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Here's an interesting tidbit from the National Journal.

Mark McKinnon, McCain's chief media strategist won't run negative ads against Obama if he is the Democratic nominee. In an interview with Linda Douglass, McKinnon had some interesting responses.

Why? What's fascinating is that his attitudes toward Obama are unusual response from a Republican strategist--particularly one so high up in the campaign.

Q: So you've said that you will leave the McCain campaign if Obama is the nominee. Does that still hold and why?

A: 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.

When Douglass continues to push and pursues a different line of questioning, he clarifies further:

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?

A: 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.

OK, so he'll step to the sidelines. Why? He admires Obama. This is significant when you consider that when the same question posed about his involvement in the campaign involves Hillary, it elicits quite a different response. In short, he'd relish going up against her. He actually says she represents the old politics (a "Clintonian legacy") of the past. Why his boss doesn't conjure up this same image is odd.

We've all known for some time that the Republicans want desperately to run against Hillary. But isn't it refreshing to know that some Republicans actually refuse to run smear tactics against Obama?

Originally posted to btyarbro on Fri Mar 28, 2008 at 10:58 AM PDT.

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