The consensus, here and at Balloon Juice (thanks for the link, Doug), seems to be that there's no limit to what O'Keefe could do with any sort of footage that emerged from this plus a little creative editing. I see that, but ... are we to assume that Boudreau wouldn't obtain her own video? And that she and CNN wouldn't rebut this instantly, if not preemptively (i.e., possibly as soon as she got off the boat, concluding it was a bizarre story about a controversial guy that shouldn't wait to be told)? Isn't this a Shirley Sherrod situation in the making, except with no rebuttal delay?
No, because the validity of the CNN rebuttal would have been instantly called into question by the Wingers, followed by demands that CNN's Abby Boudreau be fired. Given the Village propensity of "telling both sides of the story" and not wanting to piss off their Wingnut masters, within a week we would have Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, and David Broder columns on why it was at least partially (or mostly) Abby Boudreau's fault, and the Wingnuts would believe what they wanted to believe, that is "There's no way this O'Keefe could would have done what CNN is claiming, it's all a Liberal Media plot!"
O'Keefe would have completely gotten away with it too, except the CNN people clearly suspected a trap and struck first.
Boudreau wasn't the target. CNN was, and to an extent, the other networks as well. The kid was trying to bring them down and motivate the Republican base right before Election Day.
The lesson of Shirley Sherrod according to Wingers is that she's still the racist, remember? They have their own reality. The only reason anyone on the right is disowning O'Keefe at this point is that he got caught clearly trying to manufacture a story without having actually manufactured it yet.
He got caught. That is his sin to the Right.