So how is the John McCain campaign handling Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama?

Minimize, minimize, minimize.

McCain’s surrogates were all over television yesterday downplaying Powell’s decision, saying endorsements aren’t really important, that Powell is mistaken about Obama being “transformational” and that it doesn’t make sense why Powell would endorse a candidate who’s such a throwback to old-school Democratic thinking.

Outside the official McCain campaign, conservatives have been even more dismissive. As Michael Reynolds observed yesterday, some big-name conservative pundits and some rank-and-file members are spinning Powell’s endorsement as racially motivated.

If there is a lazier response, I can’t think of one.

Try as they might, McCain’s campaign and other Republicans cannot erase the importance of Powell’s endorsement. While I’m unsure how many minds Powell’s decision will directly change, the media coverage is bad for McCain. Right when McCain might have been gaining some traction by painting Obama as a hardcore liberal who will tax us back to the stone age, here comes a prominent Republican to make Obama look moderate and disrupt a news-cycle that had been trending in McCain’s direction.

It wasn’t a good Sunday for McCain. Just two weeks to go and his campaign his running out of possible momentum boosters.

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