Pres. campaign takes a turn for the worst

“It’s an attack ad. It attacks me personally. It’s nasty. It’s mean-spirited. Frankly, it tells you more about Sen. McCain than it does about me that he would run an ad like that.”

No, that quote doesn’t come from Barack Obama or one of his campaign’s supporters, unless Mitt Romney has something he wants to share with the entire class. But you can expect to hear quotes like that coming from the Obama campaign this week as the McCain campaign launched a new offensive that promises to be more negative than anything we’ve seen since the campaign began.

Unfortunately, we can’t say it was unexpected. The vitriol between both sides is apparent and as the calendar winds down, it has bubbled up to the surface. For all the talk about bringing change to Washington, both candidates have shown that is difficult to separate their campaigns from the detestable tactics Americans have grown to hate.

But fresh off her debate non-disaster, the McCain campaign appears to have taken the senator’s running mate, the lipstick-wearing pit bull – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin – off her leash. Speaking to campaign donors Saturday, Palin blasted Obama, saying, “Our opponent … is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country … This is not a man who sees America as you see America, and as I see America.”

She’s referring to William Ayers, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor and former member of the Weather Underground, a group that claimed responsibility for bombings outside the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol building in the ’70s during the height of the Vietnam War.

To back that charge she cited a piece by the New York Times published this weekend. That Palin is citing the Times after campaign manager Rick Davis said two weeks ago that the Gray Lady is not “by any standard a journalistic organization,” is remarkable enough.

But the story specifically reports: “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 eight.'”

Not that the Obama campaign has not been guilty of stretching the truth when it attacks Sen. McCain’s record on the issues. But at least they were the issues.

However, attempting to get the words “Obama” and “terrorist” repeated in as many sentences as possible during the next 30 days isn’t just as dishonorable as it gets, it’s desperate. And worse, it’s not at all presidential.

At issue:

Next stage in presidential campaign promises to be just as dirty or worse than in years past.