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Jarring John McCain ad jumps from Bill Ayers to housing crisis

At the least, a John McCain television ad unveiled today will be the likely frontrunner for the year's most-jampacked-30-second-spot award.

The ad starts with zinging Barack Obama over his connection to notorious Vietnam-era radical Bill Ayers, then segues (jarringly) to blaming congressional Democrats for the collapsed housing market.

It happens all in less than 50 words (not counting the required McCain approval line for the spot):

The different moods emanating from the two campaigns, meanwhile, were on stark display in morning appearances by the two presidential contenders.

Obama, riding front-runner status in recent national and state polls, focused on the nation's economic turmoil in remarks made in Ohio. "Now is not the time for fear. Now is not the time for panic. Now is the time for resolve and steady leadership," he said, clearly hoping voters would see him as offering those attributes.

McCain, speaking in Wisconsin, began by stressing his new plan for aiding beleaguered homeowners. But he quickly launched a series of direct attacks at Obama, clearly hoping voters will judge his character superior to his rival's.

He reprised a barb from earlier this week, sarcastically telling his crowd that were he ever to need guidance in being truthful to the American people, he would not seek it from a "Chicago politician" (i.e., Obama).

-- Don Frederick 

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I was a Republican, now I am independent.

The trials in front of our nation require intelligent leadership, Obama offers that.

McCain is more Bush --that we can not afford.

allessandro: If you honestly think the Obama campaign's main reason for being ahead is the money they've spent and not the disgust Americans feel at the republican party and their selfish corrupt war mongering ways, then good. Because that means you'll keep spewing the same garbage and losing year after year.

I think John McCain is a sad commentary on what he will now do to gain the presidency. The "old" McCain was someone with principles; this McCain does not appear to have them anymore. It would be refreshing for a candidate to confess that he had been wrong in the past about the effects of deregulation. That would humanize him; we all make mistakes. But evidently not if you run for high office.

This ad, as bad and mendacious as it is, is nothing compared to the people attending these McCain-Palin rallies. In Florida, earlier this week, when Palin mentioned Barack Obama's name, a man yelled out in response, "KILL HIM!!!”

People are easily incited to violence. Words have consequences. When a sick person acts out, do they do it in a vacuum, or were they stirred up by words that that heard or read? When several people were shot and killed this summer at a church in Tennessee, police later found all sorts of right-wing books from extremist writers and broadcasters throughout his apartment. People later said that the killer often talked about his hatred for "the liberals".

If an act of violence occurs, where did that anger and rage come from? Can you completely absolve the public speakers that made the victim an object of hatred?

McCain and Palin have a moral and ethical obligation to stop using these types of attacks against Senator Obama. His policies and positions are fair game. But going after him in a personal way, raising suspicions about who he is, using his name as an epithet, suggesting he's disloyal to our country and implying that he's not really American, is shoddy and deplorable. They should condemn it and instruct their supporters to do the same.

Our country is going through a very difficult time. And society is a fragile entity, held together by our common hopes and dreams and our mutual respect and caring for each other.

McCain and Palin will probably lose this election. But if they do lose, is this the way they want to go out? Do they want to be remembered as the small, shrill duo, whipping up a mob into a frenzy of fear and loathing? Or do they want to end this campaign with their heads held high and with their dignity and reputations intact?

McCain and Palin owe Americans more than what they've shown. They have to stop the hate speech and focus on the critical issues facing all voters, regardless of our beliefs and ideologies.

This is scary stuff. Not the McCain ad. That's not scary. That's just stupid. No, what the McCain supporters are writing on blogs like this. Apparently the McCain campaign is attracting conspiracy theorists along with racists and bigots.

Look out if McCain/Palin get elected come November. The nutcases will come crawling out of the woodwork and might even land some jobs in Washington.

God help us.

If Bill Ayers is relative than all of you conservative hypocrites should explain how ethical it is for McCain to accept the support of convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy. Liddy hosted fund raisers for McCain, donated to his campaign and McCain calls him one of his "close personal friends." Yes, the same Liddy that said that Adolf Hitler speeches "made me feel a strength I had never felt before" and "sent an electric current through my body." The same Liddy that advised members of the cult Branch Dividians to shoot ATF agents that represented the government in the head because the agents wear flak jackets. The same Liddy that said that he'd wanted to bomb the Red River dykes in Vietnam because it would have "drowned half the country and starved the other half." And the same Liddy that played a huge role in Watergate, which led to his spending 4 years in prison. The same Liddy that proposed kidnapping anti-war activists so they wouldn't disrupt the 1972 RNC, or proposed murdering a newspaper columnist. McCain and his Republican apologists are complete hypocrites for making an issue of Ayers when they embrace Liddy. I have lost all respect for John McCain for his failure to run the "clean campaign" that he promised.

I am so sick and tired of everyone throwing out all this conspiracy theory connection bull about Obama. All these facts, and I use that word loosely, are nothing more than campaign smear, pieced together by Ignorant people. Let's take a look at a case that WAS brought to court, WAS real, and WAS tried. John McCain accepted a huuuuge cash bribe in 1987. His vp pick is currently under investigation. You can blame democrats all you want, but as i recall our country did get flushed until G W got into office. Get educated, grow up.

As political strategy, the emphasis on Ayers seems perverse. It may excite the hard-right portion of his base, but I don't see how it helps him expand support. Most of all, in light of the severity of the financial crisis and the seriousness of voter fears and concerns over our economic future, harping on Ayers just makes McCain seem off base and a little cracked.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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