FRONT PAGE: McCain's secret PR drive to win friends in Britain

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain has launched a PR offensive in the UK amid fears that the international media are 'entranced' by his rival Barack Obama.

John McCain
John McCain

As Obama's visit to the UK this week dominates headlines, McCain and his aides have been reaching out to right-wing British bloggers such as Guido Fawkes.

The press team from the ­Republican National Committee is co-ordinating the international blog relations efforts.

Republican spokeswoman Liz Mair said it was a way ‘to ­ensure McCain's message is heard not just by a handful of British leaders, but by many British citizens'.

She added that while current UK blog outreach efforts were focused on the ‘centre-right community', the Republican hopeful intended to ­‘expand communications with overseas bloggers as the campaign progresses'.

UK bloggers on the McCain team's current hit list include Paul ‘Guido Fawkes' Staines and Toby Harnden of The Daily Telegraph. Both are invited to join regular conference calls with top Republican campaigners and members of the US Congress. McCain himself is known to join these calls.

Staines said: ‘I think it is important that Americans don't get the false impression that the outside world unanimously wants Obama to win.'

But fellow influential right-wing blogger Iain Dale slammed McCain's blog outreach efforts as ‘too little'. Dale added: ‘People on the right are quite entranced by Obama, myself included.'

LabourHome blogger Mark Hanson said: ‘We haven't had calls from Team Obama, but we have our arms wide open and we are also ready to co-operate with Team Brown.'

Media on McCain
McCain is seeking a way to wrest the headlines back from Obama. (The Guardian, 23 July)

Things are hard for John McCain and his campaign these days, what with Barack Obama... stealing all the attention. (Wall Street Journal, 22 July)

‘The media are in love with Barack Obama,' the McCain campaign said in an email to his supporters. (Reuters, 22 July)

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