By Daniel Politi
The WP‘s Robert Novak says Sen. John McCain “is not about to disarm” in his campaign against Sen. Barack Obama and notes that for the next few months, “Republicans will explore the mind-set of this young man who is a stranger to most Americans.” Not surprisingly, that means Americans can expect to hear more about Obama’s association with William Ayers, a former leader of the Weather Underground. In a sign of what’s to come, the McCain campaign is preparing to bring in Tim Griffin, “a protégé of Karl Rove,” to do opposition research. If Griffin’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was a key part of the U.S. attorneys controversy and has been tied to vote-caging schemes.
In the NYT‘s op-ed page, Nathan Thrall and Jesse Wilkins offer an interesting history lesson about President John F. Kennedy’s meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in 1961. Many urged Kennedy to hold off on the meeting, but the president ignored them and “was pummeled by the Soviet leader” for two days because he “was no match as a sparring partner.” Khrushchev said Kennedy was “too intelligent and too weak” and then proceeded to begin erecting the Berlin Wall and making plans for nuclear missiles in Cuba. Kennedy’s famous quote, “let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate,” has figured prominently in the presidential campaign and has often been invoked by Sen. Barack Obama. But Obama “should heed the lesson that Kennedy learned in his first year in office: sometimes there is good reason to fear to negotiate.”