The difference between strategy and tactics: The Ayers smears we've been enjoying from the McCain campaign since the weekend are apparently no longer operative. If this is a case of McCain stepping up and doing the right thing, then good for him, but I'm afraid I suspect Greg Sargent's theory is more likely:
If it's really true that the McCain team is holstering this pistol, it suggests that the McCain campaign's internal polling on how the Ayers stuff is playing is just brutal, likely among independents. It also suggests that Obama's counter-attack -- lambasting McCain's campaign for wanting to change the subject from the economy to personal attacks -- has been effective.The Keating 5 and Council for World Freedom counterattacks probably helped clarify things a bit for them, too.
It remains to be seen whether Palin and other McCain surrogates will really put Ayers back in the box, or not.