Klein Joins Dowd on McCain Plane No-Fly List

First, Maureen Dowd was banned from the McCain’s and Palin’s campaign planes. Now, Joe Klein is not welcome on board, either:

Time columnist Joe Klein, who’s been a forceful critic of the McCain campaign (and already said he’s unwilling to accept a post-election apology), has found himself without a seat on the McCain or Palin planes the past four months.

In June, Klein was kept from boarding the McCain plane over what they said had been a security issue. More recently, when trying to fly on the Palin plane last week, Klein told Politico over e-mail that the campaign’s response was he “couldn’t be accommodated at this time.”

“I’ve done nine presidential campaigns and this is the first time this has ever happened to me,” Klein said. “I was even allowed—I won’t say welcomed—on the Clinton plane in the summer of 1996 after I was revealed as the author of Primary Colors.”

“I rode with McCain during the primaries, but not since I asked him—at a June press conference—whether he really believed Ahmadinejad was the ‘leader’ of Iran, since he has no control over foreign policy or the nuclear program,” Klein continued. “That was when they suddenly told me that I hadn’t called in time to get secret service clearance. (I had called more than a day in advance.)”

But he’s not the first high-profile critic to get the cold shoulder.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that she had been “banned” by the campaign for what they told her was “the foreseeable future.”  Despite Dowd being kept off the planes, The Times continues to have reporters travel with the campaign.

Similarly, other Time magazine staffers, including Washington bureau chief Jay Carney, ” reporter Michael Scherer, and Mark Halperin (The Page), have not had a problem with access.

Klein noted that a couple weeks ago he told McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace about planning to get on the McCain plane again, and by his account, “she seemed to think it would be fine.” (Wallace has not yet answered a request for comment).

One thing seems clear about not getting on the Palin plane: space wasn’t an issue. According to a reporter traveling with the campaign, there had been a few empty seats last week.

“My understanding is that his request came in too late,” Palin spokesperson Tracey Schmitt said.

So either Klein is consistently too late putting in requests, or the campaign just doesn’t really want him aboard.

Michael Goldfarb, the Weekly Standard writer who works for the McCain campaign told Politico, “We don’t allow Daily Kos diarists on board either.”

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