The earth moves under Saint John's feet:
The issue itself is trivial, and will soon be forgotten by most voters. The relevant thing here is that McCain is being held to the same standard as the Democrats, and that will not do. The entirety of his electoral hopes rests on keeping Bush's tired voting bloc intact, while attracting enough independents to carry enough swing states to win the whole thing. In order to do that, with a stumbling economy and the burden of being from the two-term incumbent party, and a very unpopular party fronted by a very unpopular president, at that, he needs every break he can get. He's never been all that great a politician to begin with -- his unsure answer captured in the video is actually quite typical of the man when he isn't surrounded by fawning sycophants -- but the media have always been happy to prop him up. Without that propping he'd be in trouble anyway; with the other problems he has he's doomed. He needs a media double standard, and he isn't getting it so far. To be sure, Obama has a similar problem -- he's never been confronted with anything but a coddling press corps, and is going to have to learn to fight for himself. But Obama is smarter than McCain, a better, smoother public speaker, and the electoral winds are at his back. I think an Obama candidacy is still the Republicans' best hope to win this year, but it's starting to look like not much of a hope.