John McCain's famously cozy relationship with the press is getting a bit testy. Taking questions in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday the Arizona Republican blew off Wall Street Journal reporter Elizabeth Holmes, right after she stated her name and affiliation.
"Who else has a question," McCain interjected, before calling on a journalist with CNN. (For some comedy, watch Sen. Lindsay Graham's face on the far right of the screen after McCain shoots down Holmes.)
Later in the press availability, McCain went back to Holmes for her question. But another reporter told the Huffington Post that the brush off was legitimate and the message was clear: "He was definitively dissing her."
Holmes did not return a request for comment, but it should be noted that the exchange occurred after her name appeared on two recent articles that the McCain campaign likely viewed as critical. On Wednesday, Holmes co-authored a piece titled "News Coverage Of Obama Irks McCain Team."
"John McCain used to jokingly call the media 'my base.' Now, he and his aides are becoming increasingly frustrated with what they see as a growing press infatuation with his rival, Barack Obama."
That same day, her byline was on an article titled: "Consensus May Be Nearing on Iraq Pullout," undoubtedly a foreign policy frame that the McCain campaign is loathe to acknowledge.
The relationship between McCain and the fourth estate has come under some strain during the past week. The Senator, who has a lengthy track record of respect for the press, has unleashed his aides to publicly air grievances with what they see as fawning coverage of Barack Obama. This past week, the campaign handed out JV Press Passes to reporters who didn't cover the Illinois Democrat's trip overseas.
At the same time, Obama - who is much more closed-off to the media than McCain - has, himself, begun to stir the ire of the press pool. The New Republic reported Thursday night that the Senator's staff had been stifling their inquiries and airing complaints about coverage.
Reporters are grumbling more and more that the campaign is acting like the Prom Queen. They gripe that it is "arrogant" and "control[ling]," and the campaign's own belief that Obama is poised to make history isn't endearing, either. The press certainly helped Obama get so far so fast; the question is, how far can he get if his campaign alienates them?