Wednesday, June 25, 2008 - Page updated at 02:06 PM
In a campaign lasting as long as the 2008 presidential contest, gaffes will be made. Foolish things will be said. None of that excuses inappropriate comments from a senior aide to Sen. John McCain that a terrorist attack would benefit the Republican nominee.
McCain has said repeatedly he is more qualified than Sen. Barack Obama to serve as commander in chief, especially in combating terrorism. But Charlie Black, one of McCain's most trusted political advisers, took the point too far, telling Fortune Magazine a new terrorist attack "would be a big advantage" to McCain.
Some statements should be off-limits. Using and abusing public fears of a fresh attack is a prime example. Using fear to sway voters is too low.
McCain quickly denounced Black's comments and distanced himself from his aide: "I cannot imagine why he would say it. It's not true. I've worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack in the United States of America."
Black later told reporters he deeply regrets his comments and agreed they were a mistake.