Today's headline in the Washington Post-
McCain Joins Bush to Rein In Groups
Senator Backs Action Against Organizations Buying Attack Ads
By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 27, 2004; Page A01
President Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) joined forces yesterday to seek legal action to reduce the influence of "527" political organizations, but the two remained in disagreement over whether Bush should condemn a television ad by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacking John F. Kerry's Vietnam service.
Bush called McCain en route to a campaign event in New Mexico to say his campaign would go to federal court to force the Federal Election Commission to prevent the independent groups -- named for the section of the tax code that governs their activities -- from raising and spending money in unlimited amounts.
McCain said he secured Bush's commitment to support legislation to regulate the groups. The organizations have used a loophole in the new campaign finance law -- of which McCain was one of the two principal architects -- to become significant and controversial actors in the campaign on behalf of both the president and the senator from Massachusetts.
Separately, Kerry agreed to take off the air a commercial using footage from a debate during the 2000 GOP primaries in which McCain directly criticized Bush for allowing supporters of his to question McCain's commitment to veterans. McCain had asked Kerry to stop running the ad.
In an interview with Washington Post editors and reporters, McCain said that he is grateful for Kerry's action and that he still hopes Bush will condemn the Swift boat veterans' ad attacking Kerry's service. McCain added that he plans to raise the issue when he campaigns with Bush next week.
But McCain, who has tried to put behind him bitterness over his defeat at Bush's hands in 2000 while becoming one of the president's most significant allies this year, also said he saw Bush's willingness to go to court to rein in the groups as more significant than not singling out the ad for criticism.
"I would like for him to specifically condemn that ad," McCain said. "But the most important thing to me is his commitment to bring them all under control, and that way we can do that. I can't dictate the president's response. I can only dictate my view, and my view is the ads are wrong and they should be taken down."
"How Many Assholes we got on this ship?" - Lord Helmet