McCain has distorted the record of his opponent, Democrat Barack Obama, and has exaggerated the record and foreign policy bona fides of his own running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
The newspaper said that among the McCain camp's misstatements are that Obama favors sex education for kindergartners and that Palin sold her state plane on eBay and turned down federal money for the so-called "bridge to nowhere."
Most recently, the McCain campaign went on the defensive after The Boston Globe reported Saturday that Palin's 2007 trip to Iraq, which the campaign had provided as evidence of her foreign policy experience, was actually a trip to a Kuwait-Iraq border crossing.
Both McCain and Obama had vowed to run campaigns free of smear, but both candidates have appeared to have taken divergent courses, the newspaper said.
"When you are seeking people's approval, you tend to tell them what you think they want to hear," said Brooks Jackson, who runs the online truth-squad effort Fact Check.org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center.