New York, Oct.13 : Two top advisers to John McCain and Barack Obama got into a verbal sparring match Sunday over which campaign is using the harshest tactics and meanest accusations to scare voters.
Appearing simultaneously on "FOX News Sunday, Obama's chief adviser David Axelrod and McCain campaign manager Rick Davis took their gloves off before accusing each other of landing the lowest blows this election season.
Axelrod hit the McCain team on the increasingly agitated rhetoric coming from voters attending McCain rallies.
"When you stand up and you say someone's been palling around with terrorists, they don't see America the way we see it, you don't really know who he is, and so on, and people start yelling, 'Kill him, bomb him, off with his head,' that is not where we want to take politics in this country," Axelrod said.
"There are parameters, and those parameters have been crossed. Now, we give Senator McCain credit for, at the end of the week, taking on a couple of these comments in his appearances. But the ads are continuing to drive this. And you know, you have to take responsibility," he added.
Davis responded that he did not think the hostile remarks are appropriate either but said it's not McCain who is enabling those remarks.
"The idea that you're going to compare John McCain to the kinds of hate spread in the '60s by somebody like George Wallace is outrageous. Where was John McCain when George Wallace was spreading his hate and segregationist policies at that time? He was in a Vietnam prison camp serving his country with his civil rights also denied," Davis said.
As time grows short before Election Day, Nov. 4, the tone of the 2008 presidential election has turned increasingly negative. Each campaign is running advertisements that blast the opponent.
Davis called the ads "character assassination at the hands of Barack Obama" while Axelrod proclaimed MdCain's ads to be "insidious" and "designed to distort" Obama's relationships.
Axelrod said McCain's campaign continues to distract from the real issues because it is unable to offer any solutions to the economic crisis.
"I think what frustrates Rick is the American people are getting a clear picture of who these two candidates are, and they're making a judgment, and they're moving in Obama's direction because he's a guy who's actually addressing their concerns about the economy, about the future," Axelrod said.
Davis responded that Obama's relationships, including to Ayers, justify legitimate questions.
"The reason everybody is talking about Bill Ayers is your campaign and your candidate keeps changing the story on what the relationship is."
The two also argued over whether Palin abused her power when it came to the firing an Alaskan state trooper.
A bipartisan joint inquiry in Alaska found the Republican vice presidential candidate had indeed abused the powers of her office by pressuring officials to fire her ex-brother-in-law, but acted within her rights as governor to get rid of her public safety commissioner.
Davis called the inquiry part of a "kanagaroo court" that was just trying to politicize an administrative move, while Axelrod said it would be left to voters to decide whether that's the kind of leader they want in Washington.
The men also pulled no punches up over their own careers, with Axelrod asking Davis if his job as a lobbyist meant he made a million dollars selling access to McCain, and Davis accusing Axelrod of wanting to run Washington in the same way as Chicago's politics are conducted.