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John McCain gets spiked by the N.Y. Times -- probably to his benefit

July 21, 2008 |  2:13 pm

John McCain has felt the sting of rejection of what he no doubt considered a finely wrought piece of prose (we know the feeling). But it appears that for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee (and perhaps one of his ghost writers), all's well that ends well.

As first reported on Matt Drudge's Web site, the New York Times rejected an opinion piece submitted by McCain that sought to counter an essay on Iraq by Barack Obama that appeared -- prominently -- on the paper's Op-Ed page July 14.

"I'm not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written," a Times editor, David Shipley, informed the McCain campaign, according to the Drudge item.

Shipley, in requesting a rewrite from the McCain camp, elaborated that Obama's offering "worked for me because it offered new information ... while Senator Obama discussed Senator McCain, he also went into detail about his own plans." For a parallel piece to pass his muster, Shipley added, it "would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq."

Shipley may have been on slippery ground in touting the "new information" that Obama had provided; little leaps out in a rereading. Indeed, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee introduced several of his specifics with these phrases: "As I've said many times," and "As I have often said."

Regardless, the Drudge post asserts that the rebuff "has ignited explosive charges of media bias in top Republican circles."

Well, we imagine the folks in those top GOP rungs couldn't be more pleased than to have a fresh reason to flog a tried-and-true target for conservatives.

More to the point, the flap has called far more attention to the McCain article -- run in its entirety by Drudge --than would have been the case had it cropped up, without fanfare, inside the Times.

Also, ABC News reports that the New York Post may run the piece.

-- Don Frederick