Gabriel Sherman looks at the role the National Enquirer plays in politics:

The National Enquirer, with its checkbook journalism and its focus on the salacious and the untoward, is hardly grist for journalism school classes. It has also gotten some stories spectacularly wrong, on August 1 settling a lawsuit for an undisclosed sum after it incorrectly reported in 2006 that Ted Kennedy had fathered a love child of his own. But the paper also has a remarkable record in driving the mainstream media's coverage of political figures, from Gary Hart and Donna Rice to Jesse Jackson's love child to the current Edwards gotcha, the product of a scrappiness and enterprise that even the Times should envy.

Yesterday, the McCain camp threatened to sue the Enquirer over what might be a story in the upcoming edition.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to