The Conservatives dropped the ball on this one.
I don't believe the tapes were doctored, but the suspicion is out there and a lot of people have already started with the 'a-ha!s'.
Libs, who have been largely silent until now, are posting comments all over the place suggesting Harper and Grewal resign because of the 'disgrace' they have brought to the political process. And people who are not inclined to care about politics either way, just find this very boring or mildly amusing -- but the accusations of tape-tampering will linger in their psyches. Even when the Conservatives are cleared, it's like when a man is accused of rape and subsequently exhonerated -- there are people who will always believe he must have done it, but got off on a technicality.
The Conservatives have a lot to answer for with this -- not the 'alleged' doctoring (funny how they were 'alleged' transcripts, but no such modifier used by Libs today). They should be answering to their supporters for fumbling so badly.
The tapes should have been handed over immediately. Waiting may have allowed them to catch the news cycle as they saw fit, but it has obviously been a PR disaster.
They are trying to play the same games as the Liberals, and they are amateur hour. People don't want the spin -- they want the truth. It would have been much better to do the information dump than the tease. People get ticked off when you mete out information at a trickle. They start to feel they're being manipulated. The Libs (masters of manipulation) know all the ploys -- they invented them. They've been five steps ahead of the Conservatives from the getgo.
If the Conservatives had played it straight instead of being coy to keep the headlines, maybe it would be the Libs in the spotlight and on the defensive.
Liberal strategists are masters of the game. Regular people don't want games anymore, but when given the choice, they'll pick the winning team -- not because they believe in them -- but because the other guys look like losers.
Honesty and integrity in government begins when we dispense with 'tactics' and 'strategy' and start talking the talk and walking the walk. Otherwise, the Conservatives are nothing better than less-successful hustlers than the Liberals.