ARE SPOUSES OFF THE TABLE OR NOT?…. As recently as June, there was one thing both campaigns agreed on: spouses were not fair game. The McCain campaign used to say, “Senator McCain agrees with Senator Obama that spouses should not be an issue in this campaign, and he has stated that position frequently.”

The McCain campaign has since taken subtle rhetorical shots at Michelle Obama, but nothing especially overt. The Obama campaign, meanwhile, has steered clear of Cindy McCain altogether, even when she’s entered the arena and taken cheap shots.

With that in mind, the McCain campaign’s attacks yesterday warrant an explanation.

The McCain campaign is now broadening their attack on Obama’s past association with William Ayers to include Michelle Obama — even though McCain has repeatedly said spouses should be off limits during the campaign.

The attack? Bernardine Dohrn, Ayers’ wife and fellow former Weatherman, went to work in 1984 for the major Chicago law firm of Sidley & Austin, and three years later, Michelle joined the mega-firm as well.

That’s the entire attack. We wish we were joking. But we aren’t.

Yep, the McCain campaign hosted an official conference call yesterday featuring Obama critic John Murtagh, who’s been emphasizing the Bill Ayers “issue” this week. On the call, Murtagh argued that Michelle Obama and Bernardine Dohrn worked at the same Chicago law firm in the late 1980s. The campaign argued that this “connection” suggested that there was an Obama-Ayers “relationship” going all the way back to 1987.

This has to be a top contender for Stupidest McCain Argument of the Week.

Did the campaign offer any evidence that Michelle Obama and Bernardine Dohrn even knew each other at an enormous firm with hundreds of lawyers? No. But they very possibility that the two knew each other is enough for the unhinged GOP ticket to make a bizarre degrees-of-separation attack.

If this was an incoherent argument on some right-wing blog, it’d be laughable. But this was the official message of the McCain campaign yesterday afternoon.

“I would emphasize that we’ve all been focusing on Senator Obama,” Murtagh said. “I think we need to speak to his wife.”

These guys keep managing to sink into lower depths of depravity.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.