Political Capital with John Harwood

John McCain And NY Times Story: Could It Help His Campaign?

Presidential Candidate, John McCain

I had a particular interest in today’s page one New York Times story on John McCain because I write for the newspaper in addition to my day job in television.

The story created an immediate sensation as soon as it was released electronically, taking over cable TV political shows last night and dominating morning shows on cable and broadcast networks alike.

So far, there’s no sign of the kind of catastrophic effect that such stories sometimes have on politicians. McCain held a news conference this morning at which he calmly and directly rebutted the information offered by former aides in the story–-as effective a performance as I’ve seen in such circumstances.

And by mid–afternoon, "Team McCain" was attempting to turn the story to their advantage. “Here we go,” declared an email from campaign manager Rick Davis, citing the story as part of an attack on McCain from the “liberal” establishment. Given his own tenuous relationship with the Republican right, McCain could use a few good scraps with the liberal establishment, such as it is.

So could the story actually help McCain? It depends on whether any other allegations surface. But it could.

McCain Fights Affair Allegations

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