At this point, just about everyone agrees: It was not a good week for John McCain.
The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller, for example, has an interesting article Friday, a look back at how McCain fared over the past few days. It's not a rosy picture. Bumiller starts off by observing, "Senator John McCain's presidential campaign recovered from a near-death experience almost exactly a year ago, and political candidates stumble in and out of troughs all the time. But it is safe to say that Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is not having a spectacular week."
To bolster her point, she turned to Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist who was working for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee earlier this year. "McCain is having a disastrous week," Rollins said. "It would have been better if he had just kept a low profile and stayed out of the limelight. He got dragged into making a lot of stupid comments about Obama, and there's been this tremendous contrast with the visuals, which is what a lot of people pay attention to."
And though she quotes one aide, Mark Salter, saying he's not worried, Bumiller notes that McCain's camp is well aware of how the week has gone. "Campaign advisers to Mr. McCain say that the mood is not good at headquarters in Arlington, Va., and that the week got off to a bad start when Mr. McCain was photographed in a golf cart with the 84-year-old former President George Bush in the resort town of Kennebunkport, Me.," Bumiller writes. "It was the same day that pictures of Mr. Obama in sleek sunglasses alongside Gen. David H. Petraeus in a helicopter in Iraq were beamed all over the world."
Separately, Politico's Mike Allen asks a very good question: "Do we think that the Republican effort to goad Obama into taking a foreign trip will be written about in textbooks as a GOOD idea?"
And at NBC's First Read blog, in a post written by Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro, there's this:
So was this week a turning point in the presidential race? The Obama campaign certainly believes it was, and that this will be the moment that Obama grabs the lead for good. If McCain never catches up at this point, his campaign's actions this week (its blistering criticism of Obama and the media, the visuals it picked, its body language, its VP games) will get second-guessed for months ... Watching McCain chasing the news cycle and his inability to not let Obama get under his skin -- and the campaign's -- suggests that they could be reactive from this day forward. Why, for instance, did the campaign insist on the equal treatment (see network interviews) this week and not simply attempt to create its own week of coverage from the nets? They were second fiddle all week, and seemed to almost demand being highlighted in that way.