One day after John McCain passed up an attempt to criticize a comparison between Barack Obama and Osama Bin Laden, he has been presented with another opportunity.
After his speech in Virginia Beach Monday morning, one of the candidate's supporters was shown on MSNBC brandishing a sign that read: "Obama Bin Lyin'," a clear reference to the al-Qaeda leader.
McCain received some credit last Friday for addressing the palpable xenophobia at his various town halls. "No ma'am," he told a woman who falsely asserted that Barack Obama is an Arab. He answered another supporter who said she was afraid of an Obama presidency by telling her she had nothing to fear.
But the question now appears whether McCain can put the genie of the Democratic nominee's "otherness" back into the bottle, after having issued a week of "who is Barack Obama"-themed attacks. Even after a speech that made no mention of ACORN, Bill Ayers, or purportedly radical politics of any stripe, it was clear that McCain's crowds are not dissuaded from reveling in character assassination.
On Sunday, McCain refused an opportunity to criticize the state chair of the Virginia GOP, who compared Obama to Bin Laden, since "both ... have friends that have bombed the Pentagon," a reference to Ayers. Asked whether that was appropriate, McCain only said: "I have to look at the context of his remarks. I have always repudiated any comments that have been made that were inappropriate about Senator Obama." (Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the campaign made the decision to call the remarks "not appropriate.")
If this keeps up, however, McCain may have to weigh in with his own thoughts on the matter.