It was supposed to work like this, according to the solemn testimony of the Reverend Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church:
Each candidate would appear before the Rev and 2,000 or so spectators and would have the same amount of time and would be asked the very same questions.
So far so good. Senator Barack Obama appeared on stage and answered Warren's questions to the best of his ability. During the session, the Rev told the audience that Senator John McCain had been "safely placed in a cone of silence" and was unable to hear what was being said.
That's when things began to go downhill. It turns out that McCain was not only not in the so-called "cone of silence," but was actually "in his motorcade on the way to the church as Mr. Obama was being interviewed by the Rev. Rick Warren."
But Warren, supposedly unaware of this, said to McCain when he came on stage, ""Now, my first question: Was the cone of silence comfortable that you were in just now?"
McCain answered, "I was trying to hear through the wall."
When Warren was interviewed by CNN on Sunday, he appeared to be surprised to find out that McCain was not at the church during Obama's interview.
It is not surprising that some folks think maybe McCain was listening in on the Obama interview. Some folks think that McCain perhaps answered Warren's questions too well.
That suggestion upset McCain spokeswoman, Nicolle Wallace, who insisted that McCain had not listened to the broadcast while being transported to the church, nor did he hear any of the questions. She said, "The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous."
Notice how she slips in that "prisoner of war" bit as if a POW is above a little lying if it will help him become president! McCain lies all the time so his word means nothing at this point. Nor does Nicolle's word mean much. She is, as Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report put it, "a veteran of Karl Rove's shop."
Did he or didn't he hear the Obama interview? We'll probably never know. It is possible that McCain could say with a straight face he didn't hear the questions or answers, while failing to acknowledge that he was told what they were by an aide - Ms. Nicolle, perhaps?
Nah...that would be presumptuous of me. McCain, a war hero and POW, would never do that!