Earlier today, Marc Ambinder described an Obama campaign memo this way: "If it's 2pm the day of the debate, it must be an expectations-lowering memo."
Just a few hours later, he engaged in some expectations-lowering of his own -- on behalf of John McCain.
McCain has spent a lot less time preparing for this debate than Obama owing to McCain's decision to suspend his campaign and return to Washington.
We'll probably see a lot of assertions like this, but how do reporters know it is true? McCain didn't actually return to Washington until yesterday afternoon -- and he was at home by 6 pm. Besides which, he can do debate prep from anywhere. So how does Marc Ambinder -- or anyone else -- know how much time the candidates spent preparing for the debate? Particularly with enough certainty to announce that one has spent "a lot less time" than the other?
Also: John McCain didn't suspend his campaign. Anyone who says he did isn't telling the truth.
And Marc Ambinder knows McCain didn't suspend his campaign. Here's what Ambinder wrote yesterday: "The campaign is 'suspended,' although we know it's a partial suspension of some activities designed to look like a full-scale suspension."
So, in a single sentance, Ambinder wrote something he knows isn't true, and something he cannot know is true -- both of which help McCain.