By Anne Landman on June 24, 2008

Charles R. Black, Jr., a former lobbyist who is now a top adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, commented in an interview with Fortune magazine that another terrorist attack inside the U.S. would "be a big advantage" to McCain in the November presidential election. Black's comments brought the politics of fear and terrorism back into the 2008 presidential campaign, mirroring the 2004 campaign between Senator John Kerry and George W. Bush. McCain disagreed with Black's comments, saying he has long worked to prevent terrorist attacks in the U.S. and could not imagine why Black had said such a thing. Democratic candidate Barack Obama's campaign called Black's comments "a complete disgrace." Black later backpedaled, telling reporters, "I deeply regret the comments. They were inappropriate." Richard Ben-Veniste, a close campaign adviser and representative for Obama, called Black's comments a "very disappointing glimpse into the thinking of one of McCain's closest advisers."