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John McCain campaign fans the flames

March 14, 2008 |  4:30 pm

We didn't get the e-mail here at Top of the Ticket, but apparently the John McCain campaign included in a morning briefing to reporters a link to a Wall Street Journal column that weighs in quite strongly on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright-Barack Obama relationship.

As Time magazine's Swampland points out, this is notable because the McCain camp has tried to stay above the time-honored American tradition of, shall we call it, distemperate political discourse. Sending out an e-mail to political journalists directing them to to the WSJ column didn't clear the hurdle, which the McCain campaign acknowledged, saying it was sent out in error.

Of course, errors do get made. But the episode reminds that in political campaigns, the path of the message is almost as important as the message itself. So weigh that as you look at the brouhaha around the Wright Christmas sermon video, and its timing. It's hard to imagine nearly three months later someone just suddenly realized he or she had that tape in their camera and really ought to get it out on YouTube.

-- Scott Martelle