early and often

McCain Campaign a ‘Circular Firing Squad’

“Don’t shoot! I’m not an Arab!”

When high-level workers at the McCain-Palin campaign aren’t busy sending out their résumés to the private sector, they’re calling up reporters to talk on background about who is to blame for the decline of their candidate’s prospects. “The cake is baked,” a former McCain strategist told Politico. “We’re entering the finger-pointing and positioning-for-history part of the campaign. It’s every man for himself now.” Staffers in the Virginia headquarters have started referring to the campaign in the past tense, and communication with the RNC has awkwardly ground to a halt. It’s as though the hotheaded schizophrenia of the campaign has somehow seeped back into the hearts of its own creators.

Meanwhile, The New Republic today teaches us that Obama’s now legendary coolheadedness in the campaign isn’t just a product of his own inherent level temperament. It’s also a carefully researched and rehearsed tactic that mastermind David Axelrod developed over years of selling black candidates to white voters. Obama, who knew Axelrod’s skill in this specific department, courted him as an adviser for years.

The two stories are informative peeks into the insides of the campaigns at the moment, but they’re also indicative of a new trend: The guts of both campaigns are still being inspected piece by piece by the media — but only one of them is really being treated like a corpse.

Blame game: GOP forms circular firing squad [Politico]
The Message Keeper [New Republic]

McCain Campaign a ‘Circular Firing Squad’