MCCAIN’S ROBOCALL PROBLEM, REDUX…. John McCain reliance on automated calls to spread lies and smears about Barack Obama has drawn criticism from Republican candidates, journalists, and was even cited by Colin Powell yesterday.

Yesterday, even Sarah Palin didn’t seem interested in defending McCain’s robocalls.

[W]hen asked if she would approve the use of robocalls if she were running the campaign, Palin said she’d probably chart a different course.

“If I called all the shots, and if I could wave a magic wand,” Palin said, “I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans, talking to them about our plan to get the economy back on track and winning the war, and not having to rely on the old conventional ways of campaigning that includes those robocalls, and includes spending so much money on the television ads that, I think, is kind of draining out there in terms of Americans’ attention span.

“They get a bit irritated with just being inundated,” she continued, “and you’re seeing a lot of that of course with the huge amounts of money that Barack Obama is able to spend on his ads and his robocalls also.”

When a presidential candidate’s own running mate distances herself from the tactics approved by the top of the ticket, you know McCain is going too far.

For what it’s worth, Sam Stein reports that McCain’s robocalls have also drawn fire from an important constituency: “parents whose children have been on the receiving end of the incendiary calls.”

Steve Benen

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.