McCain camp blames media for Palin controversy

Wed Sep 3, 2008 8:47pm EDT
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By Paul J. Gough

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Hollywood Reporter) - The McCain campaign came out swinging Wednesday against the media over the controversy and coverage swirling around vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Republican National Committee Victory 2008 chair Carly Fiorina, former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift and several other high-profile GOP women accused media outlets, liberal bloggers and the Obama campaign of sexism. Palin has found herself in the middle of a swirl of controversy since Friday, when John McCain announced her as his running mate.

"The Republican Party will not stand by while Sarah Palin is being subjected to sexist attacks," said Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard.

In a sometimes testy exchange with the assembled reporters, Fiorina and others criticized liberal Web sites and other unspecified media outlets for accusing the Alaska governor of faking a pregnancy, being part of "fringe groups" and for releasing her Social Security number on the Web. "We have seen supermarket tabloids that not only support Barack Obama putting these smears on the cover but also shout with massive headlines about sex and babies and lies," Fiorina said.

Palin's sudden thrust into the spotlight has led to a feeding frenzy among the media, which was surprised by the pick and has been struggling as a group to find out more about her.

Fueling the frenzy is the revelation of her 17-year-old daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

"Just like me, Gov. Palin loves her children, and I think we need to leave it at that," Swift said. Earlier in the day, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis scolded the media for its initial reporting on Palin and her life.

"Certainly, her record deserves scrutiny, but we ought to look at her record," Davis said. "The salacious nature of how these outlets have tried to throw dirt at our candidates has been inappropriate."   Continued...

<p>Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina addresses the third session of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder</p>