Yeah, it’s that guy. He originally said this last June, when both Maverick and Obama were the longest of longshots and the Wright scandal was but a twinkle in Brian Ross’s eye. How’s he feel nine months later, now that Bambi’s 20-year relationship with a church that evidently believes Israel is working on an ethnic bomb has been more thoroughly vetted? Does his nuance regarding “white folks’ greed” add any extra variables to the character equation?
Q: So you’ve said that you will leave the McCain campaign if Obama is the nominee. Does that still hold and why?
McKinnon: Yeah. Well, this goes back to a memo that I wrote to the campaign when I came aboard more than a year and a half ago, and I simply let them know that I had spent time with Obama and read his book and I like the guy. I think he has strong character and a fascinating life story, and I disagree with him fundamentally on issues like Iraq and trade and a number of others. But I just flashed forward to the improbable scenario, at that time seemingly improbable, that John McCain and Barack Obama might face off against one other. And I just told them at the time that I thought that I would be uncomfortable being on the front lines — being as aggressive as you need to be in a presidential campaign — and not only that I would be uncomfortable, but that it would be bad for the campaign, and that if that circumstance were to come to be, that I would just take a step to the sidelines and continue to support John McCain 100 percent and be No. 1 fan and cheerleader. But just kind of take myself out of the front lines…
Q: And it’s because, what, you don’t want to run negative ads against Obama?
Q: Or is there also a concern on your part that you don’t want to run ads against Obama, the first African-American candidate to have this kind of a chance? Is that a factor as well?
McKinnon: I suppose that is in part, but it’s more just that I like and admire the guy. I’ve come to a point in my life where I think character is important. I think he has great character. Again, I think he’s really wrong on fundamental issues, but yeah, I just don’t want to — you know, I kind of want to put my guns down. It’s just a matter of degrees, and like I said, I don’t think I’m the best person to have in that slot for the campaign. So it would just be better for me to step to the sidelines.
Exit question: If he’s so terribly worried about Obama being attacked unfairly, why not stay on and exercise some control over the campaign’s message to stop that from happening? Or is he suggesting that any sharp criticism of Bambi, however substantive and impersonal, is a bit too Godzilla-ish for him?