Over the weekend, Barack Obama found his campaign in a bit of hot water after it was reported that liberal talk show host Ed Schultz called John McCain a “warmonger” in an intro he did for the junior Senator from Illinois at a fundraiser for the North Dakota Dem party last Friday.
The McCain campaign responded in outrage by demanding Obama repudiate Schultz’s remarks. His campaign did not long after:
Barack Obama’s campaign distanced itself Saturday from a liberal talk show host who called John McCain a “warmonger” while introducing the Illinois senator at a North Dakota campaign stop the night before, after the McCain campaign called on Obama to denounce the comment.
“John McCain is not a warmonger and should not be described as such” Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Saturday. She added, “He’s a supporter of a war that Senator Obama believes should have never been authorized and never been waged.”
The campaign stressed that Obama was not present when the “warmonger” comment was made and that Schultz is not a campaign surrogate.
That wasn’t enough for the McCain campaign, which pressed Obama to personally repudiate Schultz.
“Barack Obama promises a new brand of politics, but today refused to directly denounce Ed Schultz and his vicious smear attack on John McCain. John McCain is committed to a civil debate worthy of the American people and has a record of standing by that commitment” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. “Senator Obama must personally and publicly repudiate his campaign supporter’s attacks — rather than give tacit approval to this blatant smear — or his rhetoric of change will be exposed as nothing but words.”
The McCain campaign likens the insult to the language used by conservative radio talk show host Bill Cunningham, who rallied the crowd for McCain in Cincinnati, Ohio, in late February by repeatedly invoking Obama’s middle name, “Hussein” mocking him as a “hack” and suggesting that as president he’d cozy up to Hezbollah and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. McCain condemned Cunningham, prompting a fierce response from the talk show host.
McCain said Sunday that as far as he is concerned, the statement from the BO campaign was enough, and that he considered the issue closed.
On today’s CNN American Morning show, Schultz didn’t back down from the remark:
“I’m sorry, John, the label sticks. John McCain is a warmonger,” liberal radio host Ed Schultz said a few minutes ago on CNN’s American Morning.
“Labeling a candidate is not being disrespectful,” Schultz told CNN host John Roberts. McCain’s policies, Schultz said, “fit the description, there’s no question about that. … John McCain has no end game in Iraq. … (He) is saber rattling with Iran. … The man is a warmonger.”
Of course, Schultz is playing to his audience who I suspect the vast majority of agrees with him – and many from that group have probably called McCain much worse.
In the scheme of things, who cares about this? The real culprit of the warmonger accusations is Barack Obama himself, everytime he (and the DNC, for that matter) falsely claims McCain “wants” another 100 years of war in Iraq. This assertion, which he has repeated in other various forms on the campaign trail, has been thoroughly refuted by at least three political fact check sites as well as (surprisingly) by a few brave reporters in the MSM, who have now started taking him to task for asserting it over and over again. Obama has even admitted that he realizesMcCain is not talking about another 100 years of war.
With that in mind, why won’t he publicy retract what he’s said about McCain “wanting” another 100 years of war in Iraq? I don’t care whether or not Ed Schultz stands by his “warmonger” accusation. What I care about is whether or not Barack Obama will be upfront with the American people by admitting that he severely distorted and mischaracterized (and I’m being charitable with that description) what McCain said about Iraq in the context of the possibility we could be there another 50-100 years.
So what will it be, Senator Obama? Will you show some honesty and stand by your pledge not to engage in the “politics of the past” – or will you prove once again that your rhetoric on running a new type of political campaign is … “just words”?