McCain Ads: All Through the Ayers Haze

John McCain sees ready to make an attempt to save his flagging campaign by running ads about the economy, his ability to lead the country out of the current crisis, Barack Obama’s inexperience…..all through the lens of Obama’s past association with Chicago political figure William Ayers

This newest ad seems an odd mix to me.

Combining the Ayers issue in the top of the ad, with the economic crisis in the back half of the ad? It reminds me of when a car company, for example, can’t decide whether it wants to position a product around safety, performance or prestige, so it mashes up three messages into one 30-second ad, leaving everyone scratching their head about what they just saw.

The trouble with this strategy, which the GOP right-wing-base has been arguing for, is that not only does it cheapen every message McCain wants to get out to swing voters, but it invites Obama’s campaign to go tit-for-tat. McCain, of course, like almost any veteran pol, has crossed paths with unsavory characters on boards, committees and as donors.

McCain, say the pundits, is expected too bring up the Ayers (William Ayers is a former Weather Underground radical who was involved in domestic bombing in the 60s. A fund raiser for Obama was held in Ayers home in the mid 1990s, and the two servec on a community service organization board) issue in next week’s final debate.

But all Obama has to do is say….”If John McCain wants to lie and distort things I have said or people I have known in my life, then we can do that…we can talk about Charles Keating…we can talk about the U.S. Council for World Freedom on whose board John McCain sat on….an organization chaired by John Singlaub who wound up involved in the Iran Contra scandal…and which was cited by the Anti-Defamation League for being racists….we can talk about how John illegally financed his first Congressional campaign with his wife’s money and later had to pay fines over it….we can talk about all that. But I don’t think that’s what voters are looking to us to do……”

This is an ad that may excite the rapid base of the GOP. But there is a mounting belief that the Ayers blather, as well as stuff about convicted real estate financier Tony Rezko (a former Obama donor and supporter) coming out of the McCain campaign is not to be believed by swing voters; that McCain ads simply aren’t to be believed. That comes from weeks upon weeks of non-partisan groups like and saying that Mccain ads aren’t to be believed, and those findings echoing throughout the media.

This is the sort of campaigning that John McCain has long said he deplored. But campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, a former Bush and Karl Rove operative who was an architect of the “Swift Boat” campaign against John Kerry, has led McCain to this new strategy of trying to get voters to see everything through this Ayers haze.

If it works, Schmidt will be a hero and the most sought after strategist in all of politics come November 5. If Obama wins, McCain’s reputation, nor Schmidt’s will never be the same.