From Matt Bai’s New York Times magazine cover story on John McCain:

John McCain has never been very good at political artifice. Like every politician I’ve known, McCain will sometimes surrender to the cheap ploy or prevarication when the moment demands it, but it is often with a smirk or a wince, some hard-to-miss signal that he knows he’s up to no good.

Additional support for The Gabler Theory of McCain Press Coverage (summarized by my colleague Clint Hender as follows: “You see, McCain intentionally lets the press know he sees this all as a game and that he’s working them, which, in turn, the press appreciates because it echoes their own cynicism about their role in the political media complex. It’s all just a game, and we’re along for the ride.”)?

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.