John McCain has taken to emphasizing short sit-downs with local reporters over interaction with the journalists assigned to his campaign, a move that's irking regulars accustomed to plenty of access, Howard Kurtz reports for the Washington Post. McCain strategists say too much media access was preventing their campaign from carving out a message, but now the candidate is having trouble making the news.
"With each bus trip, everyone's filing a blog report, every little thing is picked up and off it goes," says John Dickerson of Slate. "It certainly takes him off message." On the trail in 2000, McCain was known for casual conversations with journalists in the back of his campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express. Last week, national correspondents traveling with the presumptive nominee had to wait 4 days to ask a question.