Earlier this year, after former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was tragically assassinated, pundits speculated that the shocking attack may have benefited Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) politically. Now, McCain’s chief strategist, Charlie Black, tells Fortune that the “unfortunate event” of Bhutto’s death “helped us.” Asked if another terrorist attack on U.S. soil would help McCain as well, Black told Fortune that it would be “a big advantage to him“:
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an “unfortunate event,” says Black. “But 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.” As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him,” says Black.
Kevin Drum also points out that when asked about the “gravest long-term threat to the U.S. economy,” McCain replied, “Islamic extremism.”