Interesting Elisabeth Bumiller look at the sprawling group of 300 people who are in some sense "foreign policy advisers" to the Obama campaign. Marc Ambinder remarks:

The McCain response to all this -- John doesn't need daily talking points -- is a reflection on Obama's learning curve, although McCain is also very clearly learning as he is going, too.



I think that's a pretty revelatory passage. It's true that, in some sense, McCain doesn't need daily talking points. But the reason he doesn't need daily talking points isn't that he can talk about national security issues with fluency and skill without them. Lacking daily talking points, he's repeatedly confused Sunni and Shiite, repeatedly forgotten that Czechoslovakia doesn't exist, changed his position on Afghanistan twice in 24 hours, etc. In short, he's made a ton of gaffes just as you would expect from an underprepared candidate. But he's allowed to get away with a lack of adequate preparation because, in the mind of the press, his years in captivity decades ago are adequate demonstration that he understands national security issues even though there's no real basis for that view.

So far so bad, but what's doubly frustrating about this is that not only does McCain get kid gloves treatment about his national security gaffes, but his campaign then gets away with bragging about it as if it's proof that he's some kind of tough guy. "John doesn't need daily talking points," they say. And he doesn't -- because the press lets him get away with egregious errors.

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