By suggesting that Barack Obama's relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a legitimate campaign issue, Sarah Palin appears to have sunk below the standard espoused by John McCain himself earlier this year.
In an interview with neoconservative columnist Bill Kristol, Palin said: "To tell you the truth, Bill, I don't know why that association isn't discussed more, because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that -- with, I don't know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn't get up and leave -- to me, that does say something about character. But, you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."
But the fact is, McCain has already made his call on whether he wants to "bring that up" fairly clear. Beyond deciding not to do so himself, he offered some implicit criticism for anyone else who would.
In March, after being given the opportunity by Fox News' Sean Hannity to hit his opponent on Wright, McCain refused.
"I think that when people support you, it doesn't mean you support everything they say. Obviously, those statements are things none of us would associate ourselves with," McCain said.
After Hannity listed more potential reasons to make Wright an issue, McCain drew a deep breath and decided not to go there. "I do know Sen. Obama, he does not share those views."
In April, after the North Carolina Republican Party uncorked an attack ad linking Obama and Wright in April, McCain asked that they put it back in the box. While candidates often distance themselves from the tougher party-issued ads, McCain went further than that. As the Associated Press reported at the time:
"We asked them not to run it," McCain told reporters on his campaign bus in Kentucky Wednesday. "I'm sending them an e-mail as we speak asking them to take it down.
"I don't know why they do it. Obviously, I don't control them, but I'm making it very clear, as I have a couple of times in the past, that there's no place for that kind of campaigning, and the American people don't want it," McCain said.
McCain said the ad was described to him: "I didn't see it, and I hope that I don't see it."
Does McCain now think the American people want a discussion of Wright from his running mate? The Huffington Post has asked a McCain campaign spokesperson for an update.
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