John McCain should have been careful what he wished for.
He goaded Barack Obama into going to Iraq and Afghanistan. He said that Obama talks about Iraq all the time, but hadn't actually been there for years.
The Republican National Committee ran a clock on its Website showing the days, hours, minutes and seconds since Obama was last in Iraq. (It grew to more than 900 days.)
And when Obama gave a speech talking about how it might be a good idea to withdraw some U.S. combat forces from Iraq in order to shift them to Afghanistan, McCain quickly pointed out that Obama had never even been to Afghanistan.
So what happens? Obama goes to Iraq and Afghanistan and surprise! it gets huge news coverage.
As I write this, the first three stories on the Yahoo! News political newsfeed are all from The Associated Press, and they are:
"Obama: Iraq now needs a political solution."
"Obama vows to work for Mideast breakthrough."
"Analysis: Foreign tour is media bonanza for Obama."
The McCain campaign is very angry at this. I know this because it has sent out an e-mail that is titled: "The media is in love."
The e-mail reads: "It's pretty obvious that the media has a bizarre fascination with Barack Obama. Some may even say it's a love affair. ... The media is in love with Barack Obama. If it wasn't so serious, it would be funny. Regards, The McCain Campaign."
This reminds me very much of a day in 2000, when I was riding on the George W. Bush campaign bus in South Carolina and his top aides were campaigning about how the media were in love with John McCain.
The aides called it the "McCain Swoon," and they were very angry about all the good publicity McCain got because he had been a POW, and he was a maverick and told funny stories on his "Straight Talk Express" bus, and how the media were totally in the tank for him.
The news media love the next new thing. McCain was the new thing in 2000, and Obama is the new thing in 2008. It doesn't mean the new guy is going to win the election McCain did not win eight years ago but it does mean he gets a lot of attention.
And it must be painful for the McCain campaign to watch the news these days: Barack Obama goes to the Mideast and stands around with troops, and it's big news. Obama meets with generals, and it's big news. Barack Obama shoots a basket, and it's big news.
But he is doing exactly what the McCain campaign told him to do: Obama is going to the foreign countries he has been talking about and getting experience.
Be careful what you wish for.