Tonight’s Debate: Will McCain Use Rev. Wright? Maybe Not.

Apparently John McCain and his advisers are once again split on his tactics at tonight’s final debate of the 2008 election. One of the options is to use Rev. Wright as an attack device.

With Bob Schieffer of CBS News as the moderator it’s almost inevitable that he will bring up the last two week’s of personal attacks on Barack Obama. The only question is whether McCain takes the opportunity to launch a personal attack using Wright, Bill Ayers, both or leaves the subject on the table with a mild answer.

Apparently McCain himself is reluctant to use Rev. Wright as an attack point.

From Mike Allen at Politico,” “There’s a slippery slope in politics on the racial divide, and Sen. McCain made it very clear early on that he did not want to get into that area,” a top Republican official said. “I don’t want to be known as a racist, and McCain doesn’t want to be known as a racist candidate.”

At later point in the same article the same official says, “McCain felt it would be sensed as racially insensitive,” the official said. “But more important is that McCain thinks that the bringing of racial religious preaching in black churches into the campaign would potentially have grave consequences for civil society in the United States.”

After Senator Obama’s famous, and perhaps game-changing speech in Philadelphia on the subject of race, John McCain was asked on the Hannity and Colmes Show about Rev. Wright and responds,

“ Obviously, those words and those statements are statements that none of us would associate ourselves with. And I don’t believe that Sen. Obama would support any of those. … I do know Sen. Obama. He does not share those views.”

Tonight’s debate tactics about Bill Ayers are certainly in doubt but it doesn’t appear John McCain will use the Rev. Wright controversy. It is a highly unpopular choice among right wing conservatives and talk show hosts.

It’s even unpopluar with his running mate according to statements she made with William Kristol last month. “To tell you the truth, Bill, I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more,”

It will be interesting to watch as McCain tries to answer that inevitable question. His body language may tell us more than his words.

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