Less than two months after the furor over its lobbyist liaison story about him, the Times today features "2 McCain Moments, Rarely Mentioned," his "discussions in 2001 with Democrats about leaving the Republican Party, and his conversations in 2004 with Senator John Kerry about becoming Mr. Kerry’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket."
If he feels the Times is hounding him, McCain has cause. The newspaper's own Public Editor joined in the general criticism of the February story, noting that, "although it raised one of the most toxic subjects in politics--sex--it offered readers no proof."
Today's rehash about McCain's flirtation with the Democrats after being smeared by the Bush machine in 2000 is, to put it mildly, gratuitous. It relies entirely on old material, particularly a story in the Washington paper, The Hill, that appeared on February lst, just before Super Tuesday.
Two weeks ago, a testy exchange about the Kerry overture between McCain and the Times' Elisabeth Bumiller on his campaign plane ended with her asking him, "Can I ask you about your...Why you’re so angry?" McCain didn't answer.
One consolation for the Republican standard bearer is that his right-wing critics, Rush Limbaugh et al, are now rushing to defend him from the "drive-by attacks" of their least favorite newspaper. His campaign couldn't have planned it better.