McCain Should Fire Charlie Black

John McCain has enough problems as it is without having one of his top advisers making it sound like he’s hoping to benefit politically from a terrorist attack,

A top adviser to Sen. John McCain said that a terrorist attack in the United States would be a political benefit to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, a comment that was immediately disputed by the candidate and denounced by his Democratic rival.

Charles R. Black Jr., one of McCain’s most senior political advisers, said in an interview with Fortune magazine that a fresh terrorist attack “certainly would be a big advantage to him.” He also said that the December assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, while “unfortunate,” helped McCain win the Republican primary by focusing attention on national security.

“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,” Black told the magazine in its upcoming issue.

John McCain, to his credit, immediately distanced himself from Black’s comments, but he should have fired him. Scratch that. Actually, he should never have had a former lobbyist like Charlie Black working on his campaign to begin with. It just looks bad for a guy who has made campaign finance reform into the centerpiece of his legislative career to have a guy like Charlie Black on his team.

Does that mean McCain is doing anything unethical? No, but I’ve noticed a weird quirk about McCain: he worries far too little about the appearance of impropriety because he believes that his reputation for being ethical and his pals in the press will protect him. However, now that the press is giving him the typical Republican treatment, he needs to take stronger steps to safeguard his reputation and one of the first rules of politics is that if a staffer becomes a liability to a candidate, that staffer needs to fall on his sword. That’s why McCain should take this opportunity to fire Charlie Black.

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