“Anything is a Fair Question”

When Larry King randomly announced mid-interview last night that his next question for Sen. John McCain would be “a fair question,” (unlike, I guess, earlier questions such as, “Are you anxious? Are you worried?” and Why is McCain “hot and heavy” campaigning in “red states?”) McCain replied, “Anything is a fair question.” (Except, of course, the ones that “cross the line” which are punishable by cancellation of scheduled McCain sit-downs with Larry King).

King’s “fair question” was this hypothetical:

KING: You’re flying over the Pacific between nowhere and nowhere. There’s an attack on the United States.

How much confidence do you have in Vice President Palin?

MCCAIN: Total.

A couple of media-related moments:

KING: Are you ticked, for want of a better term, about the discord reported between [Palin’s] camp and your camp?

MCCAIN: No. You know what happens with these things.

First of all, I have about 5,000 quote, “top advisors,” that can be quoted by the media. But we get along fine. Sarah’s a maverick. I’m a maverick. No one expected us to agree on everything.

And, McCain raised LATimesTapeGate (for background, here):

KING: Why would the paper suppress this [tape]?

MCCAIN: I have no idea. If they have the tape, they ought to make the American people aware of it, let them see it and make their own judgment. Frankly, I’ve been in a lot of political campaigns — a whole lot. I’ve never seen anything like this, where a major media outlet has information and a tape of some occasion — maybe it means nothing. Maybe it’s just a social event. I don’t know.

But why should they not release it? And why shouldn’t the Obama campaign want it released?

KING: Is this Palestinian [Rashid Khalidi] some sort of terrorist?

MCCAIN: We know that at that time, the PLO was a terrorist organization…

Before King went to break, he announced that CNN “has fact checked the allegations the McCain-Palin ticket has made about Rashid Khalidi and Barack Obama’s association with him” before offering up this hodgepodge:

In a 2004 Washington Times story, Khalidi denied ever being a spokesman for the PLO. He has been an activist for Palestinian causes and a critic of U.S. policy toward Israel. He currently is a scholar at Columbia University.

Eight years ago, Khalidi did host a political fundraiser for Obama. Obama has described him as a former neighbor and university colleague in Chicago.

However, CNN’s fact check team notes the two men strongly disagree over the Israeli-Palestinian issue and there’s no evidence of a continuing political relationship.

Also, King got a “No, but…” answer to his question of whether McCain believes Obama is a “socialst.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.