McCain Campaign Meets Joe the Blame Spreader

Associates say it was the environment that undercut the campaign.

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Bracing for a wave of finger-pointing should Sen. John McCain lose today's presidential election, friends and associates are making the case that the political environment coupled with the Republican's background in foreign policy undercut the campaign, not bumbling by aides. "The macro environment was so bad," says a campaign ally. "Bush is unpopular, McCain is a foreign policy guy, and there is the Obama phenomenon." Another McCain associate noted that before the financial crisis, the senator was up in the polls. But after the crisis hit, the campaign tried to grab a good economic issue but failed, making it look as if it was just jumping from solution to solution. "When you are being swept downstream, you are just trying to grab something. We were trying things, but it just wasn't working," said the associate. The McCain associates are eager to dismiss finger-pointing stories that have suggested that the campaign suffered from internal disputes and bumbling. "I'm not saying that everything was perfect, but what were we supposed to do?" says a longtime McCain campaign insider. What the campaign would like to avoid is the type of finger-pointing that occurred two weeks ago when a McCain aide was quoted on background slapping running mate Sarah Palin around, calling her a "diva." And aides say that they are fully confident in the abilities of the top managers, but that the political landscape kept changing.