The L.A. Times reports:
In a possible foreshadowing of a potentially bruising general election campaign, a speaker who introduced presidential candidate John McCain at a rally here today accused Barack Obama of sympathizing with “world leaders who want to kill us” and invoked Obama’s middle name — three times calling him “Barack Hussein Obama.”
Local conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham described Obama as “a hack Chicago Daley-style politician who is picturing himself as change. When he gets done with you — all you’re going to have in your pocket is change,” he said.
McCain quickly distanced himself from the remarks, which he did not hear, saying that using Obama’s middle name in repetition like that was inappropriate. “I absolutely repudiate such comments and again, I will take responsibility,” he said, calling the use of Obama’s middle name inappropriate. “It will never happen again. It will never happen again.”
More at the Swamp. The talk show host is now saying he’ll support Hillary. On the one hand, there’s the war, the Supreme Court, and fiscal responsibility. On the other, Bill Cunningham’s ego. Yup, the choice is clear.
The lede in the L.A. Times story demonstrates the typical Big Media thirst for drama, and the facts be damned. If anything, McCain’s swift and decisive repudiation of the remarks indicates a desire to conduct the campaign with respect.
My take: yes, I realize it’s Obama’s real name. But it’s cheap pandering to go around emphasizing it. It makes McCain look bad. And his repudiation was the right thing to do.
It’s too bad, because the brouhaha undercuts a nice line: “When he gets done with you — all you’re going to have in your pocket is change.” My friend Abe W. delivered that line the other day, and I was planning to do a post recommending McCain use it. I still think he should.
Just wait a few months. But for now, it’s good news.
Overall, McCain would beat Clinton 46% to 40% and Obama 44% to 42%. His lead over Obama is within the poll’s three-point margin of error.
Thanks to aphrael.
I’m seeing some real fighting and fireworks on health care. This is looking like it might actually be interesting.
UPDATE: What a great question from Russert: if Iraq goes to hell after we withdraw, do we have the right to go back in? Hillary isn’t answering.
Obama didn’t really answer. He did say he could go in if al Qaeda had a base — but what if it went to hell, but there was no evidence that al Qaeda had a base?
UPDATE x2: They’re throwing Hillary’s attacks on Obama in her face; she’s going to have to defend them. Good. I think Russert and Williams are doing a pretty good job asking tough questions.
UPDATE x3: Russert started to ask Obama about keeping his word. I thought he was going to ask Obama why he told him, Tim Russert, that he wasn’t going to run for President in 2008. But he asked another very good question: why won’t Obama commit to taking public financing. Obama’s dancing on that one — gee, I’m not the nominee yet. Even though he has already used the phrase “when I am President” in this debate. Russert: “so you may break your word.” Obama won’t commit.
Now Russert is asking Hillary about releasing tax returns, especially with Bill’s dealings overseas. She says she will do it when she is the nominee. Dream on.
UPDATE x4: Obama unequivocally denounces Farrahkan’s anti-Semitic remarks. Refreshing. But now Russert is asking him about his pastor. Tough question. He avoids the business about his pastor but says that the safety of Israel is “sacrosanct.”
UPDATE x5: Obama’s answer to the question about his liberal voting record is masterful. This guy is really clever and a good speaker.
We’re gonna lose, folks.
[Posted by WLS]
Moderator: “Mr. Obama, will you now pledge that if you are elected President in November, you will keep on Patrick Fitzgerald as the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, given that his office in currently in the middle of several long-running investigations into matters of public corruption in the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago, investigations that have implicated your friends, political allies, and campaign contributors? These investigations have resulted in numerous convictions of both Republicans and Democrats over several years.
If not, don’t you think that replacing Mr. Fitzgerald, who has proven his political independence in the “CIA Leak” investigation that led to a conviction of a top WH official, would constitute inappropriate interference by you in a politically sensitive criminal investigation?”
Discuss amongst yourselves.
[Guest post by DRJ]
Most elections are about the candidates, not their wives, but the speeches given by Barack Obama are short on details. His wife Michelle has been more forthcoming. For instance, last week in Madison, Wisconsin, Michelle Obama offered what has become a central theme of her husband’s campaign:
“Obama acknowledged that her speech was short on such specifics as environmental and health care policy, but said such details, while important, are secondary to leadership.”
However, Michelle Obama did specifically criticize standardized testing in education:
“During Monday’s speech, Michelle Obama criticized the Bush administration’s “No Child Left Behind” program, which she said is “strangling the life out of most schools.”
“If my future were determined by my performance on a standardized test I wouldn’t be here,” she said. “I guarantee that.”
How do we tell if America’s K-12 students are learning without testing?
Michelle Obama attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Most successful applicants to these schools have extremely high standardized test grades, and studies have shown that finding a good fit in college and graduate school is important to help students succeed. For instance, Obama’s antipathy to standardized testing is at odds with studies like this one that show a correlation between standardized test scores and performance in law and graduate school.
The Obamas’ views on education seem more like feel-good policies than good policies.
Hillary is finally unloading on Obama with both barrels.
Too little too late, I suspect — but it’ll make for a great debate tonight.
I think she’s finding her real voice — that of the shrill harpy we’ve known for the last 15 years.