Facing the wrong end of presidential hopes after two senior staffers deserted his campaign, John McCain stepped into the Senate cloakroom Tuesday and made a call to some big spenders. Trouble is that it's unethical—potentially illegal—to solicit funds while in the Capitol. The Times reports that the phoner’s legality is unclear, but it’s a critical misfire for the ethics-proud candidate.
This type of call is not uncommon among congressman, but the McCain-Feingold sponsor is a special case, having railed for years against Al Gore for calling donors from the White House. Political watchdog Charlie Cook tells the Times the campaign’s done for either way: “The physicians have left the hospital room and it’s the executors of the estate that are taking over.”