This thing is bruised all over from 10′ poles. Yech.

The only meat in the story is that the (so far anonymous) aides say McCain admitted to an inappropriate relationship. Until they’re on the record [cough] Ed Rollins [/cough], that means only infinitesimally more than nothing.

Well, that and the fact that John McCain went straight to the editor before the story came out, complaining about the entire line of inquiry.

It will be interesting to see if the McCain campaign says anything to the effect that the story has surprised them, as part of their “suspicious timing” pushback. That would be lying.

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UPDATE:

I didn’t mean to suggest that Ed Rollins was the source, only that he might be behind the story. If so, and I don’t know how we’d ever prove that, it would mean that the Huckabee campaign is not just working toward 2012, as I thought, but is instead in it to win it.

Second, the McCain campaign’s response is typically weak. They accuse the NYT of a smear campaign, which not only sounds silly in English but the NYT endorsed Senator McCain in the primaries. Not to mention Drudge ran this story eight years ago, and both WaPo and The New Republic are on this, too.

But then there’s this:

“Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.”

Gee, if Americans are sick and tire of this kind of gutter politics, then why has your campaign been helping the Obama campaign by engaging in the gutter politics of which Americans are both sick and tired?

I swear, the McCain campaign is just mailing it in. It’s like they were surprised by their own inevitability, and now they don’t know what to do with it.

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UPDATE II:

Josh Marshall points to this article, citing all the people who have been working on this story.  Again:  “liberal New York Times” doesn’t cut it.

Michael Isikoff of Newsweek and Michael Calderone of Politico were two of the reporters at rival publications who were chasing the Times story. Calderone was particularly well informed about the details of the Times investigation. Marc Santora, who had been covering the McCain campaign for the paper, reportedly left the beat, in part because of McCain’s unhappiness with the pursuit of this story by Ruttenberg and his Times colleagues.

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