The gloves finally come off, candidates go for broke

The day before the next Presidential Town Hall debate between Obama and McCain, it seems as if the “all or nothing” attitude has now emerged on the trail. The McCain campaign has realized it must take the gloves off in the last 30 days if it wishes to make a dent in Obama’s lead. The Obama campaign seems to believe their lead isn’t all that strong and they’re also returning fire on issues with “go for the jugular” mentality.

One wonder is this development will spill into Tuesday night’s Town Hall debate between Obama and McCain, which airs live at 9pm eastern time on every major network and cable news network. I sense a disturbance in the force, perhaps the town hall tomorrow will be more a duel.

Report from Politico, reprinted in it’s entirety:

John McCain and Barack Obama are suddenly going for the jugular, whacking each other for shady relationships in the past and mental stability today.

At a rally in Florida this morning, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin brought up ties between Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and a former member of a ’60s radical anti-war group, and said Obama has “a left-wing agenda.”

“I’m afraid this is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to work with a former domestic terrorist who had targeted his own country,” Palin said in Clearwater, according to CBS News.

The Obama campaign meanwhile, has opened a new website and is posting a 13-minute documentary to resurrect his involvement in the Keating Five savings-and-loan scandal two decades ago.

The McCain campaign’s attacks, and Obama’s escalation, reflect a fluid race that has Republicans terrified and Democrats confident. Election Day is 29 days away but the campaigns know that most voters will make up their minds – and many will actually vote by mail – in the next two weeks.

In the past 24 hours, Obama has hit Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for “erratic” behavior during the market meltdown. And in an overnight e-mail to millions of supporters announcing a “Keating Economics” website and documentary, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe says: “The point of the film and the web site is that John McCain still hasn’t learned his lesson. … Please forward this email to everyone you know.”

McCain, in turn, has hit Obama for his ties to former domestic terrorist William Ayers, and released an ad calling his opponent “dangerous” and “dishonorable” for a comment about Afghanistan.

A new front could open today after Palin told William Kristol of The New York Times that she thinks Obama’s relationship with the fiery black preacher, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, “should be discussed more.”

McCain officials also tell us we’ll hear more in coming days about Obama’s interaction with convicted money launderer Tony Rezko.

Plus, McCain plans more attacks on Obama as a tax-raiser.

It’s a far cry from the bipartisan push for an economic bailout.

Some McCain advisers are extremely skeptical that voters care about Ayers or Wright. These advisers are urging McCain to beef up his economic agenda.

A senior McCain official told us: “Here’s where we’re going with Ayers, Rezko, etc. They are the vehicle that allow us to question Obama’s truthfulness about his past and his plans for the future. We have no intention of letting Barack Obama off the hook for policies that would decimate our ailing economy. We’ll spend every day talking about Barack Obama’s plans to raise taxes on America’s small business owners and his record of raising taxes on those who make 42k a year.

“What’s Barack Obama so afraid of that he’s running negative ads against us over a point we haven’t even made? What is he trying to hide that he’s launched preemptive attack ads against his opponent? What are Barack Obama and his allies in the media trying to cover up? Why not release every email, phone log and minutes for every meeting ever attended with Bill Ayers if he has nothing to hide. Enough with the attack ads from Obama. Time for the truth.”

Obama-Biden communications director Dan Pfeiffer said: “While John McCain may want to turn the page on his erratic response to the current economic crisis, we think voters will find his involvement in a similar crisis to be particularly interesting. His involvement with Keating is a window into McCain’s economic past, present, and future.”

So both campaigns say they’re opening a window – a dirty one, at that.

Report on both sides from CBS News:

Another discussion of the topic from Fox News:

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is launching ads linking McCain to the Keating scandal, report from the AP:

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama, reacting to Republican charges about his links to a 1960s radical, fired back late Sunday with a Web video about John McCain’s role in the Keating Five scandal from the early 1990s.

The short video, being e-mailed to millions of Obama supporters, summarizes a 13-minute Web “documentary” that the campaign plans to distribute Monday, spokesman Tommy Vietor said. He said McCain’s involvement with convicted thrift owner Charles Keating “is a window into McCain’s economic past, present and future.”

The video release capped a day of complaints and warnings from Obama supporters. They said McCain was inviting a harsh examination of his past by having his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, repeatedly criticize Obama’s association with Bill Ayers, a founder of the Vietnam-era radical group, the Weather Underground.

Just months into his Senate career, in the late 1980s, McCain made what he has called “the worst mistake of my life.” He participated in two meetings with banking regulators on behalf of Keating, a friend, campaign contributor and S&L financier who was later convicted of securities fraud.

The Senate ethics committee investigated five senators’ relationships with Keating. It cited McCain for a lesser role than the others, but faulted his “poor judgment.”

Seems to me that Sarah Palin is launching the character attacks and McCain will be launching the policy attacks, as is standard operating procedure for the President / Vice President candidates in a campaign. Again though, Joe Biden is largely missing from the mix here.

The first debate between Obama and McCain was largely subdued, void of many strong attacks other than policy differences. Tuesday night’s Town Hall, I think, is going to be something different especially considering the fact that the questions will come direct from the audience and voters across the country.

  • EricF

    the gloves are off! Obama has to be nervous as hell. you will know when he is scared because he starts to blink uncontrollably. watch his eyes during the debate, that will tell you all you need to know. watch the primary debate when he gets asked about Ayers and you will see what i mean. want to play some poker Mr.Obama? lol. fraud.

  • Babs

    He starts to stutter a lot, too. How many more websites does Obama think he’ll have to open in order to win?

    According to Kursten Powers on the Fox tape (and Kurston Powers is an outspoken democrat, by the way), is saying that Obama has come out now and said he didn’t even KNOW Bill Ayers? *LOL*

    I love the gloves are off, I’ve always loved full contact sports. This will be fun.

  • JD

    It is always fun unless your team is the one that loses.

    and McCain has the smell of desperation.

  • EricF

    “How many more websites does Obama think he’ll have to open in order to win?”

    that is a great line. love it.

  • Babs

    Well, JD, what do you think about Obama now denying he even KNEW Ayers?


    Obama is a complete idiot. To release ads about the keating 5 means Rev Wright ads are coming back for sure. Obamamania is going to get a bit derailed even with the economy as bad as it is, McCain’s ads and attacks will seriously affect Obama for sure. Tomorrow nights debate is going to be an all out attack by Senator McCain I can tell from the great speech he gave today in New Mexico. I can not wait to see tomorrow night’s debate. Obama better watch what comes out of his mouth!

    Obama is now trying to deny that!?! ARE YOU SERIOUS!! IF HE IS HE IS DEFINITELY SUNK!

  • JD


    To my understanding, the statement was that he didn’t know Ayers history back in 1995. Not that he didn’t know he existed. If that is what you are suggesting? I don’t think he had the tools to vett every person he talked to back then like he does now.

    My thoughts are that Obama is 47. Subract 13 years. he was 35 when this went down and being that he 8 when ayers committed those crimes… I think he is reasonably telling the truth.

    Do you know who the child molesters are in your neighborhood? What if one moved in and invited you over for dinner? Should you be judged on that?

    So what is it that Ayers did for Obama that you are so worried about? That he likes Obama? What if he liked McCain? Would you be up in arms as much? What about McCains shadey people? I don’t hear you complainning about them? What are your thoughts on those?

    Secondly, You have to agree that he has not had continued and close relationship with the ayers.

    If anything this is just a distraction using something that has already come up 100 times. The US has heard this for the past year so this is not news to them.

    Unless, McCain can come out with some new evidence, i don’t see this making any dent in the campaign. If anything it is going to eccelerate people to make their choices. Which is not what McCain needs with the economic crisis going on.

  • EricF

    JD must think we are as dumb as the liberals lol. damn i mean if it was one shady associate i would give the benefit of the doubt but its person after person after person that Obama has had ties with. how convenient that he is running for president he now tries to disown and distance himself.

    also in case some of you guys dont know, McCain was cleared of all wrong doing with the Keating scandal. Obama on the other hand has alot of explaining to do. maybe he can start by explaining to the American people how he plans to rip them off to pay for all of his socialist programs. if he can get past that one maybe he can try to explain why his campaign is taking shady/illegal contributions. just the tip of the iceberg.


    JD, try teaching radicalism in school and teaching children to hate america, preaching socialism to children, preaching gay and pro-abortion rihgts. Try brainwashing the young children on America.

  • Voice of Reason

    Let’s not be concerned about the shady characters the candidates may or may not associate themselves with. We should be more concerned if the candidates themselves are shady. Palin is under investigation and please feel free to go to the following website where McCain’s “SHADINESS” is displayed in complete “SUNLIGHT”

  • IndiMinded

    What if everyone just agreed to fling poo at each other, wouldn’t that be a little more civil, and address just as many important issues?

    Seriously guys, “we’re dumb as the liberals lol”, “teaching children to hate america” “complete idiot!”

    Who pissed in your cheerios this morning? This is elementary school smack talk, not presidential politics.


    No Dreadsen Obama and Ayers wanted to teach that in school.

    The keating stuff is stupid to bring up by Obama. I do love how he made another website for this video to go along with his already censored youtube channel and over 1000000 million websites.

    By bringing up keating 5 which changed McCain’s life not only as a political man but as a person, Obama is thus bringing about Rev Wright with out a doubt.

  • U.S.A.

    It seems that everyone here has lost the real concerns we have. Friends, buddies, who cares! They are all the same when those things come up. I want some affordable gas and a good job opportunity for about half of America. Maybe a doctor visit now and then and maybe even recover the billions that pay the war. I don’t care if Obama and Bill are a queer couple, if he helps the people. These stories are all bull anyway and they are not issues that will help your dumn asses in the end. They just don’t matter. What do you think, Obama has a plan to end the world? Stupid…..

    Most of these stories are coming back because no one has anything good against Obama except he is black. Keep up the good fight JD.

  • Voice of Reason

    if Obama is guilty by association then McCain must be guilty as well.

    The difference is McCain’s shadiness is acutally caputured in photos and video.

    “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”
    And if you do throw them make sure they have enough speed to actually do some damage to the other person.

  • JD

    U.S.A. – “Most of these stories are coming back because no one has anything good against Obama.”

    I think you hit the nail on the head here. McCain and Palin have the smack of desperation on them. I believe it is coming across fully.

    I know Dreadson, i think, braught up the Rev. Wright book coming out but I am really facinated to see what comes of the New Oliver stone Movie that is coming out on October 17.

    If it is a blockbuster hit then McCain is going to have quite the mountain to climb if the American viewers get a renewed bitter taste of Bush in thier mouth.

    But again, Rev. wright could throw himself in the spot light again. However, I think the Bush movie is going to have a larger effect.

    Needless to say, this is going to be an action packed 30 days!

    Also, Has anyone read the rules to the Debate tomorrow?

    I thought this one really stood out –

    RULE : McCain and Obama will be provided with director’s chairs, but they’re also allowed to stand. They can’t roam past their “designated area” marked on the stage and are not supposed to ask each other direct questions.

  • “also in case some of you guys dont know, McCain was cleared of all wrong doing with the Keating scandal.”

    Note William Ayers was also cleared. NO jail time. Charles Keating went to prison.

    All of you explain McCain’s association with Gordon Liddy.

    Number two. ALL of you who think Obama is on some lex luger quest to destory all of us.

    File an official complaint with the F.B.I.

    File an official complaint with Homeland Security.

    Write your congressman to file a complaint with the house judiciary committee to investigate Obama for Treason.

    Call the Cia 703-482-0623

    Then after that ask McCain why hasn’t he done all of this since he is the one who you all claim you trust to protect us.

    McCain makes a case that it was he who tried to warn everyone about this bail out crisis 2 years ago but no one listened. But this same guy who you all who support him keep yelling that you trust him to protect you didn’t see this hidden plot until 3 weeks before the election? Yet you all been crying about this stuff since February??! Looks like you all are better at keeping the country safe then the almighty imperial potentate celestial protector of the usa John McCain.

  • Bruce

    “Look, is this guy, Bin Laden, really the bad guy that’s depicted? Most of us have never heard of him before.” McCain in 1998, after Clinton shot missiles at Osama

    Though he was not convicted of anything, McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating after Keating gave McCain at least $112,00 in contributions. In the mid-1980s, McCain made at least 9 trips on Keating’s airplanes, and 3 of those were to Keating’s luxurious retreat in the Bahamas. McCain’s wife and father-in-law also were the largest investors (at $350,000) in a Keating shopping center; the Phoenix New Times called it a “sweetheart deal.”

    “We need to turn the page on the Economy, if we stick to the Economy we will lose ”

    Soooo We want to play the Guilt by association game eh? Foot in your own mouth tactics for McCain. Desperate time call for desperate measures

  • Pats

    I hope my contribution will not be slammed for wrong quote again.
    There’s an article in The Times of today title ” Shallow, fake…Palin is beyond parody” by Martin Samuel. Please read it. In the paper itself, the article is in the Opinion column, online you find it in the Commentary.

  • Howard

    Thank goodness McCain and Palin are finally taking off the gloves. Like millions of Americans I’ve awaited the truth, while feeling frustration watching Obama get a free ride. Subjects like Wright, Farrakhan, Pfleger, Rezko, Ayers, and others, seem to have been off limits for discussion, when they go to the core of who Obama is. In defense of Obama, the media treats him like a sacred cow, and implies that since these subjects were visited at one time, they’re not fair game to revisit … but, why not? Like millions of Americans I’ve never been comfortable with Obama attending Jeremiah Wright’s church for TWENTY YEARS … suddenly quitting for political expediency, and then claiming that he never heard the racist, anti-American sermons going on there. Also, the Trintity church website has since sanitized it’s previous links on the ‘Black Values System’ … and, the ‘Black Liberation Theology’ which Obama sworn an oath to for TWENTY YEARS.

  • Michael

    Hate to say this, but none of this is new. It’s all old crap being repackaged, and is at best– a distraction. Hopefully the debate could house some substantive conversations.

  • Michael are you serious? Obama has admitted to his associations, how is it not the truth. I think I need to ask you to back up your statement with fact.

  • Babs

    Being old doesn’t make it irrelevant, Michael, and some of it IS new. The University of Illinois has just released more information on the subject of Obama and Ayers, and it’s very interesting. A distraction? Character should never be overlooked or viewed as a distraction.

  • Babs

    By the way, Nate, I read Biden was attending his mother-in-law’s funeral today. That explains his absence you mentioned.

  • Chris in Cincy

    why do any of you people care who the candidates were or werent associated with decades ago? do you still stay in contact with everyone you knew in highschool? do any of them have any impact on the way you live your life or your views on any current issue now??
    i think the attack ads are ridiculous. its showing desperation in both camps, its petty, and its nothing but a distraction to people who are interested in the issues.
    as to the comment about legalizing gay marriage/abortion and socialized programs… first of all, tell me where its the governments right, place, or jurisdiction to regulate who people fall in love with? as for abortion, how is that crossing the governments table either? as far as i know, the first amendment protects my rights to choose whatever i want, whenever i want, whoever i want, etc. these issues shouldnt even be come up in a presidential campaign the federal governemnt has no right to legislate on them. and socialized health care… how is that even a problem? why wouldnt you want everyone to have good healthcare?? it works spectacularly in europe & canada. do you really want to be BEHIND france and canada in ANYTHING?? i sure as hell dont.

    both candidates need to get back to the issues and talk about something important. maverick this and lunatic that. pft, whatever. whos going to change the country for the better for my future and my childrens future? the economy is taking a nose dive and im worried about losing my job and my house, so far i havent been convinced either of them can fix that problem anytime soon.

  • Kwaayesnama

    I do not care if a candidate is a war hero, I do not care is a candidate is a republican or a democrat. I do not care if a candidate is black or white. All I care about is if the candidate is intelligent enough to get this nation out of the mess we are in now.

    I am an Arizona Republican but I will not be voting for John McCain. Why? Because, with the problems in the US and the world is facing today the nation needs intelligence in the White House.

    Lets see my choice is John McCain or that smart black man Barack Obama?

    McCain who does not know how to use a computer but is willing to learn if we elect him – I’ll just vote for that smart black man.

    My Choices are: John McCain who says the economic downturn is psychological? – Na! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    McCain who says you are better off under George Bush? – Nope I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Mc Cain who wants to continue killing more people looking for weapons of mass destruction that do not exist? – Gee! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    McCain who believes that we should stay the course but is not willing to support the people he puts in harms way. – I’ll take a chance on the smart black man.

    Should I vote for a man that does not know that 9-11 was caused by Osama Bin Laden not Sedam Hussein? – Easy! I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man who does not know if the Sunnis or Sheits are our enemies? – No way I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man who helped put our government on the China, Saudi Arabia credit card? – Not a chance I’ll vote for the smart black man.

    Vote for the man with the worst temper in the Senate to have his finger on the nuclear button? – No way – I’m voting for the smart black man, Barack Obama.

  • Babs: “By the way, Nate, I read Biden was attending his mother-in-law’s funeral today. That explains his absence you mentioned.

    So he was, I even read it but failed to make the connection.

    Good game, me.