Whether you would consider the mugging hoax incident a case of reckless stupidity, shameless opportunism, or Rovian dirty trick is up to you. But this whole thing stinks. The fact that the McCain campaign would jump on this so quickly, making allegations to the press before the police made any announcement, is beyond shameful.
Consider the latest events as told to TPM by the Pittsburg tv station that broke the "mugging" incident.
I've seen far too many of Rove's dirty tricks to just toss this aside and chalk it up as a goof. Someone in the McCain staff was told to put on cheap makeup and tell the press that she was violently attacked by a black man for being a McCain supporter. She didn't just suddenly get that idea all be her lonesome self. Somebody would have seen something, somebody would have done something.
One of my "favorite" Rove stories was a Congressional campaign he was working on. Late in the campaign, they reported to the police that their main offices were bugged, accusing their opponent of the crime. It caused a media firestorm, and managed to draw enough attention away from the incumbent so that Rove's candidate could squeak by in a narrow victory.
As for the "bug," the police learned that the listening device could only have been set and turned on minutes before Rove's people made the calls. In other words, it was an inside job and total sham. Rove fabricated the entire thing, and almost certainly planted the bug himself.
That's how Karl Rove works a political campaign. Sound familiar to you?
At best, the McCain campaign, led by communications director Peter Feldman, rushed to the press to take advantage of a crime scene for the sake of scoring cheap political points. At worst, they staged the whole event, start to finish. Just let that reality sit in your mind for a while.