Poor Tartuffe

While minority journalists stretched themselves into a soul-searching pretzel debating whether they should applaud Barack Obama when he spoke at the Unity ’08 Convention yesterday, someone thought he was getting no love from the mainstream media. That someone was not John “A Little Left Out” McCain; it was Barack “Too Good to Be True” Obama. When TIME’s Romesh Ratnesar asked Obama whether he may have been wrong to oppose the surge - both before and during - Obama got a little prickly, pointing his finger back at the media - “you guys” - for not holding John “Didn’t See That There Applesauce Shelf” McCain to the same standard:

RATNESAR: Senator, I want to ask you about a subject you’ve had to address repeatedly on this trip, which is the situation in Iraq and the question of whether the surge has helped improve conditions there.

During the primaries, you criticized Senator Clinton for failing to say that her vote authorizing the war was a mistake. Now we have commanders on the ground pretty much saying that the surge has succeeded, and yet you’ve said that, if you had to do it all over again, you still would have voted against the surge. We’re not going to ask you whether to — you know, to change your position here.

OBAMA: You’re not going to ask me, but go ahead.


RATNESAR: But I would like to know whether you feel that, after the last five years, haven’t we learned that a commander-in-chief needs to be willing to acknowledge mistakes or errors in judgment when circumstances change?

OBAMA: You know, I mean, I have to say, it is fascinating to me to hear you guys re-emphasize this over and over again. I have not heard yet somebody ask John McCain whether his vote to go into Iraq was a mistake. I haven’t, during the entire week that we were having this conversation.


That’s right. You heard me. This entire week no one—no one—was asking John McCain about his Iraq vote because you guys were all overseas trailing me, cooing over my every move instead of focusing on John McCain’s ridiculous golf cart ride (with these gas prices!). Not fair, you guys. Not. Fair.

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Julia Ioffe is a freelance writer based in New York City.