Republicans have been making excited noises about John McCain "rebutting" Barack Obama's speech tonight with an extra special ad. In particular, they're excited that McCain will address his opponent directly by name. Some Democrats speculated that McCain would unleash yet another attack, but, as it turns out, he'll be congratulating Sen. Obama. Watch it for yourself:
Huh. A surprising plot twist I suppose. I don't expect the media to be particularly attentive to the larger context here, so I might as well say it myself: Just because John McCain is airing this one single ad congratulating his opponent (in rather vague terms I would ad) doesn't excuse the fact that, on the balance, he's running a despicable campaign and he'll likely return to garbage attacks in very short order.
In any case, this seems to suggest two larger points to me: (1) There isn't a chance in hell McCain will purposely leak his VP tonight. If he was going to distract the nation from Obama's speech with his pick, why would he bother to air an ad saying it was Obama's night. (2) As usual, the McCain campaign seems fragmented and confused. I sort of understand what they're trying to do here (look he's so gracious and generous! ignore our slime throwing of the last month!), but I think it primarily underscores the fact that McCain has no central campaign narrative to advance. So he's got all sorts of tactical gimmicks (compliment to distract from our negative campaigning!), but very little in the way of a longterm strategy.