I can appreciate how difficult it must be for a news outlet like the Associated Press to find new and interesting things to write about when it comes
July 9, 2008

I can appreciate how difficult it must be for a news outlet like the Associated Press to find new and interesting things to write about when it comes to the presidential campaign. For that matter, I can even appreciate that, once in a while, a story with a human-interest angle might help break things up a bit.

But as part of my ongoing fascination with the AP’s awful coverage of the campaign, I’m afraid this item is just silly.

If the presidential election goes to the dogs, John McCain is looking like best in show.

From George Washington’s foxhound “Drunkard” to George W. Bush’s terriers “Barney” and “Miss Beazley,” pets are a longtime presidential tradition for which the presumed Republican nominee seems well prepared, with more than a dozen.

The apparent Democratic nominee Barack Obama, on the other hand, doesn’t have a pet at home. The pet-owning public seems to have noticed the difference. An AP-Yahoo! News poll found that pet owners favor McCain over Obama 42 percent to 37 percent, with dog owners particularly in McCain’s corner.

The AP quoted one person saying, “I think a person who owns a pet is a more compassionate person — caring, giving, trustworthy. I like pet owners,” and found another willing to argue on the record that if a person owns a pet that “tells you that they’re responsible at least for something, for the care of something.”

This poll and related story are even worse than the usual palaver. Mark Blumenthal has the definitive take-down.

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