John McCain is a compulsive liar, and not even very good at it.
Whatever the other impacts of the NYT story, and whatever you think about its emphasis on the unproven sex angle rather than the proven official improprieties on behalf of big donors, it seems to have had the effect of forcing McCain off his game. In the past, he has been unusually open to reporters, but suddenly after the Times piece ran his staff started keeping the newshounds at bay.
Not only does that suggest there are questions about the story he doesn’t want to answer — if he had a slam-dunk reply to the Times, why not let it all hang out? — it may also cost him some of the peculiarly gentle treatment he has gotten until now. The DNC is already going all out on “McCain, the lobbyists’ pal.”
Footnote Obama and McCain start from here with almost identical favorable/unfavorable numbers. Whichever winds up with the higher unfavorable in early November is probably the loser of the election. Ready, set, go!