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McCain campaign accuses Obama of playing race card.

The latest explosive injection of race into the presidential race came Thursday, when McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis said “Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.”

Presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.)–who campaigned in Racine, Wisc. on Thursday was asked by CNN’s John King if Davis was making a fair criticism about Obama playing the race card. “It is,” said McCain. “I’m sorry to say that it is. it’s legitimate.”

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe in a conference call with Susan Eisenhower said McCain will find this strategy counter productive.

“In fact, today — he, himself, today in Wisconsin, kind of went into “a ravine in Racine” when he said he was proud of this ad. Said it was an ad about substance. And we can most assuredly tell you that voters around the country do not think there’s anything substantive about this latest ad; do not think it’s something that John McCain should be proud of. And, ultimately, I think it’s something that’s going to harm their campaign in the long-run.

What got this going: Obama, campaigning in Union, Missouri said:

“John McCain and the Republicans, they don’t have any new ideas, that’s why they’re spending all their time talking about me. I mean, you haven’t heard a positive thing out of that campaign in a month. All they do is try to run me down, and you know, you know this in your own life, right? If somebody doesn’t have anything nice to say about anybody, that means they’ve got some problems of their own.

So they know they’ve got no new ideas, they know they’re dredging up all the stale, old stuff they’ve been peddling for the last eight, ten years. But since they don’t have any new ideas the only strategy they’ve got in this election is to try to scare you about me.

They’re going to try to say that I’m a risky guy, they’re going to try to say, ‘Well, you know, he’s got a funny name, and he doesn’t look like all the presidents on the dollar bills and the five dollar bills,’ and they’re going to send out nasty e -mails. And the latest one they got me in an ad with Paris Hilton. You know, never met the woman. But, you know, what they’re going to try to argue is that somehow I’m too risky. You know, basically what they’re saying to you is we know we didn’t do a real good job, but he’s too risky.”