John McCain simply can’t escape the negative inertia of his disorganized campaign.

Trying desperately to turn around from last week’s ugliness, McCain this weekend countered a woman who said she couldn’t trust Barack Obama because he’s an Arab.

Hoping to disarm the woman’s worry, McCain insisted his opponent’s a decent family man and not an Arab, which represents a slight move forward for McCain, who last week stood by silently as his supporters called for Obama’s head.

McCain’s resistance to anti-Obama rhetoric, however, may be undercut by his ignorance over his own camp’s stance.

Speaking as the Chairman for Virginia’s Republican party last week, Jeffrey M. Frederick attempted to connect Obama to Osama bin Laden. Time‘s Karen Tumulty recalls the 33-year old’s words:

[Frederick] climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points – for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: “Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon,” he said. “That is scary.”

The remarks drew considerable – and understandable – outrage. Even the McCain camp was angry, and spokeswoman Gail Gitcho unequivocally admonished Frederick’s remarks. Well, sort of. Said Gitcho, “While Barack Obama is associated with domestic terrorist William Ayers, the McCain campaign disagrees with the comparison that Jeff Frederick made.” Apparently the campaign simply can’t quit the Ayers angle.

Though Gitcho seemed outraged by the Frederick remark, McCain later told a local news station that he’s not sure what to make of the scandal:

I have to look at the context of his remarks. I have always repudiated any comments that have been made that were inappropriate about Senator Obama. The fact is that William Ayers was a terrorist and bomber and unrepentant. I don’t care about that. But, Sen. Obama ought be the candid and truthful about his relationship with Mr. Ayers.

If McCain wants to show voters he can rise above negative attacks and innuendo, he needs to make a stronger stand than that, especially since his remarks came after his campaign had come out against Frederick. What? Is he not getting his own memos?

Meanwhile, on a related note, the McCain took a hardler line against a man named Bobby May, who previously Chaired McCain’s Buchanan County branch in Virginia. The trouble stems from a column May wrote in a local paper last week in which he mocks a potential Obama administration. The piece, a PDF of which we have included below, is highly offensive.

In addition to saying Obama would have rapper Ludacris paint the White House black and would transform the national anthem into the Black National Anthem, May fabricates some outrageous claims about Obama’s religious policy:

Mandatory Black Liberation Theology courses [will be] taught in all churches – raise taxes to pay for this mandate. Put Rev. Jeremiah Wright in charge. Condemnation of homosexuality from the pulpit will become a Class 1 felony.

He also claims Obama will “coddle sexual perverts” by allowing same-sex marriage and would revoke “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” A new rule would be instated, writes May: “A queer in every fohold and a camouflage sex toy in every backpack.” Openly gay politician Barney Frank would become Secretary of Defense, jokes May.

Well, the McCain camp wasn’t laughing and gave May the boot last week. Gitcho released a statement reading, “[May’s remarks] are offensive, insulting and have no place in political discourse. Mr. May’s comments in no way reflect the views or opinions held by John McCain or his campaign. The McCain campaign wholeheartedly disavows Mr. May’s column.”

While that’s certainly good to know, McCain’s hesitation on the Osama slam makes us wonder whether the candidate will be able to convincingly alter his increasingly disappointing image.

Here’s a PDF of May’s column.

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