(CNN) – Sarah Palin has increasingly embraced the attack dog role on the Republican ticket – but in a new interview, she seems to endorse a line of attack John McCain had distanced himself from earlier this year.
The Republican VP nominee told Bill Kristol of the New York Times that Obama's long-time relationship with minister Jeremiah Wright should be a bigger issue on the campaign trail. "I don't know why that association isn't discussed more," she said.
"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," said Palin. ".I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up."
When the North Carolina Republican Party launched a television ad this spring taking aim at Obama's ties to Wright, McCain first repudiated the attack. "I've said again and again, I do not believe that Sen. Obama shares Rev. Wright's extremist views which he has stated, whether it be the United States Marine Corps or the flag or what," McCain said. "I am leaving that issue to a dialogue between Sen. Obama and American people."
He added that all he could do, "in as visible way as possible, is disassociate myself from that kind of campaigning."
But McCain soon signaled that he might have changed his position on whether state Republican parties or downballot GOP candidates should exploit the Wright issue in local campaigns, suggesting that he had shifted his stance after Obama told an interviewer that the controversy surrounding his ex-pastor was "a legitimate political issue."
"As I said before, I am of the belief that Sen. Obama does not reflect the extremist statements that Rev. Wright has given," McCain told reporters. "I have no comments on it, but I also understand why millions of Americans may, as Sen. Obama said yesterday, view this as a political issue."
Still, the issue has not been major fodder on the trail since McCain himself dealt with fallout from the endorsements of headline-grabbing pastors this spring. Reports of controversial statements by evangelical leaders John Hagee and Rod Parsley ultimately led him to reject the backing of both men.