I can't remember a Presidential campaign, this far into the cycle, go so completely into disarray as we've seen with the McCain camp this week.
Last week during the DNC, I mentioned a conversation I had with reporters who have been following McCain; they said that the campaign gives absolutely no access to the candidate, and that now, with the big media about to join the McCain travelling press, this could cause the campaign serious trouble. (Bloomberg reported yesterday that McCain hasn't held a news conference since Aug. 13.)
Wow, did it not take long. McCain built up his VP announcement on Friday deliberately to grab all the big media attention away from the Obama coverage -- and then gave the media who he had called together to write and talk about Palin absolutely NOTHING. Brief, cursory bio information; no interviews with the VP nominee (not even the traditional first-night Larry King sit-down, which McCain had earlier promised King on air); no press conference; no nothing. (The LA Times reports that Palin has done one interview -- with People Magazine -- since being named.) They haven't even brought her around for meetings with high-level GOPers (standing up Phylis Shlafely!), so that they could talk about her. What the hell did they expect?
Meanwhile, it is clear that behind the Palin pick infuriated a number of people close to the campaign -- infuriated them enough to go yakking to the press. The number of "close advisers" who have been leaking private, damning details of the vetting process, is amazing for a Presidential campaign at this level. This is what's really killing them -- once this became a "poor vetting" story, that's a legitimate hook to hang all the little Palin stories on. (From my understanding, the leaks are mainly coming from the Bush loyalists, who were insisting on Mitt Romney as the pick -- that's right, this may ultimatelbe in part a tale of Romney sabotage!)
Today, Katie, I've been asked questions that are outrageous by the national media. I've been asked questions when her amniotic fluid started to leak with regard to her last birth. I was asked whether we would make the genetic tests available because she had a Down Syndrome child. Members of this campaign went to off the record lunches with reporters today, and they were asked if she would do paternity tests to prove paternity for her last child. Smear after smear after smear, and it's disgraceful and it's wrong.