When the McCain campaign announced this weekend that it would start attacking Sen. Barack Obama via guilt by association, peddling smears about people he barely knows, I thought the tack would lead to the Keating Five. But I didn't know it would happen this quickly.
Obama's campaign has never pushed the Keating button before, so this attack carries an original punch-and is clearly salient given the current financial crisis. Because the scandal involved McCain's actions in public service, it is more likely to arise during the remaining two debates.
McCain's dredging up of Bill Ayers, in contrast, is not only old news but has no link to anything Obama has done in public life. Patrick Ruffini, a Republican operative who worked on Bush's reelection campaign, said today that McCain's Ayers attacks are so old that airing them now "appears desperate."