The Republicans are crying media bias after The New York Times decided not to publish an op ed piece by John McCain that was written in response to Barack Obama’s “plan for Iraq”, published by the Times a week earlier.

Bias at the New York Times? The Drudge Report broke the story that the NYT had rejected a McCain op ed piece, saying “The paper’s decision to refuse to publish McCain’s direct rebuttal to Obama’s ‘My Plan for Iraq’ has ignited explosive charges of media bias in top Republican circles.” It couldn’t have helped that in defending the decision, NYT Op-Ed editor David Shipley said that McCain’s piece should have been more like Obama’s. Obama’s piece had outlined his plan for withdrawing from Iraq, McCain’s piece attacked Obama’s plan rather than putting forward his own plan.

In an analysis of the kerfuffle, the Swampland blog says that McCain had been trying to stick to a campaign game plan to focus on Obama rather than trying to win by talking bout his own policies. — Swampland

Poor, poor Michelle – Despite both presidential candidates saying they didn’t want to make their wives targets of campaign attacks, Michelle Obama is still coming under fire. An op ed in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review had a go at a speech she made to a Baptist church crowd in South Carolina in January:

“It’s true, exactly 20 years after graduating from Harvard Law School, she’s still complaining about her tuition payments, even while living in a $1.65 million house and with a household income that puts her firmly in the top 1 percent of U.S. families.”

Poor, poor Michelle (part 2) – The Washington Post ran an op ed column on Michelle Obama which argued that the attacks on Michelle Obama reflect the experience of many professional black women in America:

“Sad to say, but what Obama has undergone, though it’s on a national stage and on a much more prominent scale, is nothing new to professional African American women. We endure this type of labeling all the time. We’re endlessly familiar with the problem Michelle Obama is confronting — being looked at, as black women, through a different lens from our white counterparts, who are portrayed as kinder, gentler souls who somehow deserve to be loved and valued more than we do. So many of us are hoping that Michelle — as an elegant and elusive combination of successful career woman, supportive wife and loving mother — can change that.”

Obama in Europe – Barack Obama’s world tour has largely been seen as a way to shore up his foreign affairs credentials for voters back at home. One religious blogger wrote a piece entitled “Go to Mecca, not Berlin” which says Obama is risking his credibility with a couple of his choices on the tour.

“My issue with Obama’s trip is the visit to Berlin. First, the advance team made a monumental mistake of trying to drop their candidate into a situation that reminded Americans of two of the greatest presidents of the 20th century, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Of course, the difference is that they were the President and their speeches were directed at the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Who exactly is Obama trying to address with a speech in Berlin? The scrutiny he will receive over this speech will make or break this foreign trip; nothing else will matter, so he better nail it.

My suggestion to Obama: forget Berlin, go to Mecca. If you really want to be seen in a Kennedy / Reagan light in the diplomatic arena, you should use your popularity and your unique heritage to address the Christian and Muslim worlds.”

Obama in Europe (2) — The NYT published an op ed column which looked beyond the halo of Obama-mania to see what else might be gained from his tour of Europe: “Obama arrives in Europe at an all-change moment. A US diplomat is attending (inconclusive) discussions with Iran; there’s White House talk of a “general time horizon” for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq; casualties in Afghanistan have risen above Iraqi levels in recent months; and Israel is holding indirect peace talks with Syria… This flux is an opportunity for Europe and America to get their act together.” — NYT

The price of petrol — The price of petrol continues to be a campaign issue, and the Fix blog at the Washington Post has written up the McCain campaign’s latest ad, which attempts to put the blame for rising petrol prices squarely in the lap of Barack Obama (story includes the video).

The ad poses drilling on US soil and independence from foreign oil as the answer to the petrol price crisis and includes the line “Who can you thank for rising petrol prices at the pump? Obama, Obama, Obama.”

Al Gore’s call to phase out fossil fuels – Last week’s high profile and widely reported speech by Al Gore called for the US to phase out its use of fossil fuels within 10 years. The National Post got stuck into him for making such a call when he leads a carbon-wastrel lifestyle with a big powerguzzling house and lots of airplane travel. Ouch. — National Post

Hillary vows to oppose Bush attack on contraceptionJezebel reports that Hillary Clinton has vowed to fight last week’s ludicrous leaked memo from the Bush administration, which sought to define birth control as abortion. It would be nice if someone who was still in the presidential race was saying that, but thanks anyway Hillary. — Jezebel

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.