False accusations that circulated in South Carolina against John McCain -- claiming that his wife was a drug addict and that he fathered an illegitimate child -- helped destroy the Arizona senator's bid for the Republican nomination in 2000. This time, he has established a "truth squad" of supporters in the state to parry attacks. What do you think of the McCain campaign creating a truth squad?
Defensive action: In 2000, "certainly he was subject to some attacks. It makes sense to take defensive action. If there's anybody in America who knows about the consequences of getting shot down, it's John McCain. . . .
"With a limited amount of time left in the campaign, you can't take your time batting down a bad story. You have to react very quickly, or the story could do you a lot of damage. . . .
"Truth squads are an old practice in American politics."
-- John J. Pitney Jr.,
professor of government at Claremont McKenna College
Personal politics: "On the one hand [setting up a truth squad] reminds voters of how he was unfairly maligned in the past, so it can elicit some sympathy. On the other hand, it's very proactive and it sort of makes sure the media is primed and ready to jump in on any of these ads. . . .