October 6th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain aides: McCain, Palin to peg Obama as ‘risky...dangerous’

McCain's aides say they will peg Obama as 'risky' and 'dangerous.'.

McCain's aides say they will peg Obama as 'risky' and 'dangerous.'.

(CNN) - John McCain’s aides say they are certainly happy to turn the corner away from the bailout package - but insist the campaign’s stepped-up focus on Barack Obama’s character does not mean the Republican presidential nominee is going to stop talking about the economy.

Instead, they will try to reframe the economic issue as part of their overall theme against Obama: You don’t really know this guy - and you can’t trust this guy. The words in their new ad say it all: “risky… dangerous.”

Watch: Obama, McCain advisers discuss why their candidate is best for the economy

As Obama and running mate Joe Biden take a break from the trail Monday, McCain and VP nominee Sarah Palin are each pursuing a different part of that strategy.

In New Mexico this afternoon, aides say McCain is expected to revive his attacks on Obama — a top recipient of campaign cash from from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — for taking money from the failed mortgage giants, and for not coming up with solutions early in the crisis. The Arizona senator will once again talk about his own call two years ago for reform of Fannie and Freddie.

Last month, the McCain camp released ads highlighting Obama’s ties to former Fannie and Freddie officials — but that line of attack had not been prominent since a New York Times investigation alleged that campaign manager Rick Davis may have benefited financially from his firm’s links to the lenders until their collapse last month.

McCain advisors are wagering that the attack is worth the risk. One aide says that “with economic news at the top of voters’ minds, it makes sense for the top of the ticket to talk about Obama’s failures and lack of credibility on the economy.”

Meanwhile, Palin - who hit Obama this weekend over his associations with controversial Chicago figures - will continue a more personal line of attack, focusing on his relationship with Weather Underground founder William Ayers.

The two lines of attack are two sides of the same approach, says another advisor, questioning obama’s truthfulness and whether voters can really trust him.

But two McCain aides say Palin’s comments questioning why Rev. Jeremiah Wright wasn’t more of a campaign trail issue, was not planned as a signal that they are going to start adding Wright to the mix. The Alaska governor, they say, was just relating her personal opinion, not the strategy of the campaign,

Asked whether Palin’s remark wasn’t a green light to outside groups that Wright is fair game, the aide responded “we’re not that good to strategize like that,” adding that Palin was talking as a woman whose daughters pregnancy was fair game, who doesn’t understand why the comments of Obama’s pastor aren’t.

soundoff (224 Responses)
  1. Adam, Los Angeles

    I think we've seen this tactic before: When nothing else works, start slinging mud. It's a sign that campaign is in real trouble and, quite frankly, really pathetic.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Spencer from VA

    They have nothing else to run on. They can't talk about issue #1.....The Economy. What are they so afraid of? I guess talking about the issues is not part of their agenda.


    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Shari, NY

    Bankrupt of ideas, the Repubs use another discordant singer to render the same old tune. Keep going Sarah, the Democrats need you too baecause you are our court jester! Like a blown up baloon, when the air is let out you will spin wildly until you fizzle out.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. NO MCcain

    Wrong, but thanks for trying. Obama in a landslide, because Bob Dole... I mean Mccain is frankly unelectable and slinging mud stopped being a game changer 10 years ago

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Lee from FL

    They are trying to change the new cycle from the real issues.
    its easy to do that when all is well,when people are hurting they dont want to hear that crap.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    Nothing is more risky and dangerous to your campaign than slinging this dung when the American people need answers about what you plan to do to solve this country's problems.

    That is why Obama will win.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Shirley

    If the Republicans would not playing like little children and act grown up then this will be a good campaign.

    Now lets see and talk dirty.

    1) Sarah Palin has no room to talk about nobody because she is running away from a jail probe – Trooper Gate.
    2) John Mccain is no maverick and if Sarah Palin had any sense she would not let the Republican make her out of a witch.
    3) John Mccain is a pathetic old man that can't run for office unless he tear someone down.
    4) People if this is the type of race you want then believe in McCain but what if the table is turned on him with Palin and the witch doctor and all of his dirty tactics in the past.
    5) I want vote for a negative campaign because they have noting positive to offer.

    Get a life McCain/Palin.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Joe Regis

    A consensus has been reached and this time the people are turning the page on the repubs.

    Landslide Obama/Biden 08/12.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Jerry Ohio

    McCain is a old dirty politician and got Palin out there doing his dirty work i wondering if Palin realize if McCain loses Palin can give up her politics up in Alaska. McCain and palin need to be lock up together in jail.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. carlo

    Haven't we been here already? Palin is the LAST person who needs to bring up wacky pastors, with her witch-hunting prayer warrior and her American-hating, secessionist husband.

    McCain-Keating 5, nothing more to say.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. What the #$%?

    Boooo Booooo! WHAT ABOUT THE ISSUES? WHAT ABOUT THE ISSUES? WHAT ABOUT THE ISSUES? Our ECONomy is in the trash and this is all you can pull out? 29.....28.......27.......26...........25 days and counting. GW...do you need help packing?

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Walter, FL

    The Democrats and Obama just got provided the greatest news headline possible:
    "the stock market falls below 10.000 points in years, and McCain wants to turn the page". John McCain obviously believes a 700 billion dollar fix is all that needs to be done here. Just throw in the money and that's it. No more work to be done here.
    Oh boy, we're so screwed if the Republicans come in again. There will be no work on fixing the economy whatsoever right? I start to believe the Republicans genuinely do not understand economy.

    October 6, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Susie oklahoma

    I'd think McCain/Palin would get the hint that America doesn't want any more of these nasty worthless attacks. Obama needs to hit him back quickly and affectively to show McCain isn't no angel!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Rob

    'Gone' should realize that McCain and Palin should not be throwing stones. Let us not forget Palin's own extremist pastor, nor McCain's involvement in the Keating scandal. The McCain campaign in merely lashing out in a last-ditch attempt to fool the American people into voting for them.

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Non-Conformist

    Desperation 08!!!!!!!!!!!

    Keating 5 will blend well with the economic crisis we are in ....

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Thomas

    Anger, fear and smear...........the republipuke mantra!

    Note to McSame: Its the economy, stupid!

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Fitzpatrick


    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. LOL

    all the GOP does is attack... we want to know about the ISSUES

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Gone


    Give it a break. The Americans that have an IQ above 70 are looking into the devestating economy and two horrible wars that the Republicans put us in.

    There is no way Americans are going to let the Rove style politics of fear mongoring and smear attacks distract us from major issues.

    McCain is failing, and if his presidency was run anything like his campaign than this country is done for. Palin is just plain Failing. She may attract the 5-10% folksy people of this country, but the other 95-100% see right through her.

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. jason, tx

    This is hilarious. Palin is the risky one. People who vote for the Republican ticket are just plain idiotic.

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. kathy

    Unqualified and outrageous should be used as adjectives to describe McCain and Palin. She is only reciting what has been written for her. She has no substance and needs to be ignored. McCain should know that he is far from perfect and he'd better be careful w/his attacks. He's got plenty of skeletons in his closet. Palin needs to think about her own pastoral ties and troopergate, etc. We want the issues dealt with and for them to quit focusing on the past. They have no strategy to win in november so they resort to low blows and lies...the american people deserve better than what the republican party is offering up now...it's all BS and we're fed up with it~

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Lynn: 60 yr old white Obama supporter

    So easy to sling mud when you are unprepared to substaniate them!!

    Why does CNN keep repeating comments they have "fact checked" as FALSE?? What kind of a news organization does that.

    Palin's outrageous remarks should not be publicized unless she is willing to sit down and bach them up with an objective journalist. Until she does that, her remarks should be ignored.

    October 6, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. Dee

    How utterly slimy!! They cant rely on their record or their stands on issues so they attack Obama's character & patriotism...that speaks volumes about their readiness to lead the nation out of the mess its in. The voters wont be fooled, unlike what they think,the voters are intellegent!!

    October 6, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Republicans Hate America

    and this has what to do with the failing economy that McCain helped create?

    October 6, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. H

    McCain and Palin protest too much.

    Maybe (in addition to his own recklessness) it is because McCain's connections to extremist right-wing organizations are coming up for discussion again.

    And, another huge stock market drop today.

    Grasping for straws McCain, grasping for straws.

    October 6, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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