Bloomberg, Jan. 18: "Something about South Carolina brings out the beast in U.S. presidential campaigns. In the last week before its Jan. 19 primary, the Palmetto State is awash in stealth e-mail attacks, fake polling calls and other dirty tricks reminiscent of the scurrilous rumors that scuttled John McCain's candidacy in 2000."
Politico, Jan. 18: "The national media thinks John McCain is under siege again, and his campaign is only too happy to help reporters file their stories ... The truth is, not that many nasty things are going on in 2008, certainly not compared to the bare-knuckled 2000 GOP presidential primary here, and probably not much more so than in your garden-variety campaign for elected office."
Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.