McCain to Biden: Too early to celebrate

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In response to a Joe Biden email telling supporters that the "McCain campaign is on the ropes," the McCain camp responded that it is too early to celebrate.

"Being an underdog is a role that John McCain relishes and with 26 days left I don’t think Joe Biden should pop the champagne just yet," said McCain spokesman Ben Porritt. "We are confident that as people make their decisions they will choose John McCain, a maverick with a real record over Barack Obama —an unknown commodity with radical associations and poor judgment."

Biden email

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Biden's email encouraged supporters to donate $5 or more "to show John McCain and Governor Palin that when they attack us with lies and smears, it literally makes our campaign stronger."

If they get $5 every time the McCain camp launches an attack ad, they'll likely set a fund-raising record. It's not going to get any nicer. Forget ponies and gumdrops -- think Damien and Freddie (Krueger - not Mac).

New ad

The McCain response echoes a new ad the campaign launched today -- easily the strongest spot yet pairing Weather Underground founder Bill Ayers with Barack Obama.

The charge is nothing new, surfacing before the general election and most recently with vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin mentioning Ayers at every campaign stop. Palin also discussed the Ayers-Obama relationship last night with FOX News host Greta Van Susteren.

"...This association is pretty significant," Palin said. "And it's kind of telling regarding someone's judgment that they would be working with, associated with, a domestic terrorist, who had, you know, campaigned to bomb the United States Capitol and our Pentagon. And this is an unrepentant domestic terrorist. That's the scary part about it."

Tough competition

Although Palin's stump speech always includes a reference to Ayers, it hasn't gotten a lot of traction. News of the imploding economy has taken center stage for weeks.

The suspense leading up to what's being called "the worst debate ever," was whether McCain would play the Ayers-card on Obama during Tuesday's insomnia-curing showdown.

Start fighting!

He never did. This rankles some McCain supporters who think the "be calm" coaching they say he's receiving is wrongheaded in light of the trajectory of the polls.

"The only way John McCain can stop the bleeding is to get mad like I did last week with Barney Frank, who refused to take any responsibility for the meltdown of the government mortgage agencies even though Frank's job is to oversee them," Fox News host Bill O'Reilly wrote in Tuesday's "talking points" memo.

"As a citizen, I'm furious that I and other honest Americans are being punished by the incompetency of Mr. Frank and a number of other politicians, including Republicans, who are supposed to be looking out for us," O'Reilly wrote.

Furious ad

What McCain did not say on Tuesday night the campaign ad says with O'Reilly-type venom.

"Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Friends. They've worked together for years," the ad begins. "But Obama tries to hide it. Why?"

"Obama launched his political career in Ayers' living room," it continues. "Ayers and Obama ran a radical 'education' foundation, together. They wrote the foundation's by-laws, together. Obama was the foundation's first chairman. Reports say they distributed more than $100 million to ideological allies with no discernible improvement in education."

"When their relationship became an issue, Obama just responded, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood." That's it?," the astonished-sounding announcer asks.

The ad goes on to say the relationship between Obama and Ayers is not the issue. Actually, the ad is a bit stronger calling the relationship a "friendship" and putting the word "terrorist" right before Ayers' name.

Me too

Regardless, Palin said the same thing last night. It's all about judgment she said.

"I think the significance here, Greta, is truthfulness and judgment and maybe how that is reflected in other issues and other policy calls," Palin said. "That's why the association there and discussing it I don't think is off-limits."

Michelle Obama

No escaping the issue yesterday. Over on CNN, Michelle Obama was asked about the relationship on Larry King's show.

"The thing that I just encourage people is to judge Barack and judge all of these candidates based on what they do, their actions, their character, what they do in their lives, rather than what somebody did when they were 8 or 6 years old," Obama said.

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