Media Favorite John McCain "Reinvigorated" (By 4th-Place Finish)

Sen. John McCain has long been the liberal media's favorite Republican (the Times editorial page Friday condemned all GOP candidates but McCain for practicing "the same kind of politics of division").

Times reporter Marc Santora seems to like McCain as well, judging by the way he spun McCain's fourth-place Iowa caucus finish in Friday's "Moving On to New Ground and Issues."

"Mr. McCain has been the greatest presence [in New Hampshire], often having the state to himself. Seizing on his clean sweep of endorsements from 26 newspapers in the area, he has been able to reinvigorate a campaign that six months ago was largely written off.

"New Hampshire, whose voters pride themselves on their independence from party orthodoxy and who are interested in an array of issues not on the agenda in Iowa, is friendly territory for Mr. McCain - a point he is making in a new advertisement released Thursday recalling his victory here in 2000.

"A remaining unknown factor will be what role independent voters, who make up nearly half of all registered voters in the state and were critical in Mr. McCain's victory last time, will play in this election. Voters frequently say they are trying to decide between Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain, which seems striking, given their wide differences on issues, particularly the war in Iraq. But Mr. Obama's victory in Iowa showed his strength in drawing independent voters to his campaign.

"Mr. McCain is also focusing on issues important to many independent voters, like climate change and improving the United States' image abroad by taking such steps as closing the prison at the American naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba."

Independent voters? Aren't those issues the obsession of liberal voters, or at least Democrats? And didn't McCain's comeback have a lot to do with his position on the war and his early push for the surge, which is showing success on the ground in Iraq?