McCain's inside job: Buckingham whacks Romney

Back when John McCain hired Rob Gray as an adviser, some people were decidedly unimpressed by the move. After all, the thinking went, Gray was the mastermind behind Kerry Healey's campaign--and look how that worked out!

Now we see why Gray was a nice pick-up. In today's Herald, columnist Ginny Buckingham urges New Hampshire Republican primary voters to protect the country from Mitt Romney, in "N.H. should shun our fiscal phony." Now, Buckingham and Gray go way back: when Jim Kerasiotes was combusting back in 2000, for example, one of the highlights was a Wall Street Journal interview in which he called Buckingham (who was running Massport for then-Gov. Paul Cellucci) a "reptile" and Gray (who was a top Cellucci aide) a "moron."

Maybe Buckingham would have written the exact same column if Gray was working for Romney. But I doubt it. Her piece, in turn, was promptly picked up by the Note in today's Romney-announcement extravaganza, which should give it decent national circulation.

Romney already has a strategy for neutralizing bad press from the Globe. But dismissing negative assessments from Massachusetts's small cadre of conservative commentators will be trickier. If Gray keeps delivering this kind of coverage in the coming months, McCain's decision to hire him will look inspired.

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