09/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

McCain On Negative Turn: "I'm Very Sorry About It"

The Washington Post's David Broder talks to both candidates about the campaign tone:

The first question I asked John McCain and then Barack Obama was: How do you feel about the tone and direction of the campaign so far?

No surprise. Both men pronounced themselves thoroughly frustrated by the personal bitterness and negativism they have seen in the two months since they learned they would be running against each other.

"I'm very sorry about it," McCain said in a Saturday interview at his Arlington headquarters. "I think we could have avoided at least some of this if we had agreed to do the town hall meetings" together, as he had suggested, during the summer months.

TNR's Chris Orr is impressed that Broder managed to write about negative campaigning without mentioning any of McCain's, well, negative campaigning:

Broder manages the remarkable feat of writing on negativity in the campaign without once mentioning McCain's "troops" smear (which his own paper led the way in declaring untrue), any of his ads deriding Obama as a Paris-Hilton-like celebrity or self-imagined Messiah, or the GOP's hilarious tire-gauge antics. (Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln....) The only actual attacks Broder cites are the charge that Obama was "playing the race card," and McCain's suggestion that Obama would be willing to lose a war in order to win an election. (Moreover, he backs into this latter attack, citing Obama's complaint about it rather than the smear itself.)

But none of that will happen again if Obama agrees to a town hall.