Mark McKinnon doesn't blame McCain for the type of campaign he has run:

I don’t defend everything the campaign has done. But I also don’t think they had many options, and they tried them all. I left the campaign after serving as McCain’s media adviser during the primary. I left because I respect and admire Barack Obama, though I disagree with him politically. I just didn’t want to be part of a campaign that would inevitably have to attack Obama and tear him down. But it doesn’t mean that I disagree with the fundamental strategic premise that in order to win, McCain had to disqualify Obama. I knew that, and I knew that’s where the campaign would have to go. And I so I sat it out.

I could join the ugly chorus and point out some of my disagreements about the campaign. There are a few things I might have done differently, but I don’t think any would have made any significant difference. But I know what it’s like to be on the inside of an effort that may not make it. And I know what it’s like when you join the ranks of the idiots just because you come up short. Most of all, I know that Steve Schmidt and his colleagues have run a very good campaign and have taken McCain further than he had any reasonable right to, given the political climate. And by the way, don’t tell the press, but the election ain’t over yet. The old fighter pilot may have a couple barrel rolls left in him.

If not for a major economic event that interceded a few weeks ago (for which a strong majority of voters blame Republicans), this race might still be competitive. It isn’t Steve Schmidt’s fault. It’s the economy, stupid.

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