economy was on the verge of collapsing. Bush requested a $1 trillion blank check to bail out the banks. McCain's campaign was doomed.
In blaming Bush for McCain's defeat, Ruddy fails to note McCain's own actions regarding the financial crisis. He first reacted by asserting that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" -- a dubious claim that his later redefinition of "fundamentals" didn't improve -- then suspended his campaign to return to Washington and deal with the crisis. That move that backfired when 1) McCain made no apparent contribution to solving it, and 2) McCain bailed out on a scheduled appearance with David Letterman in announcing his campaign suspension, only to appear with Katie Couric at the time he told Letterman he was heading to the airport to go to Washington, which resulted in days of mockery by Letterman. (Plus, his campaign wasn't exactly suspended.)
Ruddy then asserted: "Despite carrying George W. Bush’s political baggage and unpopularity, McCain did better than expected — Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the vote rather than the landslide numbers many had predicted." That comports with Newsmax's previous attempts to downplay the meaning and magnitude of Obama's victory; by contrast, when President Bush won re-election in 2004 with 51 percent of the vote, Ruddy asserted that "the American people voted decisively to re-elect President Bush."