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McCain Rips Obama

John McCain may have to change the name of his '08 tour bus to the "Sarcasm Express" after the gutting he gave Barack Obama yesterday for playing games over bipartisan lobbying reform:

"I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership's preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won't make the same mistake again."

If you're not aware of the backstory leading up to McCain's remarkable letter, read Jeff Zeleny in today's Chicago Tribune. Incidentally, this story is big news here in the Chicago area for obvious reasons but also in other papers across the nation. Two places you won't find the story this morning: The New York Times and the Washington Post. Go figure.

Anyway, Obama responded that he is "puzzled" by McCain's criticism.  He shouldn't be. Obama got caught working the bait and switch for partisan advantage, and McCain rightfully made him pay. Want proof? Listen to how one of the mildest, least partisan Republicans in the Senate viewed the episode:

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who chairs the main committee dealing with the reform plans, told the Chicago Sun-Times that her panel is already at work on ethics.

"I don't know what more Sen. Obama is seeking," Collins said. "The committee is proceeding in a transparent and bipartisan way."

She said she was not offended if McCain wanted to put together a working group on the side and was "surprised and disappointed to hear about Sen. Obama's letter.... This would have been the last thing that I expected."

This is the second time in the last three weeks Obama has let his partisan slip show. For a guy as smart and as calculating as he is, that constitutes a pattern, not a coincidence.