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"here's A Little Straight Talk, My Friends"

Or maybe not. From an interview John McCain did with NPR's Renee Montagne that aired this a.m.:

Montagne: So, to move on to domestic questions, Steve Schmidt, who is running your campaign, has said something kind of simple and understandable. He said that a campaign needs one positive message about its candidate and then one good, strong negative message about the opponent. Your camp —

McCain: I never heard that statement, and I'd have to know who attributed it to him before I would agree with that. We're not sending any negative message in our campaign. We're drawing differences in positions between myself and Sen. Obama, which are significant. He wants to raise taxes; I want to keep them low. He doesn't want to drill offshore or have nuclear power; I want both. I've never heard Steve Schmidt say we need a negative message in the campaign.

Montagne: I'm quoting The Wall Street Journal here.

McCain: I've run many, many campaigns, and I have never believed that we need a strong negative message. And I've been in –-

Montagne: However, do you not consider it a negative message, though, when a campaign ad goes on TV that blames your opponent, Barack Obama, for high gas prices or –-

McCain: I believe strongly that if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And he voted for the energy bill that had all kind of tax breaks and giveaways for the oil companies. I believe if you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. And it's a big problem in America today.

Montagne: And are you comfortable with ads where your opponent is being compared to Paris Hilton?

McCain: I'm very comfortable with my campaign. And I strongly recommend that people who don't find humor in that relax, turn off the computer and go on it and get some fresh air and try to regain some —

Montagne: Well, Paris Hilton found some humor in it.

McCain: Yeah, sure.

There's a lot of concern among some McCain associates that, in the process of trying to destroy Obama, McCain is destroying his "brand," which, as they see it, is honesty and candor. I think interviews like this one will only add to that concern.

--Jason Zengerle