McCain's Style

| Wed Sep. 10, 2008 3:09 PM PDT

McCAIN'S STYLE....John Judis on John McCain's increasingly slimy campaign style:

McCain himself has clearly demonstrated that he'll do anything to win. In 2000, he ran an honorable campaign. Leave aside what he advocated — he tried to win on the merits. This year, he has been willing to distort and lie about his opponents. It really started with the way he dealt with Mitt Romney's positions on the Iraq war.

Indeed it did, and it's something worth keeping in mind. Steve Schmidt has obviously been responsible for some of the recent change in tone of the McCain campaign, but it didn't start with him. It started with McCain himself, who, in the days leading up to Super Tuesday, cheerfully and repeatedly smeared Mitt Romney as a guy who wanted to surrender to the terrorists in Iraq. It was a plainly bogus charge, but it was one that McCain peddled without compunction for an entire week — and it was one of the things that put a final nail in Romney's coffin.

McCain's revolting campaign style isn't something he had to be talked into by a cabal of ruthless advisors. He genuinely likes this stuff.

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