McCain And Obama Play Alley Ball

Republican vice-presidential candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin, waves to supporters before a campaign speech Monday morning Oct. 6, 2008 in Clearwater, Fla.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor Harry Smith.
Elbows, when you're a kid and you think you're good enough to play pick up basketball with the big guys.

You find out soon enough that the game is physical in ways you never imagined.

The game within the game is savage, brutal. It's always about dominance and territory. Players will do almost anything to gain a better position.

That becomes clear when the sharp jab of your opponent's elbow lands square on your jaw

You're stunned, you may even see stars. And you are left with a decision, do I walk away or do I stay and play.

Sarah Palin's invoking of the imagery of Barack Obama cavorting with terrorists is just such a jab.

The Obama folks knew something was coming though, and ready on the shelf is a mini-documentary about John McCain and the Keating Five.

The hundreds of millions lost to elderly investors and the senators who helped Lincoln savings.

Alley ball is what we used to call it. And if it's like this until election day, it won't be pretty.