"McCain's visit underscored how the senator's presidential campaign has been challenged on multiple fronts by potentially damaging news. Those stories included the planned and limited release of his health records to a handful of media outlets today -- raising questions about his medical history -- along with a new focus on his ties to lobbyists."
What makes the Hagee/Parsley issues particularly troublesome for McCain is the damage it does to the his brand; how easy is it to point out that this would not have happened to McCain 2000?
"Mr. McCain has been courting Christian conservatives after attacking them eight years ago as 'agents of intolerance,' " Neela Banerjee and Michael Luo write in The New York Times. "The latest Hagee remarks to surface may strike at the heart of Mr. McCain's efforts to reach a critical group of voters, Jews, some of whom have viewed Mr. Obama with suspicion."
"In the end, it was just too much," David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network writes. (And what took so long?)
It could have a lasting impact: "John McCain's rejection of John Hagee's endorsement today is the starkest example yet of McCain's ham handed approach to dealing with the Christian Right and with handling religious matters generally," Beliefnet's Dan Gilgoff writes. "It's a striking contrast to era of George W. Bush."
Gilgoff continues: "Having been newly chastened by the Hagee ordeal, McCain may be loath to reach out to other Religious Right figures. Come November, that cold shoulder could have McCain in more political hot water than controversial endorsements from evangelical leaders."
Is it possible we're still not done with the lobbyists angle? "For a decade, Randy Scheunemann has been a campaign staffer to John McCain, an ideological ally in the fight to contain Russian power -- and a lobbyist seeking the Arizona senator's support for former Soviet states," Mary Jacoby writes in The Wall Street Journal. "Mr. Scheunemann's foreign clients aren't controversial. But his political and ideological relationship with Sen. McCain has blurred the lines between his roles as lobbyist and aide."
And you thought Democrats were calling for Charlie Black's head before? "His wife, Judy Black, is a national co-chair of the fundraising group 'Women for McCain,' and she has a vibrant lobbying practice that includes a foreign client and several companies with business before the Senate Commerce Committee, where McCain is a senior member," Matthew Mosk and Jeffrey Birnbaum report in The Washington Post. "The roles assumed by Judy Black as campaign volunteer and lobbyist highlight the difficulties McCain faces as he tries to eliminate the impression that their campaign work is also aimed at helping clients."
The week closes out with medical records -- released under strict conditions that are already part of the story.
The AP's Lauran Neergard and Liz Sidoti set the early tone: "Three-time melanoma survivor John McCain appears cancer-free, has a strong heart and is in otherwise general good health, according to eight years of medical records reviewed by The Associated Press."
"The actuarial tables say if you make to 71 in overall good health your life expectancy is about 16 years," said ABC News Medical Editor Dr. Tim Johnson, on "World News" Thursday. "That would be to about to age 87. . . . Much more difficult to predict," he added, is "any change in mental acuity."