John McCain's lurch into negative campaigning is beginning to echo loaded racial issues of the past, according to the New York Times editorial board. The "celebrity" attack ad against Barack Obama featuring Britney Spears and Paris Hilton recalls a Republican ad—from workers now on the McCain team—that juxtaposed a black Senate candidate with young white women.
The McCain response to being called on the ploy was to accuse Obama of "playing the race card from the bottom of the deck"—which is not just a "contemptible" example of blaming the victim, the Times writes, but an apparently deliberate use of the same phrasing as O.J. Simpson's lawyers. "It’s ugly stuff," the Times concludes. "How about we leave Britney, Paris, and O.J. out of this and have a presidential campaign?"