For The Record

The NYT:

“Mr. Podesta has been mapping out the transition so systematically that he has already written a draft Inaugural Address for Mr. Obama, which he published this summer in a book called “The Power of Progress.” The speech calls for rebuilding a “grand alliance” with the rest of the world, bringing troops home from Iraq, recommitting to the war in Afghanistan, cutting poverty in half in 10 years and reducing greenhouse gases 80 percent by 2050.”

This has been picked up by John McCain:

“Sen. John McCain this afternoon seized on a newspaper report that Sen. Barack Obama’s staff has already written a draft of an inaugural address for the Democrat, mocking the presumptuousness.

“When I pull this thing off, I have a request for my opponent: I want him to save that manuscript of his inaugural address and donate it to the Smithsonian, and they can put it right next to the Chicago paper that says, ‘Dewey defeats Truman,’ ” McCain said in this Las Cruces, N.M., suburb.”

For the record: it’s not true. ThinkProgress:

“– The book, which was in the works for over a year and was written with the help of CAP’s in-house progressive historian John Halpin, traces the history and successes of progressive politics in the 20th Century, draws lessons from that history, and then applies those lessons to the big challenges facing the country — the global economy, global warming, and global security. At the end, there is a sample inaugural address written not “for Mr. Obama,” but rather, clearly offered as a literary device to summarize the main arguments in the book.

— The inaugural address was written and submitted to the publisher in March 2008, during a time when Podesta was supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Podesta re-did the introduction to the book — but not the inaugural address — in June when it became clear that Obama would emerge as the nominee.”

As ThinkProgress points out, Obama has been heavily involved in the writing of his speeches. It would be very odd for him to let someone else write his inaugural address.

If the NYT didn’t bother to get the facts before writing, they should have. If they knew that Podesta’s speech was not written for Obama, they should have made that fact a lot clearer in what they wrote. Either way, they really screwed up.

H/t Matt Yglesias.