Stuck in the dog house(s)

STUCK IN THE DOG HOUSE(S)…. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza suggested yesterday that the Obama campaign may delay its running-mate announcement, just a bit, because aides believe “the story about McCain’s many houses is political gold and they won’t want to step on it with a veep announcement that would immediately change the day’s storyline.”

Of course, it’s equally likely the Obama campaign planned to hold the news until Saturday anyway, and the fact that the house flap is manna from heaven for Democrats is just a happy coincidence. Either way, I’m probably not the only one who wasn’t too surprised this morning not to get a nice little note from David Plouffe ending the suspense.

Regardless, while there’s not a whole lot to add to yesterday’s flap du jour, I couldn’t help but enjoy the evolution of the McCain campaign’s response. Seeing Team Obama go on the offensive seemed to catch McCain staffers off guard, and their furious responses seemed oddly in line with McCain’s foreign policy worldview — act first, think second.

Notice the iterations of the campaign’s statements. First, the McCain gang said the story didn’t matter because Barack Obama likes arugula. When that was a dud, they said the story didn’t matter because McCain had been a prisoner of war. By late yesterday, McCain aides were trying to bring the candidates’ spouses into this.

Though McCain is widely perceived to drawn first blood by attacking Obama’s character, the official said that the difference between Obama’s mocking McCain for his wealth and his shaky answer on the number of homes he owns was that McCain’s charge “reflects an existential reality,” where Obama’s charges “attack Cindy. She owns the homes. I thought he said the wives were off-limits.”

Does that make any sense at all? Mocking McCain for not knowing how many homes he owns, and tying this together with McCain’s bizarre economic agenda, is necessarily an “attack” on the senator’s wife? How very odd, even by McCain standards.

Just to add a brief coda to this, Fox News’ reaction to the story was especially entertaining: “Martha MacCallum justified McCain’s comments, saying the reason he couldn’t answer was simply because the McCains ‘have real estate investments and he wanted to make sure he got that right.'”

Yes, of course. I’m sure that’s exactly why McCain has lost count of his homes. Riiiiiight.