Earlier I did a post about how the McCain campaign appears to be hoping the New Hampshire AG will find the Romney campaign guilty of some dirty tricks. Now, just as McCain is pulling closer to Romney in New Hampshire, I see that Drudge is pimping a story about how McCain's said to be fighting tooth and nail to kill a damaging NYT story about him and some favors he supposedly did for a lobbyist.

It's interesting that this showed up on Drudge. Let's go back to December of last year, when the WaPo's Chris Cilizza filed this report about Romney staffing up for the coming campaign:

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has hired Matt Rhoades to serve as a senior communications strategist in his all-but-announced presidential bid, according to sources familiar with the internal workings of the campaign.

Rhoades served as research director and deputy communications director for the Republican National Committee in the 2006 cycle and is a highly-regarded and fast-rising operative in Republican presidential circles. He had previously worked as research director for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

[snip]

One of the most important contributions Rhoades will make to the Romney team is his relationship with Matt Drudge. As documented in John Harris's and Mark Halperin's book -- "The Way to Win" -- the Drudge Report is an indispensable mover of political news and can shape (and often lead) news coverage by the major media outlets. The duo refer to Drudge as the "single most influential purveyor of information about American politics" and detail a meeting between Drudge, RNC research director Tim Griffin and Rhoades -- Griffin's deputy at the time -- that functioned as a passing of the Drudge torch from Griffin to Rhoades.

Rhoades' connection to Drudge is tough to replicate; watch Drudge over the coming weeks and months to see the importance of that relationship and how it accrues to Romney's benefit.

I'm not saying. I'm just saying.

P.S. There are plenty of Rhoades-centric conspiracy theories to explain Drudge's constant hammering of Huckabee, too.

--Jason Zengerle