At just the moment that the McCain camp is ramping up the attacks on Barack Obama as a Chicago-pol with nefarious friends and excoriating the media for a double standard, up steps Joe Biden to the plate. Biden was asked by Katie Couric about the now-infamous ad attacking John McCain’s computer skills. The conversation went as follows:
Biden: “I thought that was terrible, by the way.”
Couric: “Why’d you do it then?”
Biden: “I didn’t know we did it, and if I’d had anything to do with it, we would have never done it. I don’t think Barack … you know, I just think that was …”
Couric: “Did Barack Obama approve that ad? He said he did, right?”
Biden: “I don’t think anything was intentional about that. They were trying to make another point.”
Not surprising the McCain team pounced, releasing this statement:
“While the New York Times and other media outlets were silent in the face of Barack Obama’s shameless and dishonorable attack on John McCain, even Obama’s own running mate has now condemned the ad as ‘terrible,’ admitting he never would have approved it. Barack Obama has brought the sleazy gutter politics of Chicago to our national stage, exposing his call for a ‘new politics’ as a lie and embarrassing even his own running-mate with the low road campaign he’s running.”
Does any of this matter? At some level it could. If Obama comes to be viewed as one more mean-spirited politician –whose tactics even his VP doesn’t tolerate — that’s a potential problem for the Agent of Change. And that in turn may depress enthusiasm among his idealistic, young supporters.
That said, the McCain team in this case can hardly complain that the MSM weren’t doing their job. Couric illicited the answer and others reported upon it. And maybe that was the point of the Steve Schmidt rant on Monday — at least get these issues raised before the voters. Between Katie Couric and Joe Biden that happened in a big way.
UPDATE: The Obama camp tries to walk it back – not even trusting Biden to say it himself. Good luck with that.