Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Obama-McCain Family Values

In warning Republicans to "lay off my wife" in their ads, Barack Obama yesterday was challenging John McCain to call off the dogs who are nipping at Michelle Obama just as they attacked Cindy McCain to give George W. Bush the nomination in 2000.

Opponents, Obama said on Good Morning America, "can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record. I've been in public life for 20 years," then added that if "they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because that I find unacceptable."

The subtext of Obama's warning could be a reminder that, as late as last summer, Mrs. McCain was speaking out against such tactics, as the New York Times reported in an interview with her: "Ugly accusations about her family, she insisted, will not be tolerated this time. 'If that were to even bubble its head up again,' she said, "we’d knock that flat.'”

In 2000, the Rove smear machine attacked with slanders and push polls about everything from Mrs. McCain's one-time addiction to pain killers to rumors that their adopted daughter from Bangladesh was a black child McCain had fathered.

Eventually, Bridget, now 16, learned about that in a Google search of her name and went to her mother in tears. “She wanted to know why President Bush hated her,” Mrs. McCain said. “And I had to explain to her...how nasty campaigns can be.”

Now the question for the Republican candidate is: Can he control those same groups who also did the Swiftboat ads against John Kerry in 2004, which McCain publicly denounced?

On GMA, Obama praised his wife's patriotism and said that for Republicans "to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her I think is just low class...especially for people who purport to be promoters of family values."

McCain no doubt agrees, but will the man who claims to be strong enough to protect Americans from their enemies abroad be able to shield them from the sleazebags who make those commercials?

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