McCain spanks Soren Dayton to remain above the Wright Stuff

posted at 6:00 pm on March 20, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

John McCain’s campaign got its first opportunity to show how seriously it wants to avoid getting into the identity-politics meltdown in the Democratic primary. The campaign suspended Soren Dayton, a former blogger now working for McCain, for sending the link to a YouTube regarding Barack Obama and Jeremiah Wright over a Twitter message:

An aide to John McCain was suspended from the campaign today for blasting out an inflammatory video that raises questions about Barack Obama’s patriotism.

Soren Dayton, who works in McCain’s political department, sent out the YouTube link of “Is Obama Wright?” on twitter at 12:31 today with the tag, “Good video on Obama and Wright.” It has since been taken down. ….

Informed that Dayton was circulating the video, McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said he had been suspended and “reprimanded by campaign leadership.”

“We have been very clear on the type of campaign we intend to run and this staffer acted in violation of our policy,” she said.

I’m conflicted by this. I know Soren, and he’s a pretty good guy. He didn’t create the YouTube, and as I wrote this morning, it doesn’t do anything except show Wright, Obama, and his wife Michelle speaking for themselves.

However, McCain has nothing to gain and a lot to lose by getting involved in this controversy. If he stays out of it, the fight remains between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and now Geraldine Ferraro. If his campaign starts pushing the video or any of the commentary, it will rope McCain into the debate and give the Democrats an outside target. And why give them that escape route now, just when their party is finally being held accountable for its hypocritical pursuit of ethnic and gender politics?

McCain needs to take some action to show how seriously he wants to remain a disinterested observer in the coming meltdown. That means Soren has to get publicly disciplined, unfortunately. I doubt he’ll be on the sidelines for long.  It may not be fair, but … it’s politics.


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I wonder who McCain is planning to actually campaign against, at the end of the day.

Cylor on March 20, 2008 at 6:07 PM

There you go Mav, take the moral high ground. There will be plenty of hacks who will rip Hillary and Obamamessiah. Now, go ahead and name Lindsey Graham vp while the racist and the liar are tearing each other apart.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 20, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Yeah… its prudent that McCain keeps his nomination about issues, not identity. If he can keep things focused on what matters, he’ll be in good shape.

AbaddonsReign on March 20, 2008 at 6:09 PM

It doesn’t just show them speaking. Did you miss the black power salute pictures? The rap music? Malcolm X?

Typhonsentra on March 20, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Now, go ahead and name Lindsey Graham vp…

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 20, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Ah, I see you’ve been reading “101 Ways For A Conservative to Quickly Lose The Election”.

amerpundit on March 20, 2008 at 6:14 PM

Like I say, telling the truth today will get you fired faster than lying.

TheSitRep on March 20, 2008 at 6:17 PM

I hope McCain’s people remember Master Po’s first rule of politics: Never kill an adversary who’s busy committing suicide.

Travis Bickle on March 20, 2008 at 6:19 PM

Sometimes letting others tell the truth, and staying out of their mud slinging is the best way to prepare for the real fight – November’s Election.

Hopefully, McCain will stay focused on developing winning messages for planks in his campaign. AND picking a highly competent VP.

Perfesser on March 20, 2008 at 6:23 PM

It may not be fair, but … it’s politics.

No. It’s just stupid. McCain is setting the bar WAY too high. No one in his campaign can send an email with negative information about his opponent?? stupid.

Ex-tex on March 20, 2008 at 6:24 PM

I hope McCain’s people remember Master Po’s first rule of politics: Never kill an adversary who’s busy committing suicide.

Travis Bickle on March 20, 2008 at 6:19 PM

And meanwhile, out here in the real world, people are looking at who will be the better LEADER.

I think Obama’s “typical white person” comment in yet another running over of his grandmother, is gonna be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

You don’t have to be racist to think he is an ungrateful little asshole to keep trashing her like that.

If you haven’t, you need to read the link on the front page to Obama’s “mega problem”.
It is so true.

ArmyAunt on March 20, 2008 at 6:25 PM

“Ah, I see you’ve been reading “101 Ways For A Conservative to Quickly Lose The Election”.

amerpundit on March 20, 2008 at 6:14 PM”

Oh, the reality check……..

With all that is going on with the Democrats eating themselves, less we forget what we are up against in the Republican Party……..

Seven Percent Solution on March 20, 2008 at 6:28 PM

Good job McCain!!

I hope you satisfied the 0.0001% of Blacks who might vote for you.

That’s smart of you. Good strategy!

Surrender is not an option!

Keep fighting buddy, get your veteran status’ worth.

Indy Conservative on March 20, 2008 at 6:28 PM

.

However, McCain has nothing to gain and a lot to lose by getting involved in this controversy.

Only when much your campaign is built around a press cycle! Seriously, say Obama wins the nomination, will McCain still lay off? I certainly think that what we have learned about Obama’s spiritual mentor yields a lot of legitimate concerns about Obama’s judgment and underlying character, for reasons that many other bloggers and reporters have mentioned, INCLUDING the contradictions that the video pointed out. But never mind that, the Mav wants a “new tone”…new tone…new tone…now where have I heard that before?

Weight of Glory on March 20, 2008 at 6:32 PM

No. It’s just stupid. McCain is setting the bar WAY too high. No one in his campaign can send an email with negative information about his opponent?? stupid.

Ex-tex on March 20, 2008 at 6:24 PM

When your enemy is busy cutting each other’s throats, it’s best just to get out of the way and let ‘em. Ed is right- there’s no reason to jump into the fray and provide an opportunity for the Dems to rally ’round the flag against a shared threat.

Hillary’s camp will no doubt make sure this says in the news as long as possible. Assuming Obama gets the nomination, he’ll have plenty of time to use this later.

Hollowpoint on March 20, 2008 at 6:35 PM

When the other side is loosing, it’s best not to say or do anything.

McCain needs to take some action to show how seriously he wants to remain a disinterested observer in the coming meltdown.

I think dismissing the blogger is enough. McCain needs to keep to the issues and stay out of the way of the democrat implosion.

Kini on March 20, 2008 at 6:37 PM

McCain has just proved to me again, that when it comes to republicans vs. democrats, he is more than happy to throw the republican under the bus.

Blake on March 20, 2008 at 6:38 PM

say Obama wins the nomination, will McCain still lay off?

Y-E-S! He states as much so many times.

Civil, issue based, reach around the isle campaign, remember? It’s against the Dems, not against his fellow party which he enjoys to backstab.

Aristotle on March 20, 2008 at 6:39 PM

Also, all the McCain supporters need to look inside themselves and ponder this: If one of Hilary’s advisors came out and said something that was viewed as “below the belt” about Obama, and was then swiftly “punished” by Clinton’s campaign, would you be so quick to say, “good for her!” Or would you think that she was just implementing a strategy to attack Obama by a surrogate, who would then be “punished” to make it look like she had nothing to do with it? Oh wait she has done that, and that is what we all thought. I guess we trust McCain’s word. After all he’s “our guy”. And yes I know, the primary is over…and yes he’s better than two socialists. You know, it’s kinda of funny that while our candidate has raised the bar so high, we have lowered the bar so, so, oh so, low.

Weight of Glory on March 20, 2008 at 6:40 PM

We don’t have a dog in this fight.
Walk on by, nuthing to see here.
Stick to the issues.

The democrats are consumed with this racial nonsense.
It’s best we stick to the issues and not get involved in like the Capt’n said. They are cutting their own throats. Let this die quietly.

Kini on March 20, 2008 at 6:43 PM

while it does strike me as being heavy handed I can’t say hte logic behind the move doesn’t make sense

Defector01 on March 20, 2008 at 6:47 PM

What is a Maverick to do?

d1carter on March 20, 2008 at 6:48 PM

With all hell breaking loose over on the dem’s side, this election is now McCain’s to lose.

And I believe the old stupid bastard will probably lose it anyway.

TexasJew on March 20, 2008 at 6:50 PM

Never interrupt your opponent(s)[Democrats] while they are making a mistake.

Can we get this Napoleon maxim out to the masses already?

gabriel sutherland on March 20, 2008 at 6:52 PM

Aristotle: Civil, issue based, reach around the isle campaign, remember? It’s against the Dems, not against his fellow party which he enjoys to backstab.

Nah, Sen. McCain is just waiting for the right time to go on the personal offensive. He might not even have to–if he goes into the election with great poll numbers. But he’s ready to.

It’s months–months!–until the election. It’s an eternity. Spring, Summer, and Fall–three whole seasons.

Just to put this in perspective: how long has it been since the Texas and Ohio primaries? One month? Two months?

Nope. Just TWO WEEKS. We have a long, long election season ahead of us. Sen. McCain is pacing himself. He knows what he’s doing. Have a little faith–if not in his inherent goodness, or in his fidelity to conservative principles, at least that the man knows how to win an election.

daryl_herbert on March 20, 2008 at 6:55 PM

It doesn’t just show them speaking. Did you miss the black power salute pictures? The rap music? Malcolm X?

Typhonsentra on March 20, 2008 at 6:11 PM

Are some commenters ignoring the facts pointed out in the quote above? The video clearly crosses the line into “racially charged” territory. Under no circumstances should McCain be involved in this mess – he did the right thing here.

The_Freeze on March 20, 2008 at 6:57 PM

STAN
Uh, hoo. Guys, I think we’d better stay
out of this one.

KYLE
Yeah, this is starting to look like
something we shouldn’t be any part of.
Let’s go play with trucks or something.

TIMMY
Ha-a-aaa-haaa-a.

exception on March 20, 2008 at 6:59 PM

The worst thing McCain could do right now is weigh in on the Democrat implosion. All it would do would be to unite the Dems around bashing McCain instead of bashing each other.

Sekhmet on March 20, 2008 at 7:02 PM

In a sense I agree with Ed’s point, let the Democrats shred each other, but on the flipside, this is gonna be yet another thing that will make conservatives grumble, and McCain can’t really afford that either.

doubleplusundead on March 20, 2008 at 7:12 PM

Indy Conservative on March 20, 2008 at 6:28 PM

It does not just turn off black people when you get involved in this kind of BS.

Squid Shark on March 20, 2008 at 7:20 PM

Aristotle on March 20, 2008 at 6:39 PM

You can run an adversarial campaign without getting dirty.

Squid Shark on March 20, 2008 at 7:22 PM

Indy Conservative on March 20, 2008 at 6:28 PM

It does not just turn off black people when you get involved in this kind of BS.

Squid Shark on March 20, 2008 at 7:20 PM

Turn off Black people?

Them towards McCain?

Ah OK.

In other news, Dick Cheney announced today that he accepted the VP position offered to him by John McCain and that he had no ambition to run for president in 2016.

Indy Conservative on March 20, 2008 at 7:36 PM

I’m already hearing about the “Right Wing” taking shots at Obama re: the Wright debacle. McCain is smart to stay out of it. Let Hillary take the shots at Obama.

If Hillary wins the nomination but is seen as the one who killed the Messiah, the Cult stays home in November.

If McCain or “The Right Wing” is deemed the one who killed Obama’s run, they Obama nuts will rally behind Hillary.

The left has its strategists and they’re already trying to pin this on the Right.

MikeZero on March 20, 2008 at 7:37 PM

Heh. so Soren Dayton says unkind things about Mitt Romney, and McCain HIRES him. But he does the same thing to Obama, and Mac “takes the high road.”

Typical Mac.

sulla on March 20, 2008 at 8:12 PM

He didn’t fire Dayton, just suspended him. Dayton could very well still be on the payroll if he was getting paid to begin with. This may just be a ploy to maintain appearances. McCain is on a oversea’s tour looking presidential and his numbers are climbing, especially with independents. We all know McCain has the ability to be terse with political opponents. But right now, he doesn’t have one, we are waiting on Heckle and Jeckle to sort their nomination out. Just speculation from what I’ve observed, I have no inside track.

Hog Wild on March 20, 2008 at 8:22 PM

Is Soren Dayton the guy who was complete off the hook irrational when discussing Mitt Romney?

EJDolbow on March 20, 2008 at 8:25 PM

Typical Mac.

sulla on March 20, 2008 at 8:12 PM

McCain is anti-conservative, not anti-Democrat. The Democrats are his “good friends.” Conservatives are nativists, racists and obstructionists.

spmat on March 20, 2008 at 8:29 PM

… in the end a ” DEMOCRAT ” will be elected as the President of United States … darn !!!

aniladesai on March 20, 2008 at 8:31 PM

wise move by McCain

stay above and away

windansea on March 20, 2008 at 8:40 PM

Indy Conservative on March 20, 2008 at 7:36 PM

Clearly you don’t get it (not surprising), I was saying that McCain is not just “making money” with black people.

Squid Shark on March 20, 2008 at 8:49 PM

Hog Wild on March 20, 2008 at 8:22 PM

INsightful and spot on as usual.

Squid Shark on March 20, 2008 at 8:51 PM

Maverick doing the top ten tonight on Letterman. Nothing like a little self deprecating humor on late night tv. Especially with a lead that keeps getting bigger by the minute.

THE CHOSEN ONE on March 20, 2008 at 8:54 PM

I like Soren, too, but I have to question his judgment for allowing himself to be associated with John McCain. What was he thinking?

Ali-Bubba on March 20, 2008 at 8:55 PM

Is Soren Dayton the guy who was complete off the hook irrational when discussing Mitt Romney?

EJDolbow on March 20, 2008 at 8:25 PM

You’re thinking of Hugh Hewitt.

Ali-Bubba on March 20, 2008 at 8:56 PM

McCain is liberal so he hates criticisms against fellow liberals. But notice he doesn’t have any problem chastising conservatives?

mariloubaker on March 20, 2008 at 9:34 PM

You’re thinking of Hugh Hewitt.

Ali-Bubba on March 20, 2008 at 8:56 PM

Hugh vetted Romney and came to the conclusion he was by far the most qualified, intelligent and competent man to run for the job of POTUS in many years.

That is what informed voters do so Hugh going to battle for Romney is hardly irrational.

EJDolbow on March 20, 2008 at 10:23 PM

It may not be fair, but … it’s politics.

Ed, that’s a cop out. If the McCain campaign over-reacted–which they did–then we should stand up and say that.

By the logic used for Soren if a staffer sent the video to someone via e-mail they should be suspended. It won’t be a very hospitable working environment if staffer know their online communications are constantly being monitored so McCain can look as pure as virgin snow.

seanhackbarth on March 20, 2008 at 10:46 PM

The democrats are consumed with this racial nonsense.
It’s best we stick to the issues and not get involved in like the Capt’n said. They are cutting their own throats. Let this die quietly.

Kini on March 20, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Sanity in the HA comments?! Must be Ed brought some sense from CQ with him!

bamapachyderm on March 20, 2008 at 11:47 PM

Note to self: Follow all the Hillobama staffers on Twitter so I can play “gotcha” games too. I sense a gold mine in them thar’ hills.

bamapachyderm on March 20, 2008 at 11:48 PM

The worst thing McCain could do right now is weigh in on the Democrat implosion. All it would do would be to unite the Dems around bashing McCain instead of bashing each other.
Sekhmet on March 20, 2008 at 7:02 PM

I would agree with you but it is McCain’s responsibility to communicate this strategy to those working for him. It seems unfair to fire them if he didn’t.

Dollayo on March 21, 2008 at 1:26 AM

G

ood job McCain!!

I hope you satisfied the 0.0001% of Blacks who might vote for you.

That’s smart of you. Good strategy!

Surrender is not an option!

Keep fighting buddy, get your veteran status’ worth.

Indy Conservative on March 20, 2008 at 6:28 PM

People are sick of sleazy lying politicking on both sides, go for John McCain, he’s a class act.

Why set yourself to having to relive Lee Atwater sobbing on his deathbed for forgiveness, it’s wasn’t a pretty sight then and it isn’t now.

If you can’t win on the issues and you have to cheat to get there, you shouldn’t be running.

AprilOrit on March 21, 2008 at 1:27 AM

McCain is a pussy.

thegreatbeast on March 21, 2008 at 2:38 AM

Indy Conservative on March 20, 2008 at 7:36 PM

Clearly you don’t get it (not surprising), I was saying that McCain is not just “making money” with black people.

Squid Shark on March 20, 2008 at 8:49 PM

I did get it.

It’s just I don’t see where you’re going with it.

McCain has nothing to lose.

Indy Conservative on March 21, 2008 at 4:25 AM

In a sense I agree with Ed’s point, let the Democrats shred each other, but on the flipside, this is gonna be yet another thing that will make conservatives grumble, and McCain can’t really afford that either.

doubleplusundead on March 20, 2008 at 7:12 PM

How many people are going to not vote for McCain because he DIDN’T get involved in racial mudslinging? I think the number of people who WILL vote for him because of that is higher. Never mind the number of people who will stay home or vote McCain because of the mudslinging itself, and who IS doing it.

Math_Mage on March 21, 2008 at 5:46 AM

Indy Conservative on March 21, 2008 at 4:25 AM

No, see, what Squid Shark is saying is that McCain’s gain here is among many demographics rather than just the black demographic. Your response seems to be to something else, since it’s talking strictly about the black demographic. In short, you two agree, move on. =)

Math_Mage on March 21, 2008 at 5:49 AM

When your enemy is busy cutting each other’s throats, it’s best just to get out of the way and let ‘em. Ed is right- there’s no reason to jump into the fray…

my point exactly- McCain WAS above the fray- UNTIL he suspended Soren for sending an email.

Ex-tex on March 21, 2008 at 8:39 AM

Seems like pointless posturing – something McCain is adept at.

I’m sure he felt like the big man.

There’s something more than a little pathetic about McCain’s gesture.

Ares on March 21, 2008 at 10:08 AM