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Chuck Todd is still amazing in every way.Charming hairfaced news-geek Lothario Chuck Todd said all sorts of amazing things on Hardball last night about how John McCain and Sarah Palin appear to despise each other, and how their campaign staff are all tired and annoyed and full of hate for the world, and so on. It was wondrously candid! (Chuck Todd is in the tank, obviously.) Of course this morning the blog he co-authors had to run an unattributed sort-of retraction. Full text after the jump.

*** The dangers of parachuting in: Spending part of the day with the McCain-Palin campaign for yesterday’s interview was both an enviable and unenviable task. It’s always tricky to over-read exhaustion. The campaign pushed back hard on an initial impression one of us said on MSNBC — that there was a lack of chemistry between McCain and Palin during the interview — and cautioned us not to read too much into the campaign soup that’s exhaustion, mixed with a couple of tough news days for the ticket, some bad poll numbers, a healthy skepticism of the press, a pretty tough New York Times Magazine piece, and the fact that the two candidates don’t spend every day together. It was the same dynamic as you might see with Obama and Biden, except they have the luxury of having the motivation of positive news on their side, which can loosen folks up. Bottom line: The McCain campaign appears a bit tight (which is understandable given where we are in the campaign). But there is a bunker mentality that folks like us, when we parachute in, can miss. It’s a good lesson for all of us: Always be cautious from over-analyzing a situation; it can be dangerous punditry.

*** One other point: This is not an easy time for the trailing campaign, as more and more outsiders begin pointing fingers and assigning blame. It’s human nature to look over your shoulder and wonder what’s coming next. The McCain campaign team seems to be a more cohesive bunch than Kerry’s, Gore’s or Dole’s, so the backbiting might be held to a minimum. But it doesn’t make it any easier to read these pre-bituaries.

Wow, that is some kind of praise, that McCain is not yet quite as much of a failure as Bob Dole.

First thoughts: Double digits [First Read]

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