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Why McCain is attacking Obama on Ayers and Bitter-gate but not Wright

By Griffin · April 26th, 2008 · No Comments

John McCain’s latest line of attack on Barack Obama, regarding Obama’s peripheral association with William Ayers:

I think not only a repudiation, but an apology for ever having anything to do with an unrepentant terrorist is due the American people.

The phrase “unrepentant terrorist” in reference to Ayers has been repeated ad nauseum by McCain and surrogates since last Sunday’s appearance on This Week with George Smurfanopoulos. Likewise, in the past few weeks, McCain has repeatedly attacked Obama’s now-famous “bitter” comment on small town America as “elitist.”

A number of bloggers have speculated as to why McCain has been hitting Barack Obama so hard on William Ayers and Bitter-gate, yet he hasn’t said a word about Obama’s Jeremiah Wright problem. The conventional wisdom seems to be that McCain is laying off Wright because he has pastor problems of his own. Notably, Pastor John Hagee, whose endorsement was greeted by an open arms press conference by McCain, has claimed that Hurricane Katrina was God’s response to gays in New Orleans and that the Catholic Church is the Antichrist.

But I think the answer to John McCain’s silence on Reverend Wright is much simpler. McCain doesn’t want to be seen within a mile of any line of attack that could be perceived as having racial undertones. It’s why he called for the North Carolina GOP to take down an ad that attacked Obama by airing clips of Wright. That doesn’t mean McCain won’t happily sit back and benefit from whatever racial attacks are levied by 527s and conservative talk radio (notice how despite McCain’s “efforts,” the North Carolina ad will air anyway). It just means that McCain– unlike Hillary Clinton– is not willing to completely destroy his own legacy or concede 90% of the African-American vote to Barack Obama by personally poking that hornet’s nest.

Tags: Barack Obama · Democrats · John McCain · Republicans

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