From NBC's Mark Murray
In the Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan writes of the open-mic story that's spreading like a wildfire through the blogosphere. "When the segment was over and MSNBC was in commercial, [Chuck] Todd, [Mike] Murphy and I continued our conversation, talking about the Palin choice overall. We were speaking informally, with some passion -- and into live mics. An audio tape of that conversation was sent, how or by whom I don't know, onto the internet. And within three hours I was receiving it from friends far and wide, asking me why I thought the McCain campaign is 'over,' as it says in the transcript of the conversation. Here I must plead some confusion. In our off-air conversation, I got on the subject of the leaders of the Republican party assuming, now, that whatever the base of the Republican party thinks is what America thinks."
"I made the case that this is no longer true, that party leaders seem to me stuck in the assumptions of 1988 and 1994, the assumptions that reigned when they were young and coming up. 'The first lesson they learned is the one they remember,' I said to Todd -- and I'm pretty certain that is a direct quote. But, I argued, that's over, those assumptions are yesterday, the party can no longer assume that its base is utterly in line with the thinking of the American people. And when I said, 'It's over!' -- and I said it more than once -- that is what I was referring to. I am pretty certain that is exactly what Todd and Murphy understood I was referring to. In the truncated version of the conversation, on the Web, it appears I am saying the McCain campaign is over. I did not say it, and do not think it. In fact, at an on-the-record press symposium on the campaign on Monday, when all of those on the panel were pressed to predict who would win, I said that I didn't know, but that we just might find 'This IS a country for old men.' That is, McCain may well win. I do not think the campaign is over, I do not think this is settled, and did not suggest, back to the Todd-Murphy conversation, that 'It's over.'"
Noonan's recollection matches Todd's on the context of the conversation.