Mike Murphy, GOP consultant and former McCain 2000 strategist, states what should be obvious about McCain and the Des Moines Register interview---why is he there?? Why is he even doing an interview with a liberal newspaper in a state where he is too far behind? To persuade them to endorse him? After listening again to his combative tone, and hearing him repeatedly say "I respect your opinion" when its very clear he thinks 'their' opinion is horseshit, I'd say his chance of that endorsement is about as likely as Palin knowing the Preamble by heart.
It speaks to the fundamental (McCain likes that word a lot) flaw with the McCain campaign, that is, that they focus too much and too personally on little skirmishes that are irrelevant to the bigger battle. They actually take the time to respond ad nauseum to things like the "lipstick on a pig" comment, and then play fast and loose with important issues like, oh say, properly vetting Palin for the job. And then when they're cornered with information they don't want to hear, they either use projection in awkward ways (the accusation of "gotcha journalism" when a voter asked Palin a good question) or fall back on the argument that McCain, as a former POW, is beyond reproach and anything that challenges him besmirches his reputation as a veteran.
Murphy reaches the conclusion that it is "a stunning lack of competence".
(To read more:http://www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/10/des_moines_register.html)