Awkward Seating On McCain's Straight-Talk Express?

McCain Bus
Issenberg, book-ended by McCain & Brooks

This month's New York magazine has an interesting story -- "Is John McCain Bob Dole? Or his he Dwight Eisenhower" -- with a picture that raised an unrelated question. Jacob Silverberg of Panos Pictures snapped a shot of McCain sitting at a table with reporters on his "Straight-Talk Express" bus in New Hampshire last November.  To McCain's right sits Sasha Issenberg, a former Philadelphia Magazine writer who now reports for the Boston Globe. To Issenberg's right is David Brooks, a columnist for the New York Times.  How awkward was that?

Issenberg penned a journalistic take-down, "Boo-Boos In Paradise," for Philly Mag four years ago of an article Brooks wrote for the Atlantic Monthly about political divisions in America after the 2000 presidential election.  The headline on Issenberg's article claimed that he found that Brooks "doesn't check his facts."  Issenberg hit the road to fact-check some claims Brooks made about Pennsylvania's Franklin County and then declared: "Many of his generalizations are false."

Issenberg, by email today, said Brooks was "admirably gracious" and the two writers have since become friendly. So that ends well.  We have another question that may not be so easily answered: What is up with McCain sporting those shades on the bus?