Maybe he's a terrorist -- at least he's not a Republican!

How bad have things gotten for John McCain? Bad enough that voters are telling pollsters they think Barack Obama was in a "terrorist group" with Bill Ayers -- but they support him anyway.

By Mike Madden
Published October 15, 2008 10:07PM (EDT)

 The good news, if you're John McCain? All the talk about Bill Ayers seems to be sinking in with at least some voters. The bad news? They don't care.

Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack.

That's a woman in her late 50s, an antiabortion Democrat, who voted for George W. Bush in 2000 in a state in the upper Midwest, speaking in a focus group run by a Republican consultant. The consultant, who e-mailed the Politico's Ben Smith about it afterward, was apparently testing some incredibly nasty attack ad about Obama for an independent group.

This is exactly the demographic group that all the Ayers noise is supposed to be scaring away from Obama; the theory is they'll conclude Obama is just too foreign, or too radical, or both, to be president. Apparently McCain's campaign has succeeded in getting people to think Obama is "palling around with terrorists," as Sarah Palin said. But that still isn't enough to get them to vote for McCain.

As McCain might say, it's time for a little straight talk, my friends: It is a very bad sign for your campaign when people think your opponent was in a terrorist group, but they plan to vote for him anyway.

Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

MORE FROM Mike Madden

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

War Room