From TPM Reader PM …
Speaking of McCain’s temper, does anybody remember the whole 2006 ethics reform matter. I have been thinking about this for days, ever since the first debate. I didn’t remember all the details at first, only that McCain had responded to a cordial, inoffensive letter from Obama with some unhinged rant. At the time Obama’s star was definitely rising and I remember thinking this old guy is mad as hell that he is being shown-up by this “young upstart”. Perhaps it was even more calculated than that. Certainly in 2006 McCain already had this election in mind and the word presidential was being applied to Senator Obama. I felt at the time it was a preemptive smear, trying to knock Obama down a few pegs before he became too much of a threat. Thank God for Google, a search for “Obama McCain letters” brought up this:
I didn’t remember Obama’s reply but upon reading it all I could think was how consistent it was with the sort of campaign he has run. Unfortunately it would seem McCain has been consistent as well.
Check out the link and relive the early days, when the bile was just beginning to rise.
It so happens I do remember this. And very well actually. I remember blogging about it at the time.
This was McCain’s response to Obama’s pretty anodyne letter …
I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics, I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s efforts to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness.
You can really see the kernel of this campaign’s psychodrama (in more than one sense of the word) in this first exchange. Here from February 2006 are some more thoughts I had then about what was going on.