Last night I moderated/facilitated a conversation at the Headliner's Club in Austin between old (and still) friends and (possibly future) collaborators Mark McKinnon and Matthew Dowd, whose work on the '00 and '04 Bush-Cheney campaigns is near-legendary. McKinnon is today, of course, a diehard McCainiac, at the center of the Arizona Senator's '08 campaign. Dowd is happily on the sidelines this election cycle but is only too happy to kibbitz about the race. They were terrific separately and together: bracingly candid, congenitally charming, full of insight and foresight. Here are my takeaways, in no particular order, from a great hour-plus:
1. McKinnon says the McCain camp is divided on which Democrat would be a tougher opponent in the fall election. Half think Obama would be more formidable (he puts himself in that group). Half think Clinton would.