by Max Brantley
The national political press corps, which has been wishy-washy and all over the map all cycle had a harmonic convergence yesterday on a single point: Huckabee lost it at his news conference yesterday. "It" being both his stature and, perhaps, the first nominating contest. As pointed out by a colleague, as Huckabee falls back from the number above (which history suggests is more likely than not), the pundits and stories are going to blame it on what Slate's John Dickerson immediately called "Huckabee's Nutty Flip-Flop."
Ask Al Gore. Once a press narrative is established, it is hard to turn around, fact or fiction.
But that doesn't mean it did Huckabee any harm in Iowa. I expect not. He got mountains of free air time for the ad. The Atlantic indicates the Iowa press played it straight. But the national press will remember and I still think it will be a watershed moment for their view of Huckabee's genuineness. As I think Fred Barnes put it on Fox last night: "He's so cynical, he might get away with it." This time.
MEANWHILE: Polls are all over the place in Iowa. Could be Obama is losing steam.
AND ANOTHER MAJOR NEWS ORG. NOTES HIS LIES: Here, the NY Times on the NIE gaffe.