- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 12, 2012

The attacks on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney by the Obama campaign and its supporters are disgraceful — but they seem to be working, Sen. John McCain said Sunday.

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Mr. McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, was sharply critical of the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA and its controversial ad that suggests Mr. Romney’s actions as an executive at Bain Capital contributed to the death of a woman suffering from cancer.

“In 2008, this president and the people around him promised hope and change, a new environment in Washington,” Mr. McCain said of President Obama. “And now, it’s probably deteriorated into the most negative, most unpleasant, most disgraceful campaign that I have ever observed.”

The longtime Arizona senator said Mr. Obama can’t run on his record, so his campaign has no alternative but to try and smear Mr. Romney.

“I’ve got to give them credit: They have succeeded to a certain degree, of painting — with nothing but attack ads — Mitt Romney into something that’s not an acceptable alternative, because [the president] can’t run on his record,” Mr. McCain said.

Republicans have called for Democrats to denounce the ad, but Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, appearing on the same program, said the ad raises fair questions about Mr. Romney’s tenure at Bain.

“What I think of the ad is that there’s no question that the ad raises facts, such as that Mitt Romney, when he was CEO of Bain Capital, bankrupted companies, laid off workers, cut their benefits and made millions of dollars in profits,” the Florida congresswoman said.

Romney campaign adviser Ed Gillespie, appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” said, “The ‘hope and change’ of 2008 has diminished into the ‘fear and smear’ of 2012.”