Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, a McCain campaign co-chairman, edged up to an explicitly racial attack on Barack Obama on Thursday, describing the Illinois Senator as a "guy of the street" before raising his youthful drug use.
Appearing on Dennis Miller's radio show, Keating charged that the Democratic nominee was covering up his "very extreme" record, and urged Obama to be more honest with Americans. "He ought to admit," Keating said, "'You know, I've got to be honest with you. I was a guy of the street. I was way to the left. I used cocaine. I voted liberally, but I'm back at the center.'"
Keating began to address Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright -- a topic that John McCain himself has said should be off-limits -- but Miller interrupted him to return to the discussion of cocaine.
Listen to the audio here.
The criticism is the latest in a spate of increasingly aggressive attacks from the McCain-Palin camp.
It's unclear what Keating meant by "a guy of the street," but his assertion that Obama should "admit" his brief drug use in high school makes little sense, since it was Obama himself who did disclose it in his memoir published 12 years ago.
Keating was one of McCain's earlier supporters, endorsing the Arizona Senator even before he officially launched his 2008 presidential bid. Keating is a member of McCain's National Campaign Committee, and serves as co-chair for various campaign groups, such as Catholics for McCain and Sportsmen for McCain.
Here's the transcript from Miller's program today:
MILLER: It's the most liberal, let's just say that. We're talking to Frank Keating, former Oklahoma Governor, John McCain supporter. Frank, let's just say, it's the most liberal. The thing that bothers me the most about all this with Barack Obama is not the -- I know he's the most liberal guy. You know, I know he's gotten this close to the White House and I know most people don't realize he's probably the most liberal senator we have. The thing that bothers me the most is I recognize the obfuscation and the smoke and mirrors as Clinton-esque. When I hear him reduce Ayers to "this is a guy who lives in my neighborhood" or Rev. Wright, "I was there 500 times and never saw him." The acts themselves don't bother me as he's starting to treat me like an idiot too when he's blowing this smoke my way. He ought to just come clean and say, "listen, I came up through Chicago, you make some errors there." I'd almost be able to absolve it more easily then.
KEATING: Well, and that's what concerns me, Dennis, because when I was in the State Senate and statehouse of my state, if someone had voted against the entire state budget because it had too much money for corrections, all of us would have, you know, strained our necks to find out who is this because that would have been a very extreme position, basically saying to a law enforcement officer as I was or my son was a state trooper, "you know, you make an arrest, you risk your life, for nothing" because we're going to make sure that person doesn't go to prison even though the laws of the state require it. So, that puzzles me. Just he ought to admit, "you know, I've got to be honest with you. I was a guy of the street. I was way to the left. I used cocaine. I voted liberally, but I'm back at the center." I mean, I understand the big picture of America. But he hasn't done that...
MILLER: He's copped to that...
KEATING: Jeremiah Wright is...
MILLER: Wait, I've got to jump in Frank. He has copped to the blow use, right? I mean, he did so in his own book he said he did blow.
KEATING: Oh yes, he did.
MILLER: Well, I'm just saying that doesn't enter this to me.