"What has been most striking about the last 48 hours on the campaign trail is the increasingly hostile atmosphere at Mr. McCain's rallies, where voters furiously booed any mention of Mr. Obama and lashed out at the Democrats, Wall Street and the news media," Elisabeth Bumiller and Patrick Healy write in The New York Times.
"I'm really mad!" shouted one audience member at the McCain-Palin rally Waukesha, Wis. "And what's going to surprise you, it's not the economy. It's the socialists taking over our country."
"There were shouts of 'Nobama' and 'Socialist' at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin," Michael D. Shear and Perry Bacon Jr. write in The Washington Post.
This from Wisconsin radio host James T. Harris, a warm-up speaker at a McCain campaign event: "I am begging you, sir. I am begging you. Take it to him."
(With the anxious, angry base -- anyone else having Kerry '04 flashbacks?)
The party's frustrations, now playing daily (try to count the smears): "The unmistakable momentum behind Barack Obama's campaign, combined with worry that John McCain is not doing enough to stop it, is ratcheting up fears and frustrations among conservatives," Politico's Jonathan Martin writes. "And nowhere is this emotion on plainer display than at Republican rallies, where voters this week have shouted out insults at the mention of Obama, pleaded with McCain to get more aggressive with the Democrat and generally demonstrated the sort of visceral anger and unease that reflects a party on the precipice of panic."
"At a normal campaign rally, it's the candidate who tries to whip the crowd into a frenzy. At John McCain's town-hall Waukesha, Wis., Thursday, it was the other way around," Slate's John Dickerson writes.
Mightn't this all have worked better a few month ago? "McCain has only himself to blame for the bad timing," columnist Charles Krauthammer writes. "He should months ago have begun challenging Obama's associations, before the economic meltdown allowed the Obama campaign (and the mainstream media, which is to say the same thing) to dismiss the charges as an act of desperation by the trailing candidate."
(What does this say about the political future? "Some in the very partisan crowd even booed McCain at one point after he said, 'I believe that climate change is real; I believe that greenhouse gasses are a threat to our planet.' The crowd cheered when Palin said 'Drill, baby, drill' for oil," Abdon M. Pallasch reports in the Chicago Sun-Times.)
Obama's latest on Ayers: "I was eight years old at the time [of the bombings] and I assumed that he had been rehabilitated," he tells a Philadelphia radio host, per Politico's Ben Smith.
McCain errs on Ayers (on purpose?): "I don't care about Mr. Ayers who, on Sept. 11, 2001, said he wished he'd have bombed more," McCain told Charlie Gibson. Per ABC's Ron Claiborne: "The only problem with this account is that Ayers did not say that on Sept. 11. He said it some days earlier. It happened to appear in the New York Times on Sept. 11."