Matt Drudge is reporting that the McCain campaign will leak the identity of their Vice Presidential pick at 6 pm tonight, and confirm the identity at 8 pm. Barack Obama is scheduled to give his acceptance speech between 10 pm and 11 pm. Obviously, this is a tactic designed to break into Obama’s news cycle.
It’s cheap. It’s pretty low class. And it’s excellent politics.
I think the McCain camp is miscalculating here – and although an announcement tomorrow might cut into Obama’s bounce, leaking the news tonight will cut into any benefit McCain might derive from it.
But the real bet must be that by leaking the news tonight so soon before Obama’s speech they can force him to react to the pick or look foolish not doing so.
I’m not sure exactly how this will play out – but McCain is playing a dangerous game here. And I’m not sure his campaign is up to it.
Of course, McCain does seem a bit cranky in his recent interview with Time magazine:
In 2000, after the primaries, you went back to South Carolina to talk about what you felt was a mistake you had made on the Confederate flag. Is there anything so far about this campaign that you wish you could take back or you might revisit when it’s over?
[Does not answer.]
Do I know you? [Says with a laugh.]
[Long pause.] I’m very happy with the way our campaign has been conducted, and I am very pleased and humbled to have the nomination of the Republican Party.
You do acknowledge there was a change in the campaign, in the way you had run the campaign?
[Shakes his head.]
You don’t acknowledge that? O.K., when your aides came to you and you decided, having been attacked by Barack Obama, to run some of those ads, was there a debate?
The campaign responded as planned.
I guess McCain has now decided to go out of his way to alienate the group he once called his base – presumably following the same Rovian strategy that Bush did.
McCain obviously does not care about his independent brand anymore.