Saturday, October 25, 2008

When John McCain became George Wallace

It hasn't been a good week for John McCain.

Sarah Palin spent more on new outfits than most of his voters make in two years. Her make-up artist earns many times what they earn.

He needed some good news. News that would help him get, say, Pennsylvania.

So when the head of is Pennsylvania campaign called with a miraculous gift, a woman attacked by a big black man who carved the letter B on her face, McCain jumped at it.

Palin phoned the young victim. McCain phoned her. His campaign manager called journalists with all the racy details.

On that day John McCain became George Wallace, the tactical race baiter. He'd abandoned the last shreds of honor in a lunge for the brass ring.

It might have worked. It still might work.

Problem is, 2008 Pennsylvania is not 1960 Alabama. The police were not duped. The public was obviously more skeptical than McCain. Within a day or so the "victim" confessed. She'd faked the whole thing.

McCain's Pennsylvania control went into desperate damage control spin. Their spin is even less convincing than the original story ...
Talking Points Memo | Time for Answers

... As Greg Sargent reported yesterday, McCain Pennsylvania communications director Peter Feldman pushed reporters on a highly incendiary version of Todd's hoax -- providing reporters with quotes from the fictitious attacker and telling them the the "B" scratched on Todd's face stood for "Barack." As the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson aptly put it, Feldman's actions showed "not just a willingness to believe it but an eagerness to incite a ... racial backlash against the Obama campaign."

Our reporting did not find any direct evidence that the McCain campaign's national headquarters played a role pushing the story.

However, the national campaign has now come forward and lied about what happened in Pennsylvania. McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers has now told NBC that alleged quotes from the McCain campaign in early reports of the story were actually the product of "sloppy reporting" and that they were actually quotes from the Pittsburgh police.

This is simply not credible.

Initial reports specifically quote the McCain campaign. And at least two sources involved in the contemporaneous reporting have come forward and said on the record that the quotes came directly from the McCain campaign. To believe that two separate local news organizations made the identical mistake with the same quotes and are now both covering it up is simply not credible. But that is what Rogers is now claiming....

... Gov. Palin did call Todd after the purported attack, as did Sen. McCain. And news of these calls was provided to the press.

The involvement of the candidates and specifically the release of such information -- which was clearly intended to bump up interest in the story -- shows some level of involvement by the national campaign...

I think I know how Obama will handle this.

He'll be gracious and dignified. He'll express his sympathy to the young woman and her family. He'll extend his forgiveness.

There's no better way to twist the knife.

I've said for weeks that I expected McCain to win this, and for Palin to become President within six months.

Now I'm not so sure. Now I'm ready to say it could go either way.

If McCain wins though, he'll have destroyed the village he wanted to save.

Only Shakespeare could do justice to the tragedy of John McCain.

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