[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/08/art.nytimes.gi.jpg caption="The New York Times issued a critical assessment of McCain's campaign."](CNN) - The New York Times issued a renewed scolding of John McCain in a sharply-worded editorialWednesday morning, the latest salvo in the ongoing back-and-forth between the paper of record and the Arizona senator's White House bid.
"Senator John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have been running one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember," the Tuesday editorial said. "They have gone far beyond the usual fare of quotes taken out of context and distortions of an opponent’s record — into the dark territory of race-baiting and xenophobia. Senator Barack Obama has taken some cheap shots at Mr. McCain, but there is no comparison."
Those comments come two weeks after senior McCain advisors derided the New York Times, calling the news outlet "an Obama advocacy organization" in response to an article in the paper that reported McCain campaign manager Rick Davis was still profiting from failed mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
The Times, McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb said then, “obscures its true intentions — to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama — under the cloak of objective journalism.”
Top McCain adviser Steve Schmidt also weighed in on the paper that endorsed McCain's primary bid, saying it is “150 percent in the tank” for Obama - a statement that drew a defiant response from managing editor Bill Keller, who said the paper is "is committed to covering the candidates fully, fairly and aggressively."
The McCain campaign appeared to make its peace with the paper over the weekend, when aides to the Arizona senator and Palin herself both highlighted a Times story that investigated the relationship between Obama and 1960's radical William Ayers. That article, published October 3, concluded Obama has played down the extent of his relationship with the Weather Underground founder, but concludes the two "do not appear to have been close."
But in its blistering editorial Wednesday, the paper's editors criticized the campaign and the Alaska governor for suggesting Obama is "palling around with terrorists," saying that Palin is implying that "Mr. Obama is right now a close friend of Mr. Ayers — and sympathetic to the violent overthrow of the government."
“We certainly expected better from Mr. McCain, who once showed withering contempt for win-at-any-cost politics," the editorial says.
Earlier: Cindy McCain says Obama running 'dirtiest campaign' ever