McCain said something tremendously revealing that no one seems to have picked up on:
MCCAIN: First of all, this is a tough business. Second of all, I think the tone of this whole campaign would have been very different if Senator Obama had accepted my request for us to appear in town hall meetings all over America, the same way Jack Kennedy and Barry Goldwater had agreed to do so. I know that, because I’ve been in enough campaigns....
WOODRUFF: Do you think it’s naive of people to expect that politics could be a little less rough and tumble and even nasty?
MCCAIN: The people make the final judgment with their votes. They make the final judgment about campaigns and how we present ourselves to the American people. And I think that that will be the ultimate test of what kind of campaigns do we run.
Do you get the significance of this statement? John McCain has said--on national television--that a) because Barack Obama did not agree to conduct his campaign for the presidency via the format that favors John McCain (town hall meetings), Obama bears responsibility for the "tone" of the campaign, and b) Senator McCain is not concerned with the tone of the campaign and that if anybody wants to register their disapproval they can do so at the ballot box.
This, to me, is a dare on the same level as Gary Hart's invitation to follow him around and see if he cheats. John McCain is saying that he plans to run his campaign however the hell he sees fit and its up to the voters--not his widely touted "integrity" or "honor"--to put the brakes on outright lying and character assassination. John McCain says it's up to the voters to tell him if lying about your opponent is acceptable (sex ed for kindergarteners! He'll raise your taxes!), if distorting widely-known fact (Sarah Palin opposed earmarks including the Bridge To Nowhere! Sarah Palin sold her jet on Ebay for a profit--except she sold it to a Republican donor at a loss) to your own benefit. He says it's up to us to tell him if lying and losing your integrity to win at all costs works.
I pray that we are a better nation--whatever our policy positions may be as individuals--than to let American history show that we, the people, said in November 2008 that lying and sleaze were just fine with us.