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I'll see your Ayers, raise you Keating

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
camp wants to call attention to the Keating documentary it made, which seems largely a response to McCain on Ayers. 

"They said they were going to turn the page on the economy and play the guilt by association politics," an Obama aide said. "McCain's role in this scandal points to his past handling of economic scandals."

The aide noted the closeness of McCain and Keating -- that he gave Mccain $106,000 for his campaigns and that they'd vacationed together in the Bahamas.

"They had a close personal relationship," the aide said. "This is an association that is actually relevant to the past economic crisis and how he'd handle one in the future. This is one that has been glossed over." 

Video: Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs talks about Obama's new attack ad on McCain and the Keating scandal that the Arizona senator was involved in back in the late '80s.

Keating was instrumental in McCain's rise as a politician. The Arizona senator was cleared of accused wrongdoing in the Keating 5 scandal -- though he was rebuked by the ethics committee for poor judgment.

Obama camp is going to try to keep the message focused on the economy going forward. 

Aides are also wondering how McCain will try and pivot to attack Obama in a town-hall format, and how that will be perceived by voters.

"They previewed the strategy," an aide said. "Will he [Mccain] actually sit there and launch 90 minutes of character attacks against Obama?"

The McCain campaign has invoked William Ayers on the trail, which it also did before the conventions, as well as other associations. The Washington Post reported that Jeremiah Wright would not be part of an assault on Obama's character, citing McCain on a similar attack used by the North Carolina Republican Party. But Palin told Bill Kristol that Wright is fair game.

"My gut is someday they're going to find some clip that they think will be relevant" that "could scare some people" at the margins, the Obama aide said.