Washington Monthly: Political Animal: SCRAPPING THE AYERS ATTACK ALREADY?

Washington Monthly: Political Animal

SCRAPPING THE AYERS ATTACK ALREADY?

The political world was told to expect some ugly, guilt-by-association attacks last night. We’d hear about Bill Ayers. And Tony Rezko. And maybe even Jeremiah Wright. The phrase “unrepentant terrorist” would be bandied about.

And then, nothing. The telegraphed punch was never thrown. Did McCain just forget? Or did he perhaps think that a town-hall forum was the wrong setting for the attacks?

Apparently, this was deliberate. This morning on “Fox & Friends,” McCain aide Nicole Wallace backed off Ayers-related talk, saying the association “is between Barack Obama and the voters.”

The Politico reported that the smear campaign that’s been in the works for days may be scrapped altogether.

[McCain’s] top aides suggested afterward that, going forward, the candidate wouldn’t focus on the former domestic terrorist nor invoke the name of Obama’s controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Nicolle Wallace, a top McCain adviser, hinted McCain would not bring it up. “If asked about it, of course [he’ll talk about Ayers],” she said.

McCain’s chief strategist, Steve Schmidt all but said the controversial pastor remained off-limits. […]

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