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CNN reporter slams Drudge's charge that he 'heckled' McCain; Exclusive video confirms his claim
Michael Roston and David Edwards
Published: Monday April 2, 2007
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CNN reporter Michael Ware this morning hit back at news aggregator Matt Drudge who accused him on Sunday of "heckling" Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham at a Baghdad press conference. Video acquired by RAW STORY appeared to show a short press conference without any interruptions and with Ware himself asking no questions during the question and answer session.

On CNN this morning, Ware denied the Drudge Report "exclusive" which ran yesterday and questioned Drudge's source.

"This is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official of some kind to a blog, to somewhere on the internet," Ware told Soledad O'Brien this morning on CNN, according to an unofficial transcript posted at the conservative blog Power Line. "No one has gone and put their name forward. We certainly haven't heard Senator McCain say anything about it or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it."

Ware instead accused the officials running the press conference of preventing the CNN correspondent from even asking a question.

"Indeed, I didn't say a word. I didn't even ask a question," Ware added. "In fact, when I raised my hand to ask a question, the press conference abruptly ended, so what I would suggest is that anyone who has any queries about whether I heckled, watch the videotape of the press conference."

RAW STORY acquired the following video clip of the introductory remarks segment of the press conference on CNN, which did not appear to include any interruptions from Ware or other reporters.

This next video shows the Q&A, where Senator McCain and the other participants field questions from four reporters. The Senators answer without interruption, and CNN's Ware, who appears to be sitting just in front of the camera in the full-room shots of the press conference, does not ask a question, although he does raise his hand toward the end of the clip when the Q&A is concluded.

Drudge alleged on his website yesterday that Ware had heckled the Senators during a live press conference.

"An official at the press conference called Ware’s conduct 'outrageous,' saying, 'here you have two United States Senators in Bagdad [sic] giving first-hand reports while Ware is laughing and mocking their comments. I’ve never witnessed such disrespect. This guy is an activist not a reporter,'" according to Drudge's article, which has circulated heavily on the internet. (Screen capture here.)

Ware has criticized McCain heavily on CNN broadcasts since the Senator made his statement that certain neighborhoods of Baghdad were safe enough to walk through.

"Senator McCain's credibility now on Iraq, which has been so solid to this point, has now been left out hanging to dry," Ware said on CNN's Situation Room on March 27. "To suggest that there's any neighborhood in this city where an American can walk freely is beyond ludicrous. I'd love Senator McCain to tell me where that neighborhood is and he and I can go for a stroll."

Michael Ware's on air response to Drudge's charge is included in this additional video clip from CNN's American Morning.

RAW STORY thanks MickWare.com for posting video of the press conference in question.