(ASHEVILLE, N.C.) - While Barack Obama and John McCain rarely utter the words "William Ayers" or "Keating Five", their campaigns have spent a lot of time talking about their opponents' associations in recent days.
Months ago, both candidates vowed to run a "respectable campaign" but they now appear to believe that if they are not directly involved in the attacks that they are exonerated from blame of running a negative campaign.
Take John McCain for example. He spent the entire weekend in Sedona, Ariz., behind closed doors – not a peep out of him – while his running mate, Sarah Palin, went from event to event arguing that Barack Obama is "palling around" with terrorists. Palin was referring to a New York Times article about Obama's ties to Weather Underground founder, William Ayers. Both newspapers and the networks ran sound bites of Palin's charges against Obama, but there were no quotes from John McCain himself.
The Obama campaign, meantime, is striking back a 13-minute web "documentary" highlighting John McCain's role in the Keating Five scandal. There is plenty of video of John McCain in the documentary that the campaign hopes will be broadcast on television and viewed by millions on the internet.
This comes on a day when Obama will be spending the majority of his day behind closed doors preparing for Tuesday's presidential debate. He briefly appeared in public this afternoon to make a statement on the economy, but he refused to take questions from reporters who asked him why his campaign brought up the Keating Five scandal.