When politicians interject race into a campaign, they seldom do it directly. Consider McCain's new ad, which the campaign says it will be airing nationally.
This is hardly subtle: Sinister images of two black men, followed by one of a vulnerable-looking elderly white woman.
Let me stipulate: Obama's Fannie Mae connections are completely fair game. But this ad doesn't even mention a far more significant tie--that of Jim Johnson, the former Fannie Mae chairman who had to resign as head of Obama's vice presidential search team after it was revealed he got a sweetheart deal on a mortgage from Countrywide Financial. Instead, it relies on a fleeting and tenuous reference in a Washington Post Style section story to suggest that Obama's principal economic adviser is former Fannie Mae Chairman Frank Raines. Why? One reason might be that Johnson is white; Raines is black.
And the image of the victim doesn't seem accidental either, given the fact that older white women are a key swing constituency
in this election.
After the McCain campaign introduced the ad, the Obama campaign responded with this statement:
Statement from Frank Raines on the ad: "I am not an advisor to Barack Obama, nor have I provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters."
"This is another flat-out lie from a dishonorable campaign that is increasingly incapable of telling the truth. Frank Raines has never advised Senator Obama about anything -- ever. And by the way, someone whose campaign manager and top advisor worked and lobbied for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shouldn't be throwing stones from his seven glass houses," said Obama-Biden campaign spokesman Bill Burton.