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September 09, 2008
DID OBAMA MEAN TO CALL SARAH PALIN A PIG? It's probably just a slip, but . . . "The crowd apparently took the 'lipstick' line as a reference to Palin."
Reader David Schlosser emails: "This will endear him to all those disaffected Hillary voters." And former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift is calling on Obama to apologize.
All I can say is, some pig.
UPDATE: "Lipstick on a trainwreck."
Plus, Tom Spaulding: "This is a major gaffe from Obama."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Marc Ambinder doesn't think Obama was talking about Palin.
But reader Mark Martin emails: "This was just plain stupid on Senator Obama's part. It must be due to Karl Rove mind rays or something."
MORE: A reader emails: "Surely a man smart enough to be elected president should have foreseen how these remarks would be taken. Don’t Harvard law grads know the impact of words?" Everybody stumbles now and then. I say, don't make any more of it than if McCain had said something similar.
On the other hand, reader Alin Corle emails: "I think if you look at the entire quote, you realize that Obama was referring to Palin in the 'pig' comment. In the next phrase, as reported by Politico.com, Obama referred to 'old fish' wrapped in a paper of change that still stinks, a clear personal attack on McCain. I think both comments taken together are quite outrageous."
MORE STILL: Reader Meryl Jefferson emails: "Palin is, quite obviously, getting inside Obama’s head. This was beyond stupid! This will be played by McCain quite easily: Sarah will continue to bait him and he just goes for it. Remember the Wyle E. Coyote/Roadrunner meme that Ann Althouse set up when Palin was first rolled out? Well, she was right!"
Meanwhile, David Winslow invokes Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond:
Seriously, nobody with half a brain thinks Obama was referring to Palin.
But, nobody with half a brain thinks a basic compliment at your friend's 100th birthday party belies veiled racism.
Just saying it would be nice to have these things treated consistently for a change. Consistently sane.
Hmm. As a Lott critic on that issue, I'm not sure how I should take that, but okay. And reader Tim Ryan reads the whole Obama statement and says: "He's a skilled orator, and he brings it all back around to McCain and Palin. It is absolutely clear that he is tying Palin to the Pig and McCain to the Old Fish. He didn't construct this accidentally or innocently. Unless you think that he isn't skilled or smart, and we all know that he is. He tries to create some plausible deniability, but there are only two explanations - he is either a mean-spirited p***, or he's an idiot. And the latter simply isn't true."
Meanwhile, Barry Dauphin writes: "Obama was inelegant in his comment. He was referring to Palin. Although it was not a good comment, getting hysterical about it is not smart. Put it this way, Obama's comment was hardly post partisan. He's usually a better speaker than this. He and his campaign must be quite rattled. They are playing to their base instead of going after independents. Why are they doing that, unless they are worried about their base? Do they have internal polling showing things to be worse for them than the MSM is reporting?"
Yeah, other people are wondering that, too.
And reader Alan Jan calls it "An Obama Macaca Moment. It's the judgement stupid. You've got to be smart enough not to offend African-Americans by dropping a Macaca reference and you cannot drop a Pig reference if you are having problems with women in a presidential race. Could have the same impact as Allen's misstep that cost him a close election."
And here's what Megan McArdle said about Trent Lott: "But it doesn't really matter, does it? In politics we go by what they say, not what they wanted to say."
Charles Austin weighs in: "So let me get this straight, Senator Obama is too smart to call Sarah Palin a pig but not smart enough to realize how bad this comment is going to sound to anyone not basking in the glow of his halo."
And G.M. Roper is mailing Obama some lipstick.
STILL MORE: C.J. Burch emails: "Informal survey of the women in my house...very offended. The men...not as much. Odd."
And Scott Llewellyn writes: "Um, you're kidding right? a slip? a gaffe? Obama just innocently and/or randomly used images that invoked Palin (lipstick) and Mccain (age)? Someone lauded for his rhetorical skills didn't see where that was going? Someone lauded for his intelligence couldn't foresee that, even if innocent, his images would be interpreted as references to Palin and Mccain? This is not even a close call (my wife gasped when i told her what obama said about pig/lipstick, without knowing any context or having me prime her with a reference to Palin), and Obama can't have it both ways (I'm a brilliant speaker, but not responsible for the obvious implications of the images I use)."
Here's the video.
And Jim Treacher emails with a suggested McCain-Palin response:
They haven't demanded an apology for any of the other garbage being thrown the last 11 (only 11!) days. They've either hit back or ignored it, and it's worked. She hasn't played the victim, which makes Obama look even dumber when he whines.
If I were in the McCain camp, I'd use this thing to get even further inside Barry's head:
"We're pleasantly surprised by Senator Obama's newfound sense of humor, and look forward to watching it develop over the coming weeks and months."
Heh. Jonah Goldberg has similar advice.
FINALLY: Les Jones thinks it's much ado about nothing: "I don’t think Obama was referring to Palin as a pig. He was using a common expression ('putting lipstick on a pig'). I say that as someone who likes Palin and who thinks Obama is a gaffe factory. There have been lots of hits on Palin. I don’t think this is one of them." Ann Althouse more or less agrees.
And Vic Sapphire writes: "I christen this affair 'SWINEGATE' You heard it from me first, and I'm sure you'll agree that the way it rolls off the tongue is delightful!"