If McCain Doesn’t Attack . . .

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- The setting tonight makes attacks, shall we say, uncomfortable. It will be Barack Obama and John McCain seated at a table, in close quarters, moderator Bob Schieffer across from them.

The thinking here, in Republican and Democratic circles, is that McCain is coming prepared with something dramatic. Maybe a policy proposal, like he brought out at the last debate, maybe an announcement of a Cabinet official -- or maybe, just perhaps, a real attack.

Keep in mind that if McCain doesn’t come out swinging tonight, he will disappoint many of his supporters -- up to and including his running mate.

If McCain doesn’t come out swinging -- raising, at the very least Bill Ayers -- he will have to be prepared for an evisceration in right-wink talk radio and blogs.

Maybe he’s thinking about legacies that are broader than that -- but as he thinks strategically about tonight and beyond, this has to be a consideration.

What do you expect out of McCain tonight?

-- Rick Klein

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