A reader wonders whether "lash" was too strong a word to use in the context of Sen. McCain's interaction with E. Bumiller. Perhaps it was. Generally, a Republican candidate's bandinage with a Times' report can help him, but the subject of the McCain-Kerry ticket is one that makes conservatives very nervous, and one that many want to know much more about. The questions will continue. Perhaps "lash" was not the best verb to describe McCain's reaction. My initial reaction to the video was that the nominee presumptive was peeved. Translated into journalese, that's "clearly irritated."