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Cone of Silence

Posted: Updated:

Aug. 18, 2008

By Samantha Hayes

WASHINGTON -- I can only imagine that it must be terribly difficult to get a candidate where he is supposed to be on time. Especially if you are trying to get him into a place called the "Cone of Silence." Politicians generally don't do quiet time. Nevertheless, the "Cone of Silence" was apparently where Senator John McCain was supposed to be during Barack Obama's on stage interview with Pastor Rick Warren Saturday night.

"I'm going to ask identical questions to each of these candidates, so you can compare apples to apples," Warren told the audience at his Saddleback church. So in order to keep it fair, Warren flipped a coin days in advance to determine which candidate would take the stage for the first interview session, and which one would sit in silence, without audio of the event, waiting his turn. If you watched, you know Obama went first, and supposedly McCain was backstage in the "Cone of Silence."

That's not exactly how it went. Apparently McCain was late leaving his hotel and arrived at the church, and the designated holding room, 30 minutes later than expected. Warren was asked about the possibility that McCain might have had a head start on some of the questions. Warren told CNN Sunday night that he trusted the integrity of both candidates and said he "knew they would abide by the rules." Warren added that the McCain campaign had "confirmed that McCain did not hear or see any of the broadcast" while he was in the motorcade on the way to the event, or once he arrived. Both candidates had been briefed earlier in the week by Warren, and were aware of the overall theme and the first two questions to be asked.

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