After critics questioned the appropriateness of John McCain's chief strategist, Charlie Black, saying a terrorist attack on American soil would benefit his candidate, yesterday Black took that notion one step farther.
Appearing on Today, Black told co-host Matt Lauer, "With Wednesday's Quinnipiac University poll showing Senator Obama leading in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, we've redoubled our efforts regarding terror attacks here at home, from mere wishful thinking to targeted planning."
Lauer asked, "Just to be clear, you're not suggesting you're involved in orchestrating attacks on these states?"
"No, I'm not suggesting that, Matt. I'm telling you flat-out, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida can expect to be hit by the McCain campaign sometime between now and Election Day. We are taking this fight to Barack Obama and the American people. If Senator Obama is really tough on terror, then let's see if he can match our upcoming scheduled spectaculars. Personally, I don't think the anti-war senator from Illinois has it in him."
"Clearly some controversial straight talk from Charlie Black," replied Lauer. "Charlie, thanks for stopping by. I look forward to the barbecue this weekend."
But speaking to Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room, CNN senior political reporter Candi Crowley questioned whether Black's latest statement was controversial at all.
"You know, Wolf, while some might chafe at the unvarnished quality of what Charlie Black said, it is true to the McCain campaign's straight talk on tough issues. I mean it's fair to say the Obama camp would never openly admit to planning terrorist attacks on those key swing states. And--"
"But Candi," interrupted Blitzer, "should a presidential candidate's campaign carry out such attacks on American citizens? Wouldn't these attacks be against the law?"
"Well, Wolf, I think that's up to the American people to decide if this is the right thing for the McCain camp to do. But I think many will admire the candor of Charlie Black here. And by disclosing their plans for attack now, Black and the McCain team will in the long run save untold lives in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. People who otherwise would spend the day voting for their next president will remain home and safe from attack."
"Candi Crowley, part of the best political team on television, that is a good point."
"As to whether or not such terrorist attacks, in this context, are against the law, Wolf, we're really in uncharted territory here. We saw the first major divergence from presidential campaign rules when Barack Obama recently opted out of public financing, which many considered a major flip-flop. John McCain's team is now throwing an elbow of its own with these scheduled spectaculars in key battleground states. But Charlie Black shrewdly showed how they intend to be tough while keeping the shine on their straight-shooting brand." Crowley added, "Against the law? I'll leave that to legal scholars. But it's certainly good politics."
Asked to comment on Black's latest statement, John McCain told reporters in Muncie, Indiana, "Look, I'm not going to get all caught up in this daily game of gotcha. Are the gloves off? Sure they're off. We have a campaign to win. But I can't discuss specific strategies, such as the exact locations of our targets in Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. The only thing I can tell you is that it will not be another Vietnam - we will hit these battleground states will everything we have. Defeat is not an option."
In his column in the Washington Post today, George Will defended Charlie Black and his plan to capture those crucial states.
"Black and McCain are 'old school' in the best sense of such plebeian argot. As I've noted before, the first task of an occupation remains the first task of government: to establish a monopoly on violence. A tactical campaign of terror in these key swing states is an astute election season extension of this strategy. As Sun Tzu instructed, 'All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.' Barack Obama's campaign can scoff all it wants at Black and McCain's adoption of al Qaeda tactics. In the end, however, Obama's elitist adherence to the rule of law may well spell his downfall. As the late great George Carlin said, "We like war." Whether on our own soil or in a distant land, explosions, gunfire and random acts of violence bind us as Americans. To deny this is to reject the American people outright, to lodge metaphorical shrapnel deep into the heart of our frontier soul."
Rumors that Osama bin Laden's lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, will officially join McCain's campaign just after the Republican National Convention have yet to be confirmed, but al-Zawahiri is scheduled to appear on ABC's The View next Wednesday.
"Will he join McCain's team?" co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked rhetorically today in announcing al-Zawahiri's upcoming guest spot. "How does he always look so well groomed? Is Casey Affleck a better actor than his older brother Ben? Iron Man or Hulk? Boxers or briefs? 'Iny' or 'outy'? This cat has a lot to tell us about, including his new book The Cave Diet: How to Lose Forty Pounds and Keep It Off While Evading American Authorities. You don't want to miss this."
[Ed. Note: This Wounded-Courier is dedicated to the memory of George Carlin.]