Ambinder says the McCain comeback plan hinges in large part on attacking Obama's "associations" with the likes of Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko. (The McCain team is clarly also flirting with the Jeremiah Wright card, which I assume either they or a 527 group will play, before this is over), it's worth thinking back to the primaries.) Rough stuff, to be sure. But I don't see any of these as killer blows. Rezko in particular feels like a weak attack; are voters really going to believe that Barack Obama is tained by corruption? It just doesn't square with his image at all.

But here's my question: Is this really all he's got? If so, that's not so bad, considering that Obama had never faced a truly competitive election before the primaries. Many months ago, remember, one of Hillary Clinton's main pitches to Democratic voters and delegates was that a national campaign might reveal all kinds of shocking things about Obama that would render him unelectable. Indeed I recall attending a Hillary Clinton press conference in Iowa in which she declared, "I’ve been tested, I’ve been vetted. There are no surprises."

So where are the Obama surprises? There don't seem to be any. McCain's sharpest attacks are all rehashings of old stories that Democrats, at least, have known about since the spring.

--Michael Crowley