Washington, Oct.11 : Sleazy viral e-mails appearing on Internet sites and blogs suggest that underhand campaign is on to derail John McCains bid for the White House.
McCain is being described as an egotistical, sexist man who oppresses people taking vacations with him by reading aloud from William Faulkner novels.
The e-mail appears to be the first of its kind attacking McCain, and experts say it could have a subtle effect on voters' opinion of the candidate.
Barack Obama has faced similar, if uglier, e-mail smears almost since the day he announced his candidacy for president. One viral e-mail circulating earlier this year, titled "Who is Barack Obama?," accused Obama of being a secret, radical Muslim who refuses to say the pledge of allegiance and was sworn into Congress with his hand on the Koran.
Despite being widely debunked, the message had a proven influence on some voters, who forwarded the smear, and could be heard repeating its allegations with certitude.
The e-mails work because of the natural tendency for people to believe information provided by someone they trust, regardless of the original source, says Bill Adair, the St. Petersburg Times' Washington bureau chief and editor of the fact-checking Politifact.
Adair notes that almost 70 percent of the 39 claims that Politifact's checked in presidential campaign-related chain e-mails are outright false, some to the point of ridiculousness.
But he says that he hasn't yet been able to verify or prove false the McCain chain e-mail.
According to the Wired blog network, the message contains ugly characterizations of McCain's behavior that are clearly meant to undermine voters' trust in the Republican presidential candidate's integrity.
Ironically, the anti-McCain e-mail is resurfacing just as McCain has started riding saddle on the back of the leading anti-Obama meme, "Who is Barack Obama?"
The Obama campaign is fighting back by asking supporters to take the time to set their peers straight.
McCain's online communications manager Patrick Hynes said that the campaign had no comment or response to the "My Holiday With John McCain" e-mail.