The Note: Desperate Times . . .

Said O'Malley: "I very seldom get to see any television, but I did watch part of the political conventions, and for me the star of the conventions was Trig Palin, whose mother said that he was 'beautiful' and 'perfect.' . . . And when his little sister used that spit to slick his hair down, I mean, I stood up and applauded."

The Los Angeles Times' Ralph Vartabedian and Richard A. Serrano look at McCain's crash landings: "In his most serious lapse, McCain was 'clowning' around in a Skyraider over southern Spain about December 1961 and flew into electrical wires, causing a blackout, according to McCain's own account as well as those of naval officers and enlistees aboard the carrier Intrepid. In another incident, in 1965, McCain crashed a T-2 trainer jet in Virginia."

The Washington Post's Paul Farhi on the marriage that crashed: "According to public records, he and Cindy received a marriage license in Maricopa County, Ariz., in early March 1980, four weeks before his divorce from Carol was final. A judge in Florida dissolved the McCains' marriage April 2, entering a default judgment after Carol failed to respond to three court summonses. John and Cindy were wed six weeks later, on May 17. This rapid-fire sequence of events raises a question about John McCain's path to the White House: Would he be where he is today had he not changed his life, and his wife, when he did?"

Sen. Joe Biden sits down with Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. A few nuggets: "When Obama phoned in June to tell him he wanted to vet him, Biden said OK, but that he might well decline. He consulted with longtime advisers Ted Kaufman and Ron Klain and went back and forth on whether the vice presidency was really the best place for him to have influence with an Obama administration. It helped that all spring Obama had called him every other week or so to get his thinking on varied matters (like how to question Gen. David Petraeus when he testified)."

(Is that a detail a vice-presidential candidate wants out about the guy at the top of the ticket?)

Alter continues: "At a secret meeting in mid-August at the Graves 601 Hotel in St. Paul, Minn., that lasted two to three hours, Obama told him it wouldn't work unless Biden viewed the vice presidency as 'the capstone' of his career, not a step down. 'Not the tombstone?' Biden joked."

Tammy Haddad scores an interview with Lynne Cheney at the vice president's residence. She says Jane Mayer gets it wrong: "She's got Dick spending a considerable amount of time down in a bunker somewhere with all of these, I don't know, communications. It's not true. . . . Most of the time when Dick was in an undisclosed location we were either here or we were at Camp David. . . . It's all the more reason, I think that Dick should write a book when this is all over."

Lynne Cheney on Sarah Palin: "I was really stunned when John McCain picked her. But then I saw her at the convention. That speech she delivered ­-- honestly, I've seen a lot of politicians, I've seen a lot of people who are very polished, who do their thing just right. But what she has is that air of 'This is who I am.' The authenticity comes through. I saw Bill Clinton talk about her and he said that she was one of the most naturally gifted politicians he'd seen. ­I think that's true."

Haddad: "Wow, and from Bill Clinton!" Cheney: "Yes, he gave a very interesting analysis of her."

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