How Does Howard Know? 'Obama Wasn't Making Fun of Palin'

H/t reader MB.  Fineman the Magnificent? Here's how Howard Fineman begins his MSNBC column today [emphasis added]:
No, Barack Obama was not making fun of Sarah Palin when he talked about some Republican putting “lipstick on a pig.”

He was trying to be colloquial, and John McCain’s campaign knew as much – even as it was going theatrically ballistic.

To which I have a simple question: how does Howard know?

Seriously.  Short of sodium pentathol, or Carnac-like gifts, how can Howard possibly know what was in Obama's mind when he uttered his lipstick line?  At the same time, does Fineman have some fabulous sources at the highest levels of the McCain campaign who were willing to divulge for the record things that would be intensely damaging if true?

Presumably neither scenario obtains.  So how does Fineman come off relating what he did, not as his considered opinion but as flat, declarative statements of fact?

Hard to see this as other than the height of journalistic hubris. 

Update | 5 PM EDT: Shuster Sees All, Tells All, Too

David Shuster is apparently a proud graduate of the same mindreading school Fineman attended. He just told senior McCain advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer: "I know that you guys don't really believe that Barack Obama was calling Sarah Palin a pig.  So why not just acknowledge that this is a wise or shrewd political strategy to knock Obama off his game and put him on a territory where he's not comfortable?"

Nancy was having none of it: "David, you have so been drinking the Kool-aid here."

View video here.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.