TARNISHED HALO….Ana Marie Cox, back from spending some face time on the Straight Talk Express, explains how John McCain’s willingness to talk to the press endlessly isn’t buying him as much love as it did in 2004:

In the past, this tremendous access bred a certain amount of protectiveness among some journalists — you don’t want to play “gotcha” with someone who gives all the time. The dynamic on this campaign is slightly different, and the coverage — including mine — shows it. Those new to covering him want to prove they won’t fall for the old guy’s charm. Those who covered him in 2000 want to prove they never did. Congratulations, blogosphere!

Sounds about right to me, though there’s hardly any need to bend over backwards here. If McCain merely gets the coverage he deserves, he’s doomed.

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