McCain: Watch Your Friends

His backers need to back off the extremism. Meanwhile, Hillary should rein in her advisers' rhetoric.

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In a long and grinding presidential race like this one, supporters of the candidates often cause more trouble than rivals. "God save me from my friends, because I can handle my enemies" is the refrain.

John McCain has already had to disown an anti-Catholic rant from a backer. With so many Catholic voters up for grabs, the presumptive GOP nominee can't fool around with those kinds of bigoted screeds.

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa said al Qaeda and Islamic extremists will be dancing in the streets of Baghdad if Barack Obama is elected. It is part of the nasty whispering campaign that Obama is a secret Muslim.

McCain needs to tell King to start dancing in the streets of Sioux City and shut his mouth. He doesn't need that kind of help from a fellow Republican.

Hillary Clinton's spokesman, Howard Wolfson, said Obama's campaign was engaged in "Ken Starr tactics" by calling for Clinton to release her tax returns. Huh?

The tax return issue is a genuine one. It only underscores Wolfson's reputation for blasting anyone who dares say anything or write anything he doesn't like. Clinton should muzzle him before he goes any further.

Of course, Obama's foreign policy adviser did him no favors by calling Clinton a "monster" in an off-the-record comment to a Scottish reporter. Nothing is off the record in this battle! She should have known better.

Also, McCain's reputed bad temper has already hit the testy stage just a short time after he secured the nomination. He was sharp with a reporter who asked about McCain being offered the vice presidency by liberal Democratic Sen. John Kerry in 2004. McCain wants no reminders of that event lest conservatives mistrust him anew.

It is only March, folks. It is a long way until the November election, and you haven't seen anything yet.