Washington Post reporters Dana Milbank and Jonathan Weisman gave the McCain campaign a nipple-stiffening moment today after they picked up a statement by Barack Obama, and used it, apparently, entirely out of context, presenting it for the consumption of Post readers in a way that made it look like Obama was being arrogant.
For Milbank's part, it was all because he wanted to wedge the statement into his preferred frame: "Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee." I believe it was Oscar Wilde who cautioned: "Reality is a MADE thing."
And, as it turns out, Milbank's "reality" is something of a deconstruction. Milbank's remake reads:
"This is the moment . . . that the world is waiting for," adding: "I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions."
According to a Democratic leadership aide in attendance, the full quote from Obama is:
It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.
(For what it's worth, before Milbank's column was published, we received a separate eye-witness account of Obama's meeting with House Dems that mirrored the full context quote above.)
So, in actuality, Obama was attempting to diminish his own importance, not place himself on a pedestal. It was an attempt at humility, not arrogance.
And speaking of arrogance, really - Milbank is a fine one to be speaking on the subject. Via Wonkette, we present to you this video of a slurring Milbank, pompously declaring, "I will not read blogs, I'm sorry...If something is important enough, it will be brought to my attention."