Politico’s Ben Smith reports that at least one PAC will go after Jeremiah Wright and his ties to Barack Obama, even if John McCain keeps it off limits to his own campaign. The National Republican Trust PAC will run this 30-second spot in battleground states Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida:
The ad raises two questions. First, is Wright fair game? The McCain campaign has sent mixed signals on this, but Barack Obama himself acknowledged that voters legitimately can consider his long association with the radical preacher as a political question. This ad doesn’t appear to step over any lines, but it hits hard, playing the most inflammatory Wright quotes in the public domain. It then notes that Obama didn’t find any of it objectionable enough to rouse him to action … until Wright became a political liability.
The second question will be harder to answer: will this be effective? It may have been before Wall Street melted down, but now voters are looking for pragmatism and specific answers. McCain may have made a mistake by leaving Wright off the radar earlier in the campaign, but he has better targets now in the final week. The NPR audio from 2001 is worth a hundred Wrights and Ayers, mostly because it has Obama’s own words.
Perhaps the 527s should focus similarly, although it doesn’t necessarily hurt having them take the secondary arguments.