From the Wall Street Journal:
McCain Asks Supporters to Show Obama Respect
LAKEVILLE, Minn. -- Sen. John McCain spoke out against the growing nastiness his Republican crowds have been demonstrating toward Barack Obama, asking that his presidential rival be treated with respect.
At a town hall meeting Friday afternoon, he took four different opportunities to promise that he will treat the Democratic nominee with respect and to ask the same of his supporters.
Still, his campaign is hardly backing down. On Friday, it released a TV ad linking Sen. Obama to a 1960s radical.
At the town hall meeting, one audience member said that he and his wife are expecting a child next year. "Frankly, we're scared. We're scared of an Obama presidency," the questioner said.
Sen. McCain replied that of course he hopes that Sen. Obama isn't elected but added: "I have to tell you he is a decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared (of) as president of the United States." The crowd replied with a chorus of boos.
And when another questioner said he couldn't trust him because "he's an Arab," Sen. McCain took the microphone from her and said, "No, ma'am: no ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not."
There are persistent, false rumors that Sen. Obama is Muslim. Sen. McCain said that "99 and 44/100ths" of people at his events have been respectful. He did not need to explain that others have not.
At a rally on Wednesday with Sen. McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, someone yelled "off with his head." Later that day, a man at a rally held a sign that read "Obama, Osama." Speakers at events have increasingly been using Sen. Obama's middle name, Hussein. At a Monday event, someone shouted "terrorist!" when Sen. McCain asked rhetorically, "Who is Barack Obama?"
Sen. McCain said he would continue to press the differences between the two of them. And his comments came on the same day that his campaign released a new TV ad linking him William Ayers, a former member of the 1960s era radical group, the Weather Underground. Sen. Obama has acknowledged that he knows Mr. Ayers but has denounced his past activities. McCain surrogates have also begun talking about Sen. Obama's acknowledged drug use in his youth.
Also Friday, Gov. Palin said in Cleveland that more than one person has told her that Sen. McCain needs "to take the gloves off."
At the town hall meeting, Sen. McCain repeatedly tried to tamp down those in the crowd who urged him to do just that. "We want to fight and I will fight," McCain told one of several questioners who demanded that he go after Sen. Obama harder. "But we will be respectful. I admire Sen. Obama and his accomplishments. I will respect him."
On Saturday morning, Sen. Obama acknowledged Sen. McCain's actions, saying "I appreciated his reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other."