McCain’s camp — probably helped along by the needling of Obama and Biden — have more or less guaranteed that William Ayers will come up in tonight’s final debate. But McCain doesn’t want to bring up Rev. Wright for the rest of the campaign, even though Palin and his top aides want him to. It’s a decision that’s not going over well.
The McCain campaign’s decision to cordon off the use of Wright from ads and debates has provoked simmering consternation among many leading Republicans and conservatives, who believe the pastor’s fulminations might be the single most effective weapon McCain has left against Obama.
“McCain felt it would be sensed as racially insensitive,” the official said. “But more important is that McCain thinks that the bringing of racial religious preaching in black churches into the campaign would potentially have grave consequences for civil society in the United States.”
Asked about the issue during the firestorm over it last March, McCain told Sean Hannity on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes”: “I think that when people support you, it doesn’t mean that you support everything you say. Obviously, those words and those statements are statements that none of us would associate ourselves with. And I don’t believe that Sen. Obama would support any of those. … I do know Sen. Obama. He does not share those views.”
Conservatives who want McCain to focus on Wright contend that the omission is another sign of a campaign that is unwilling to play tough enough with the Obama juggernaut.
As the top Republican official said: “There is a future beyond this election.”
It seems an odd bit of restraint for McCain to draw a line at Wright, and if you’re pandering to the bases racismracial anxieties, there’s much more footage out there to burn the Obama camp with.