McCain’s third ‘Hail Mary’

Sen. McCain’s first “Hail Mary” pass in the presidential campaign was to pick Gov. Palin as his running mate. It worked for a while, until the public got to know exactly who would be a “heartbeat away.”

The second was McCain’s charge to Washington to rescue the economy. We know how that worked out.

Now, desperately trying to save his faltering campaign, McCain is trying a third Hail Mary: resorting to personal smears against his opponent.

He is using Palin to revive some weak claims that his opponent hobnobs with “terrorists” – the former radical WIlliam Ayers. The McCain campaign is also refocusing on Obama’s association with the fire-breathing pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Both charges have been thoroughly aired earlier in this election season and the public has made up its mind. But McCain is trying it anyway – another desperate and impulsive move that will backfire quite quickly. Two can play at that game, and the Obama campaign is wise to punch back with a little “guilt by association” of their own. 

McCain’s involvement with convicted financial scammer Charles Keating is one that has particular resonance as the economy crumbles. It raises questions, too, about top McCain advisor Sen. Phil Gramm’s role in today’s financial meltdown.

The latest Hail Mary wasn’t even well executed. The campaign announced that it was going negative, and timed the new offensive to begin just before a key presidential debate when such personal attacks were effectively off limits. The McCain campaign is flailing, and it’s showing in the polls.


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