Opponents, reporters pull on McCain's weakest link(s)

Inevitably, reporters and Democratic opposition researchers are delving into the backgrounds of McCain's advisers, most recently examining the easily accessible lobbying records of chief McCain adviser Charlie Black.

Inevitably, reporters and Democratic opposition researchers are delving into the backgrounds of McCain's advisers, most recently examining the easily accessible lobbying records of chief McCain adviser Charlie Black.

BKSH & Associates' cofounder left the firm recently to work full time for McCain, but that won't erase all the past work Black and his firm did over the past decades for such foreign government ne'er-do-wells as Angola rebel group UNITA, Equatorial Guinea, and Zaire, whose leopard-hat-wearing former President Mobutu Sese Seko was the quintessential African despot.

It's all there in black and white for the public to see in the Department of Justice's Foreign Agent Registration Act filings, available online since the beginning of the year, which MoveOn.org diligently tracked. McCain's general stance against lobbying simply invites criticism of the background of his staffers and, indeed, justifying representation in Washington of vicious dictators who torture people, suppress free speech, etc., ain't easy.

So now McCain is in rather a bind, just as Hillary Clinton was with former chief strategist Mark Penn. Readers will recall that Burson CEO Penn had to step down from his formal role on the campaign after his work for Colombia on the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which Clinton does not support, was called into question.

The hits against Black follow recent departures from the McCain campaign of other advisers with compromising pasts. Of note for his idealistic stance, though, is McCain media strategist Mark McKinnon, who said this week that he will stepping down from his role in the team, because he doesn't want to campaign against the US' first black candidate.

Also on the Trail:

McCain comms team employs clever strategy in release of medical records.

DCI Group CEO offers excuse despite quitting GOP convention role because of Burma connection.

Obama and McCain reportedly considering VPs. Clinton team denies courting Obama VP slot.

New Obama spokeswoman says she “won't spin.” Also, monkeys can now fly.

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