John McCain’s error-prone Presidential campaign is in trouble, in debt and now in conflict with itself.

McCain doomed his chances from the start by supporting George W. Bush’s illegal and immoral war in Iraq. Then he abandoned the “straight talk” persona that helped him so well in previous campaigns. Then he spent all his money on consultants and fancy campaign digs.

Now he is trying to get a $3 million loan to keep his faltering campaign going and faces a new challenge from an outside group of “friends” who seek to air ads supporting him — a campaign practice that McCain himself has often denounced.

With friends like this, McCain doesn’t need opponents.

Reports The Associated Press:

Republican John McCain, climbing in polls but lagging in money, is negotiating a $3 million loan while some of his backers launch an independent advertising effort seemingly at odds with his years of fighting outside influence in campaigns.

The ad campaign, financed by contributions from undisclosed donors, drew a prompt rebuke from McCain.

“I condemn them,” he told The Associated Press on Friday. “They are a violation of everything I believe in.”

Steps under way inside and outside McCain’s campaign indicate a degree of urgency as the first nominating contests draw near and as he shows signs of resurgence after a dismal spring and summer.

Campaign aides said they hoped to finalize arrangements within days for a line of credit of about $3 million to help pay for expenses as well as for ads, mailings and other means of voter contact. The campaign also is considering taking public matching funds.

Separately, a newly created group was airing an ad Friday in South Carolina that portrays the Arizona senator and two of his congressional allies as “leaders who share our priorities” of supporting funds for U.S. troops and opposing pork-barrel spending.

“I have no clue about it,” McCain said in a brief interview in Meredith, N.H. “I didn’t know they were doing them. I didn’t even know about it until a short time ago.”

In a statement issued later, he added: “If anyone considering an outside expenditure thinks they are benefiting me, I would prefer they do not air the ads. If there are ads up, I believe they should come down.”

Financed mainly by McCain backers, the Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America was created with the help of Republican ad maker Rick Reed. He called himself a volunteer with McCain’s presidential effort earlier this year, and he is close to McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis.

“While we have great respect for McCain, we have no intention of pulling down ads, or reducing our efforts to educate the American public,” Reed said in a statement. Rather, he said, the group will announce plans next week to significantly expand advertising.