The Art of the Dodge

If you missed it earlier today, McCain campaign Senior Advisor Nicole Wallace was on CNN’s Situation Room, and she gave a masterful display of political spin.

According to Wallace, McCain isn’t behind in the polls, Obama will raise taxes on all small businesses, she has no idea what Wolf Blitzer is talking about when he says the McCain campaign is running negative ads, and Sarah Palin is completely accessible to the press.

Even if you don’t agree with her politically, she’s got skilz. Interview below…

BLIZTER: John, stand by. I want to go to a senior McCain campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace. She is joining us now from Nashville where they’re getting ready for the debate tonight. Are your internal polls, Nicolle, as gloomy for McCain as our national polls? And polls in these battleground states appear to be right now.

NICOLLE WALLACE, SENIOR ADVISOR, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN: You know I’m standing here scratching my head about what we just looked at. Nobody has voted yet, Wolf and I hope that doesn’t put John King out of business because he is a great reporter and a great guy. But the truth is, people are angry.

These are serious times. And what on the election in November is change. And both of these men promise change. But only one of them has a record of fixing big things, of standing up to entrenched interests. The next president is going to inherit a national crisis. This isn’t an economic downturn. There are serious looming and grave threats to the foundations of our economy. And John McCain is the only person who two years ago sounded the alarm about Fannie and Freddie which a lot of people diagnosed to be the center of the storm there.

And John McCain is the only one who stood up to people in his own party and the entrenched interests in Washington. And that’s what it’s going to take. Major structural reform of the corrupt and broken institutions in Washington and Wall Street.

BLITZER: The president, your former boss, when you worked at the White House, President Bush, he painted a hopeful picture shall we say earlier today. He said, yes, there are some rough times right now but he also said this. I’m going to play this clip and I want you to react. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We also know that we’re the most dynamic economy in the world. We’re a productive country. We’re an entrepreneurial country. The small business sector is strong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, Senator McCain; is he on the same page with President Bush in that bottom line assessment?

WALLACE: Well, Wolf, let me tell you something about the small businesses in America. We’ve lost over 700,000 jobs this year. But small businesses in America have gained, they have added 350,000 jobs. It’s remarkable. So at the center of the vision for the next president of this country should be policies that help strengthen them. They’re the only people in America who are adding jobs. And Barack Obama has promised to raise their taxes, would decimate the last area of America’s economy that’s still flourishing. Our small businesses are adding jobs. They have added 350,000 and I see one of the most vital things that we need to look at is the differences between what Barack Obama would do to our small businesses, which would be to enact tax increases and mandates on health care that would decimate that last stronghold…

BLIZTER: He says he’s only going to raise taxes, hold on…

WALLACE: You can interrupt me anytime.

BLIZTER: He says he’s only going to raise taxes on families making more than $250,000 a year. Most small businesses, they don’t make a profit of more than $250,000 a year, do they?

WALLACE: Well, families, that is a very small parsing of Barack Obama’s tax increase strategy. Barack Obama would tax about 50% of the small business income in America. Again, it isn’t a matter of what kind of tax increase small businesses can stomach. Small businesses in America shouldn’t have to take on any burden to growth. They are really that only bright spot in America’s very, very troubling and difficult economic forecast. So I would say, you know, zero tolerance policy for any of Barack Obama’s tax increases on America’s small businesses.

BLITZER: Senator McCain a few months ago said he was not going to get down and have a negative campaign. Yet in the last few days we’ve heard some very negative comments coming from him and from Governor Palin. Why the change?

WALLACE: I’m not sure what you’re referring to. But you know, Barack Obama has spent a record number of dollars attacking John McCain with ads that are usually not even truthful. And he’s set a record for Democrats and Republicans in this presidential campaign. So we’re going to respond, we’re going to set the record straight and unfortunately it’s something we have to do more and more often, Wolf.

BLIZTER: When is Governor Palin going to have a full-scale formal news conference?

WALLACE: When is she going to do what?

BLITZER: Have a news conference?

WALLACE: Have a news conference?

BLIZTER: Yes

WALLACE: You know her priority is talking to the American people and talking to the voters. She’s spent more minutes being interviewed by journalists than Barack Obama has this month. She’s certainly – you know her life is an open book. She threw open the doors to her home to her high school. She invites reporters out with her on the trail. I hope it wouldn’t be, Wolf, that you guys are insulted that CNN hasn’t had one yet. BLITZER: Well, we would love to have an interview with Governor Palin but we would also love to see her a news conference answering reporter’s questions.

WALLACE: Well, she’s very eager to answer questions. She does interviews almost every day on the campaign trail. And she’s giving them straight talk. She’s telling them exactly what Obama said and pointing out where it’s different than what he’s done. That’s her top priority. She does interviews every day out there.

BLITZER: Well, we’d love to have her in THE SITUATION ROOM if she’d like join us, we’d be thrilled to interview her. Thanks very much, Nicolle.

WALLACE: Thanks, Wolf.

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