In the news, McCain goes to a grocery store in Bethlehem, Pennsylania and invites the press.
Suzanne Smalley, on the scene for Newsweek, was amongst the first to refer to it as an “unscheduled campaign stop.” She went on to report:
[…] Renee Gould, the young mother McCain had an extended chat with about the high price of tomatoes and milk, was not a random shopper, but an area resident funneled to the campaign by the local Republican Party. Gould’s admission (a reporter cornered her and asked how she came to be there) was ultimately not all that surprising. Even with the amusing mishaps, the entire event came off as canned, and McCain—whose discomfort with the phoniness required by politics has always been evident—spent most of his time shifting uncomfortably.
Still, McCain did what he could to stick to his message, reading from a note card in his hand […]
The event may not have been on whatever schedule has been issued to reporters but there was a script and an actor recruited. The press was notified. It would be more appropriate to say the photo op was scheduled at the last minute. McCain didn’t get a notion to pop into a grocery store and speak with customers about the price of a gallon of milk. It was pre-arranged.
Yet another example of reporters and their employers manufacturing excuses for McCain’s unappealing personality and desperate campaign moves.
McCain isn’t phony, he is discomfited by it. Nothing prevented McCain from tossing the note card and carrying on a conversation with the young mother worried about the rising cost of groceries. He didn’t do so because he is a remote, calloused politician who requires direction and cue cards, and even when rehearsed, performs below industry standards.