Earlier, I expressed a bit of skepticism regarding Politico's scoop that the McCain campaign was planning to drop its guilt-by-association strategy of tying Barack Obama to William Ayers. Apparently the skepticism was well-founded.

The Politico story may be technically accurate, though, as it quotes McCain aides suggesting the candidate would avoid such attacks, not the campaign.

So that, evidently, is the plan: Keep John McCain's own fingers clean, while his aides and surrogates (paging Governor Palin!) shovel muck with both hands. One way to describe this kind of faux deniability would be as rank cynicism. Another would be as sheer cowardice.

--Christopher Orr