The strategist has expressed regret over his remarks that another terrorist attack on US soil would be "a big advantage" to John McCain's chances in November. McCain has repudiated the statement.
But Democrats are not letting it go today.
Black, a top McCain adviser, told Fortune magazine that the political advantage of terrorism was pointed out by the assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto last December, just before McCain won the New Hampshire primary to save his campaign.
Black called Bhutto's death an "unfortunate event," but added, "His knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be commander-in-chief. And it helped us."
The Democratic National Committee distributed a video incorporating a CNN report showing that McCain had said something similar himself after the assassination, asserting, "I’m the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment. So perhaps my service could enhance those credentials."
“John McCain and Charlie Black may have apologized for Black’s awful comments about a terrorist attack and Prime Minister Bhutto's tragic death, but it is deeply disturbing to think that Senator McCain and his top advisors have contemplated using the same Karl Rove style tactics of exploiting fear to win an election," DNC communications director Karen Finney said in a statement. "No wonder the American people think John McCain is out of touch. Democrats agree that a substantive debate on the future of the war on terrorism is an important part of this election, and given Senator McCain’s dismal record on the issue we welcome that debate. Inciting fear as a campaign tactic is not only inconsistent with John McCain’s promise to run a different kind of campaign, it doesn’t make our country any safer.”
Earlier today, Barack Obama's campaign organized a conference call with a member of the blue-ribbon, bipartisan panel that investigated the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Richard Ben-Veniste told reporters that Black's statement was a "very disappointing glimpse into the thinking of one of McCain's closest advisers.”
While Ben-Veniste did not suggest that Black resign or be forced out, he added, “I think the remarks were so out of place that they call for some recalibration in the thinking and perhaps a greater adherence to principle here in staying away from the politics of fear.”
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.