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Backseat Driver?

Politico's Jonathan Martin reports that John McCain met with his old strategist Mike Murphy, who sat out the primaries, on Sunday. Marc Ambinder adds:

Sources with close, but indirect knowledge of the meeting say that campaign manager Rick Davis, who does not get along with Mr. Murphy, was not aware of the meeting in advance. That's one reason why the meeting took place in McCain's Arlington townhouse. The meeting, according to one source who knows, focused on the direction of McCain's campaign. It is not clear whether McCain asked Murphy to come aboard in any capacity or whether he expressed any dissatisfaction with those who run the campaign now.

This will come as no surprise to anyone who read Jason's excellent piece on the intense factionalism in McCainland:

All the while, just offstage are [John] Weaver and Mike Murphy, the latter of whom sat out the primaries because he didn't want to choose between McCain and Romney. McCain still talks to both men, and they are said to give advice to McCain that contradicts Davis's; it's also said that both would like to return to the campaign. Of course, it's possible that McCain could get all of his loyalists to grit their teeth and work together until November, but there aren't many McCainiacs who consider that realistic. Indeed, these McCainiacs can't imagine a campaign that includes Davis, Weaver, and Murphy--although they all agree that this would be McCain's best squad.

If the campaign hits a rough patch--and especially if Davis's radical decentralization strategy is the boondoggle it sounds poised to be--don't be surprised to see to see Weaver and/or Murphy back on the bus.

--Christopher Orr