McCain Kicks Media Out of Innovation Event

Ike Brannon, a senior policy adviser to the McCain presidential campaign, will hold a private audience Sept. 19 with AeA (the former American Electronics Association founded in 1948 and soon to be part of the ITAA's orbit). His talk: John McCain's positions on innovation and competitiveness issues.

"NO MEDIA," reads the e-mail. "As I'm sure you can appreciate, having media present would not be conducive to an open dialogue and/or candid comments." No, not really, but that's a different story.

Who could blame the McCain campaign masterminds for wanting to avoid any further damage this week when it comes to the Republican presidential hopeful's tech chops, such as they are? On Tuesday, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, another Republican master strategist, boldly brandished a BlackBerry and proclaimed, "You're looking at the miracle John McCain helped create, and that's what he did."

At least Holtz-Eakin stayed on point, albeit punctuated with a "boneheaded joke," as the campaign later joshed it all off. He was just trying to rehab his candidate, who had just likened his chairmanship of the Senate Commerce Committee to steering the great economic ship that is the U.S. economy.

"I was chairman of the Commerce Committee that oversights every part of our economy," he said, perhaps forgetting it laughably does not. The same day published McCain's responses to a questionnaire, including this gem: "Under my guiding hand, Congress developed a wireless spectrum policy that spurred the rapid rise of mobile phones and Wi-Fi technology."

Wow, BlackBerrys, mobile phones and Wi-Fi all in one day. All Al Gore could manage was to invent the Internet.

Unlike Holtz-Eakin, though, Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO, best-selling author and current public face of McCain's economic team, was clearly drifting off the reservation, candidly advising a St. Louis radio station that Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin does not have the experience to run HP. She later added that neither does McCain or Obama.

"Well, I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation," she said. "I don't think Barack Obama could run a major corporation. I don't think Joe Biden could. But it is not the same as being the president or vice president of the United States." This was, somehow, an endorsement of McCain's business and tech acumen. Of course, the HP board ultimately decided the same thing about Fiorina.

No, the chance to watch the gang that can't boot up wasn't the point of attending Brannon's appearance. I simply wanted to talk with AeA members about why they thought this election was important to technology. Brannon and what he may or may not say was all gravy to me. Now, no story and no gravy.

Which is why we turn to you, good reader. Why is this election important to technology? Or is it?