Commenting on a new joint interview with John McCain and Sarah Palin, NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd described the Republican ticket as lacking cohesion, chemistry, and (he hinted) trust.
"There was a tenseness," Todd told MSNBC's Chris Matthews. "I couldn't see chemistry between John McCain and Sarah Palin. I felt as if we grabbed two people and said 'here, sit next to each other, we are going to conduct an interview.' They are not comfortable with each other yet."
Todd, who was remarking on the interview conducted by NBC's Brian Williams (he was in the room), speculated that the candidates had come to the realization that "they are losing" the campaign, and guessed that McCain may have begun to hold his vice presidential choice responsible for his dwindling White House chances.
"When you see the two of them together, the chemistry is just not there. You do wonder, is John McCain starting to blame her for things? Blaming himself? Is she blaming him?" asked the highly regarded NBC newsman. "And maybe they don't feel they can win right now, so they are missing that intensity. That was the thing that struck me more than anything. You almost wonder why they wanted the two of them sitting next to each other."
The interview, Williams said, would air over the course of three days. And some actual news - beyond the body language - was drawn from the proceedings: Palin, apparently to her own staff's surprise, promised to release her medical records.
"Both of these candidates are on the verge of pulling a Bullworth," said Todd, referencing the late '90s political classic about a pol who stopped spinning. "We are at a critical juncture inside this campaign for the McCain folks and that is who is trusting who? You have got people worrying about their reputations. Now you are wondering do the candidates trust the staff? Does the staff trust the candidates? This is a dangerous time in a campaign that is behind. They desperately need some good news because you do wonder if cohesion is disappearing on the inside."