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Thread: Barack Obama aide: John McCain campaign 'sleaziest' in modern history

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    Default Barack Obama aide: John McCain campaign 'sleaziest' in modern history

    Obama aide: McCain campaign 'sleaziest' in modern history
    MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama's spokesman on Saturday accused Sen. John McCain of "cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history."
    Obama, speaking to a crowd Saturday in Manchester, New Hampshire, said,"John McCain wants to have a debate about national security; let's have that debate. I warned that going into Iraq would distract us from Afghanistan. John McCain cheerleaded for it. John McCain was wrong, and I was right."
    "The McCain-[Sarah] Palin ticket, they don't want to debate the Obama-Biden ticket on issues because they are running on eight more years of what we've just seen. And they know it," the Democratic presidential nominee said. "As a consequence, what they're going to spend the next seven, eight weeks doing is trying to distract you.
    "They're going to talk about pigs, and they're going to talk about lipstick; they're going to talk about Paris Hilton, they're going to talk about Britney Spears. They will try to distort my record, and they will try to undermine your trust in what the Democrats intend to do." Watch more of Obama's comments »
    Asked why the campaign's tone was different from its tone during Hurricane Gustav, Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said, "We have enormous concern for people down there ... that's why we canceled 'Saturday Night Live' ... but these people also came out because they're really concerned about the future of the country, and he [Obama] wanted to talk about those issues."
    McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds criticized Obama for showing "zero restraint" given the storm and said the "attacks mark a new low from Barack Obama."
    The Obama campaign's response was even tougher.
    "We will take no lectures from John McCain, who is cynically running the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "His discredited ads with disgusting lies are running all over the country today. He runs a campaign not worthy of the office he is seeking."
    At the start of his rally, Obama did put politics aside, encouraging the thousands in attendance to think about those in Texas dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Ike.
    "I've been on the phone with the head of FEMA and mayor of Houston and others who are trying to grapple with this tremendous storm," he said.
    "I know that one of the things that we've seen after Gustav, one of the things that we saw after Katrina and Rita is that during difficult times during moments of tragedy, the American people come together. We may argue, we may differ, but we are all Americans."
    The storm prompted the Obama campaign late Friday night to cancel the candidate's appearance on the season premiere of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," saying it was no longer appropriate given what Gulf residents were facing.
    Obama's running mate Sen. Joe Biden was supposed to attend the Manchester rally but did not.
    Obama is going back to Chicago for the weekend before heading out Monday for Colorado.
    Meanwhile, McCain's campaign said a new Spanish language ad set to air in battleground states blames Obama and Senate Democrats for the failure of attempts to overhaul the nation's immigration laws.
    "Obama and his congressional allies say they are on the side of immigrants. But are they?" asks the announcer in the 30-second spot, "Which Side Are They On?"
    "The press reports that their efforts were 'poison pills' that made immigration reform fail," he continues. "The result: No guest worker program. No path to citizenship. No secure borders. No reform. Is that being on our side? Obama and his congressional allies ready to block immigration reform, but not ready to lead." Watch the ad
    But Obama and McCain cast identical votes in the major congressional showdowns on the issue last year.
    Both men cast votes in favor of an unsuccessful early June effort to end a filibuster. Later that month, they voted again to end debate on the issue -- but again failed to shut down the filibuster effort, led for the most part by Republican senators.
    The ad is set to air in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, all crucial states in November with significant Hispanic voting populations.
    Obama aide: McCain tactics 'sleaziest' in history

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    Good for them for finally calling them out on McCain's shite. It's way past overdue, let's just call a pig a pig!

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    Historians say McCain camp not sleaziest
    By: David Mark and Avi Zenilman
    September 16, 2008 06:43 PM EST

    David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s chief strategist, said Sunday that John McCain is running the “sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history.” It was a line trotted out all weekend by various Obama staffers as part of an effort to portray the Republican nominee as a purveyor of the slimiest tactics in recent memory.

    Yet presidential historians and political scientists interviewed by Politico scoffed at the notion, suggesting McCain’s approach is no harsher than those used in previous modern campaigns and certainly not by comparison to many historic campaigns.

    “The idea that this campaign is the sleaziest ever is absurd,” said David Greenberg, a professor of history and media studies at Rutgers who has written books on Presidents Coolidge and Nixon. "In fact, there's been very little that's below the belt, and aides have been fired on all sides when they've gotten near, let alone crossed, the lines. There's nothing at all to rival the Swift-boating of Kerry in 2004, the imputations of un-Americanness to Dukakis in 1988, the anti-Catholic stuff against Al Smith in 1928 and the regular resort to slander and character assassination of so many 19th-century campaigns."

    “It’s not new or novel,” said Vanderbilt University political science professor John Geer, author of "In Defense of Negativity." “McCain's tactics are no different than what we've seen in recent years," he said. "Presidential campaigns in the past few decades were worse in many ways.”

    Geer, who researched his 2006 book in part by watching virtually every presidential campaign spot from 1964 to 2004, points to the 1964 election, among others.

    In that contest between President Lyndon Johnson and Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Democratic president offered the notorious “Daisy Girl” ad that suggested election of his Republican rival would lead to nuclear Armageddon. A lesser-known but equally hard-hitting LBJ attack portrayed a young girl licking an ice cream cone as a woman off-camera suggested nuclear radioactive material generated by a Goldwater administration would poison the food supply.

    And it’s often forgotten that 1984 Democratic nominee Walter Mondale ran a bruising set of attack ads against President Ronald Reagan. Channeling LBJ, themes included possible nuclear war — footage of children was interspersed with ballistic missiles and nuclear explosions — along with slashing attacks over fiscal and foreign policy, Geer said.

    At issue this year are McCain campaign claims and ads that several news organizations have branded as false or, at best, highly misleading. Both McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have, if nothing else, played fast and loose with her role as an anti-earmarking champion. In a television ad, the campaign also asserts that Obama, as an Illinois state senator, backed legislation to teach “‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.” The truth is that the legislation allowed local school boards to teach “age-appropriate” sex education, not comprehensive lessons to kindergartners.


    Obama’s campaign has also cried foul over a recent McCain ad claiming Obama and congressional Democrats plan to push forward "painful tax increases on working American families." According to the nonpartisan FactCheck.org, the ad is flat-out wrong because Obama’s economic plan would produce a tax cut for the majority of American households, with middle-income earners saving the larger percentage of their incomes.

    Then there is last week’s “lipstick on a pig” controversy, in which the Obama campaign contends the Republican ticket is feigning outrage over Obama’s use of that phrase. Obama insists his remark was not directed at McCain running mate Palin, whose nomination acceptance speech had highlighted her lipstick as a reflection of her tenacious political demeanor; the McCain camp claims it was an example of outright sexism.

    “Taking one quote and blowing it out of context is commonplace. That’s what you do in a campaign,” said Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history at Princeton University.

    It’s possible that the 2008 campaign has appeared to some as if it’s among the sleaziest because the candidates quickly dispensed with pleasantries that usually begin general election campaigns. That may be a reflection of the truncated general election campaign because the Democratic nominating contest dragged on through June and the nominating conventions were not held until after the Beijing Olympics.

    “What surprises me about this campaign is how they’ve barely even bothered with intro, feel-good ads,” Geer said. “It’s certainly starting out pretty negative, but again, you’ve got high stakes, you’ve got two candidates that disagree with each other on issues.”

    It should not be surprising that McCain’s campaign race has ratcheted up the heat on Obama so strongly, said Kenneth Long, a political science professor at Saint Joseph College, in West Hartford, Conn.

    “We have long a history of negative campaigning; this hardly comes close to the most negative,” Long said. “Voters say that they don’t like negative campaigns, and they don’t. But that said, we know that negative campaign ads are the most effective. … if you just run campaign ads that are purely positive, it tends not to move any voters.”

    Historians say McCain camp not sleaziest - Politico.com Print View

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    Uh, this is way above Kerry in 2004, and hello.. the 19th century?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Incognito View Post
    Historians say McCain camp not sleaziest
    By: David Mark and Avi Zenilman
    September 16, 2008 06:43 PM EST

    David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s chief strategist, said Sunday that John McCain is running the “sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history.” It was a line trotted out all weekend by various Obama staffers as part of an effort to portray the Republican nominee as a purveyor of the slimiest tactics in recent memory.

    Yet presidential historians and political scientists interviewed by Politico scoffed at the notion, suggesting McCain’s approach is no harsher than those used in previous modern campaigns and certainly not by comparison to many historic campaigns.

    “The idea that this campaign is the sleaziest ever is absurd,” said David Greenberg, a professor of history and media studies at Rutgers who has written books on Presidents Coolidge and Nixon. "In fact, there's been very little that's below the belt, and aides have been fired on all sides when they've gotten near, let alone crossed, the lines. There's nothing at all to rival the Swift-boating of Kerry in 2004, the imputations of un-Americanness to Dukakis in 1988, the anti-Catholic stuff against Al Smith in 1928 and the regular resort to slander and character assassination of so many 19th-century campaigns."

    “It’s not new or novel,” said Vanderbilt University political science professor John Geer, author of "In Defense of Negativity." “McCain's tactics are no different than what we've seen in recent years," he said. "Presidential campaigns in the past few decades were worse in many ways.”

    Geer, who researched his 2006 book in part by watching virtually every presidential campaign spot from 1964 to 2004, points to the 1964 election, among others.

    In that contest between President Lyndon Johnson and Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Democratic president offered the notorious “Daisy Girl” ad that suggested election of his Republican rival would lead to nuclear Armageddon. A lesser-known but equally hard-hitting LBJ attack portrayed a young girl licking an ice cream cone as a woman off-camera suggested nuclear radioactive material generated by a Goldwater administration would poison the food supply.

    And it’s often forgotten that 1984 Democratic nominee Walter Mondale ran a bruising set of attack ads against President Ronald Reagan. Channeling LBJ, themes included possible nuclear war — footage of children was interspersed with ballistic missiles and nuclear explosions — along with slashing attacks over fiscal and foreign policy, Geer said.

    At issue this year are McCain campaign claims and ads that several news organizations have branded as false or, at best, highly misleading. Both McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have, if nothing else, played fast and loose with her role as an anti-earmarking champion. In a television ad, the campaign also asserts that Obama, as an Illinois state senator, backed legislation to teach “‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.” The truth is that the legislation allowed local school boards to teach “age-appropriate” sex education, not comprehensive lessons to kindergartners.


    Obama’s campaign has also cried foul over a recent McCain ad claiming Obama and congressional Democrats plan to push forward "painful tax increases on working American families." According to the nonpartisan FactCheck.org, the ad is flat-out wrong because Obama’s economic plan would produce a tax cut for the majority of American households, with middle-income earners saving the larger percentage of their incomes.

    Then there is last week’s “lipstick on a pig” controversy, in which the Obama campaign contends the Republican ticket is feigning outrage over Obama’s use of that phrase. Obama insists his remark was not directed at McCain running mate Palin, whose nomination acceptance speech had highlighted her lipstick as a reflection of her tenacious political demeanor; the McCain camp claims it was an example of outright sexism.

    “Taking one quote and blowing it out of context is commonplace. That’s what you do in a campaign,” said Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history at Princeton University.

    It’s possible that the 2008 campaign has appeared to some as if it’s among the sleaziest because the candidates quickly dispensed with pleasantries that usually begin general election campaigns. That may be a reflection of the truncated general election campaign because the Democratic nominating contest dragged on through June and the nominating conventions were not held until after the Beijing Olympics.

    “What surprises me about this campaign is how they’ve barely even bothered with intro, feel-good ads,” Geer said. “It’s certainly starting out pretty negative, but again, you’ve got high stakes, you’ve got two candidates that disagree with each other on issues.”

    It should not be surprising that McCain’s campaign race has ratcheted up the heat on Obama so strongly, said Kenneth Long, a political science professor at Saint Joseph College, in West Hartford, Conn.

    “We have long a history of negative campaigning; this hardly comes close to the most negative,” Long said. “Voters say that they don’t like negative campaigns, and they don’t. But that said, we know that negative campaign ads are the most effective. … if you just run campaign ads that are purely positive, it tends not to move any voters.”

    Historians say McCain camp not sleaziest - Politico.com Print View
    In other words, McCain is carrying on business as usual.

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