"People look at national politics, they hold their nose and say, 'If this is what's happening, you have to tear the other person down, are you worthy of that position?' " said Mayor Richard Daley.
The mayor came out swinging Tuesday in defense of his younger brother Bill, who is featured prominently in a new ad from the McCain campaign that tries to link Obama to Illinois' culture of political corruption.
"His economic advisor, William Daley, lobbyist. Mayor's brother. His money man, Tony Rezko, client, patron, convicted felon. With friends like that, Obama is not ready to lead," the TV ad says.
"First of all, it was rather upsetting, because I pride myself on the fact that I have not been involved with any of those people that were named in that ad," said Bill Daley.
Bill Daley is the vice chairman of a major financial company, JP Morgan Chase, a former cabinet secretary in the Clinton administration, and the manager of Al Gore's almost-successful presidential campaign in 2000. But Bill Daley has never been a lobbyist, or a politician, and he doesn't even know Tony Rezko, but he does know John McCain -- pretty well -- and he says the ad is a major disappointment.
"It looks as though John McCain at this stage in his life just wants to win. He's always prided himself as being an honorable person. But it looks like he may have left his honor in his uniform," said Bill Daley.
"People get desperate in their political life," said Mayor Daley.
The Daleys say it's incredulous that McCain would even raise the corruption issue after his reputation was sullied by a close relationship with Arizona businessman Charles Keating, a major figure in the savings and loan scandal in the 1980s.
"He was burned by that, and one would have thought he would have learned a lesson," said Bill Daley.
"When people start throwing dirt and mud, remember, it comes back and hits you right in the face," said Mayor Daley.
Bill Daley, who is one of the national co-chairs of the Obama campaign and a possible candidate for governor of Illinois in 2010, says that when you run a nasty, divisive campaign it's impossible to govern, even if you do win, and it makes the voters increasingly cynical about the entire political process. He adds, predictably, that Obama and his campaign have been models of integrity.
ABC7 reached out to the McCain campaign nationally and in Chicago for a response to the Daley comments. But so far they haven't responded.