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Posted by on Oct 4, 2008 in Politics | 35 comments

McCain Campaign Negativity Officially Now Hits New Low


As of today, not only are the gloves off, but so is any semblance that the McCain campaign is one that can end in a White House that unites the country and deals with opponents in a way other than polarizing demonization with this statement by Republican Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin.

Readers can go to the link themselves since we don’t like to advertise this kind of political rhetoric on this site and would react the same way if the same thing had been said about John McCain Republican.

We’ve run several posts now about reports that the McCain campaign has decided to go negative in a new way. Palin’s attack is essentially a mega centimeter away from being a new form of McCarthyism. Can it work? Perhaps.

But there will be some independent voters who will cast very quick protest votes against the McCain-Palin ticket for this kind of rhetoric, and perhaps cast protest votes right down the line against the GOP. Some voters have wanted to MOVE AWAY from this kind of politics. It does show a kind of change: a descent to even sleazier depths of the politics of personal demonization that so many independent voters already decry.

UPDATE: Mark Halperin adds:

Her remarks come in response to a New York Times story on Obama’s relationship with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers.

McCain campaign and RNC distribute her words by email to reporters.

And the New York Times does not find that Obama was a close bud. Here’s the link and a key quote:

More recently, conservative critics who accuse Mr. Obama of a stealth radical agenda have asserted that he has misleadingly minimized his relationship with Mr. Ayers, whom the candidate has dismissed as “a guy who lives in my neighborhood” and “somebody who worked on education issues in Chicago that I know.”

A review of records of the schools project and interviews with a dozen people who know both men, suggest that Mr. Obama, 47, has played down his contacts with Mr. Ayers, 63. But the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.”

Obama campaign aides said the Ayers relationship had been greatly exaggerated by opponents to smear the candidate.

“The suggestion that Ayers was a political adviser to Obama or someone who shaped his political views is patently false,” said Ben LaBolt, a campaign spokesman. Mr. LaBolt said the men first met in 1995 through the education project, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and have encountered each other occasionally in public life or in the neighborhood. He said they have not spoken by phone or exchanged e-mail messages since Mr. Obama began serving in the United States Senate in January 2005 and last met more than a year ago when they bumped into each other on the street in Hyde Park.

See the comments above on the likely reaction of some independent voters to this kind of political tactic.

More blog reaction to Palin’s comments is HERE.

UPDATE II: Marc Ambinder has some interesting thoughts on this. He suggests the McCain campaign is trying to short-circuit Obama’s credibiliity ASAP due to Obama’s strong attack on McCain’s argument that he is a tax cutter.

One worry for Republicans is that McCain has already gone too negative too quickly; you never pull out the strongest punches against your opponent until the very end; it’s hard to get tougher than the kindergarten ad… or over-the-top statements about Obama not being fit to lead.

And, in an earlier post, he has this to say about Palin’s attack:

It’s that Obama “is not a man who sees America as you and I do.” This is the message that opponents of Obama began with: he’s not one of us. He’s culturally foreign. He doesn’t share your values. He’s dangerous. It worked a little bit in the summer when there was nothing else to pay attention to. The McCain campaign hopes that it will somehow get those voters who’ve crossed the river of Obama-doubt to jump back across to the other side.