Campaign disharmony?

October 27, 2008 1:59:59 PM PDT
So what happens if the McCain/Palin ticket does win? How would they get along?

If we're to believe the reports of the infighting now underway between McCain and Palin staffers, the long knives are already out in the blame game for what even the most ardent Republicans describe as a unfocused, disorganized, and daily message changing campaign.

Today, Sen. McCain dismissed talk about acrimony by saying that there are always disagreements among staffs. It's a gossipy bit of news, which partly explains why it's got some traction in a campaign that has just been too long.

But now we're in the final week. How each candidate portrays himself -- and the other -- will say much about how they'll feel about themselves after the votes are counted. And I'm not so much talking about whether McCain or Obama is the winner. Will they wake up on Nov. 5 and wonder, like the morning after a bad night at a party, did they behave in a way their parents would be proud of? Did they campaign ethically and positively?

I know that sounds so naive and simple. But I do think it all boils down to that. We can argue all night about what "share the wealth means" -- does it make you a Marxist to believe that? Isn't that what the country's progressive income tax has done for decades? We can discuss the strategies for getting out of Iraq. And we can talk about the economy. All that's legit.

But how the candidates talk about it is what determines who they are as people and how they'll deal with the complicated, difficult and sometimes horrible decisions they'll make as President.

For all their differences on the big issues, when I see McCain and Obama talking these days, that's what I think about.

And bad-mouthing your running mate is part of this. One McCain aide has been quoted as saying Sarah Palin is a "diva." Charming.

Another says Palin has on her own gone "off message" and is upset about the way she was introduced to the public -- which, you'll recall, was not long after she was introduced to McCain.

The lack of vetting of the Governor of Alaska showed up again today. Palin has been most outspoken about the "share the wealth" criticism of Obama's talk policy. Today the New Yorker magazine points out that just last summer Palin used the phrase "share in the wealth" during an interview in the magazine when discussing her plan to have Alaskans get some of the money from the state's oil production.

Hmmmmm.

We'll have the latest from the campaign trail, tonight at 11.

We're also following an absolutely bizarre story out of Tennessee, where two skinheads have been busted in an assassination plot against Obama and more than 100 African Americans. The ATF uncovered the plot, according to court documents unsealed this afternoon. Two young men - ages 18 and 20 - from Tennessee and Arkansas, allegedly plotted to kill 88 people by gunfire and 14 by decapitation. Why those numbers? According to law enforcement sources, "14" represents the the number of words in a motto of neo-Nazis -- "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."

And "88" represents "Heil Hitler," "H" being the 8th letter in the alphabet.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast -- there's a change a-comin' -- and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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