McCAIN DERAILS….I guess the Straight Talk Express is finally melting down. After returning from a trip to Iraq — something hardly likely to have lifted his spirits — John McCain apparently blew up at campaign manager Terry Nelson and chief strategist John Weaver over their out-of-control spending. In the end, he fired Nelson and Weaver then resigned:

Weaver’s resignation was the most surprising. He has been McCain’s chief strategist and confidant for many years, playing a role as central to the Arizonan’s political operations as White House senior adviser Karl Rove has played in President Bush’s.

The only other person in McCain’s inner circle as close to the candidate is Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime top Senate aide as well as the co-author of his best-selling books and all his major speeches.

Whew. So at least he still has Salter, right? Marc Ambinder reports:

One Republican directly connected to today’s events said that Mark Salter, McCain’s long-time chief of staff and co-author of his five books, had also left the campaign payroll. But Salter will remain as an adviser.

Oops. More from Ambinder here.