Lieberman: McCain draws the line at using Rev. Wright
Character attacks in the presidential race were the subject of debate on Fox News Sunday morning with host Chris Wallace.
Senators Joe Lieberman and Claire McCaskill wrangled over the McCain campaign's shift toward attack ads that criticize Sen. Barack Obama for his alleged ties to radicals.
Wallace asked Lieberman if McCain would bring up Rev. Jeremiah Wright after condemning state Republican parties for running ads criticizing Obama for his relationship with the controversial figure.
Lieberman responded: "He [McCain] didn't like that approach. Senator McCain feels that same way about bringing up Reverend Wright through his campaign. And that's the kind of line drawing that I think John McCain is all about."
Later on Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume said the McCain camp would be "out of their mind" to not bring up Obama's relationship with Rev. Wright.
"What on earth are Joe Lieberman and John McCain talking about when they say that the long association with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright is off the table?" Hume said. "Why is that off the table? It's an important part of Obama's background and record. It's one of the reasons people wonder about who he really is."
McCaskill argued with Lieberman that the McCain campaign has no moral quandaries against unmerited attacks on Obama, citing vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's recent comments tying Obama with his terrorist pals.
"John McCain can pick up the phone today and call Sarah Palin and say 'don't say things like that, there's no place for that in this campaign, the American people don't want that'," McCaskill said.
The Missouri senator further chided McCain's "erratic behavior" on the economy, citing his reversals on a campaign suspension to help pass the Wall Street bailout and nearly foregoing the first presidential debate.
Lieberman said earlier that the McCain campaign is focusing on the future and not character attacks, though he also said that it was "fair game" to link Obama with Tony Rezko and Bill Ayers.
But Wallace corrected Lieberman, bringing up a McCain aide that said the campaign was changing its focus from the economy to Obama's history.
Lieberman responded by referencing a New York Times article about Obama's past associations with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and arguing that neither campaign has avoided low blows to its opponent.
"If the shoe was on the other foot and John McCain had one of his earliest campaign events at the home of somebody who had formed a right-wing group that had bombed buildings,... you bet the Obama campaign would have been raising that question," Lieberman said.
This video is from Fox's Fox News Sunday, broadcast October 5, 2008.
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Correction: Fox News Sunday is hosted by Chris Wallace. This version has been updated.