The morning after John McCain's defeat, Mark Salter, McCain's closest aide and biographer, sipped coffee in the courtyard of the Biltmore Resort and Spa while explaining why the national political press had assisted Barack Obama. "On top of everything, we had a thumb on the scale," he said, referring to the media's role in refereeing the campaign. "It wasn't right, but it was what it was."
Salter said that McCain would have preferred to campaign in the general election in the same way he campaigned in New Hampshire, but that the press and Obama made that impossible. "I think if we had gotten 10 town halls out of Obama," Salter said, "it would have come close to that. McCain's ideal as a general would have been flying around on an airplane with Barack Obama, debating in town halls and having dinner with him afterwards."