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By Wolf Blitzer, CNN
Washington (CNN) – It didn’t take very long for Mitt Romney and his campaign to run away from a strategic political proposal to use the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in new ads to trash President Barack Obama.
I was not surprised.
Four years ago, John McCain similarly refused to use that kind of sleazy trash in his campaign against then-Democratic candidate Obama.
You can agree or disagree with Romney and McCain on the major issues of the day, but I can assure you - as someone who has known both of them for years - they are gentlemen.
Romney, like McCain the last time around, is certainly prepared to fight the president on his economic or national security record. The Republican candidate is certainly ready to challenge the president on sensitive social issues, such as gay marriage and abortion rights for women. That is all appropriate.
But Romney is not going to align himself with the issue of Wright or the president’s birthplace. He will run away from those issues as fast as he can.
That’s the right thing to do, and it has the added advantage of being smart politics.
Romney’s own political strategists sense such a nasty strategy would be counterproductive. They say it would likely alienate those undecided moderate and independent voters in the 10 or 12 swing states that will choose the next president.
Many of them may strongly disagree with the president on his economic record, but the polls show those same independents still like the president. He is, the polls show, “likable.”
In this new and uncharted world of super PACs and unlimited sums going into negative attack ads, I suspect there will be an element of gutter politics coming from the far right and the far left as well. They will attempt to smear the two presidential candidates. It will get ugly.
But I’m also confident that Obama and Romney will aggressively disassociate themselves from those smears and focus instead of the most important issues of the day.
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