McCain Campaign Attacks Obama For Speaking Out Against Anger and Division

Referring to the angry McCain-Palin supporters who yell "traitor" and "treason" and "terrorist" when John McCain or Sarah Palin mention his name, Barack Obama said:

“Nothing’s easier than riling up a crowd by stoking anger and division. But that’s not what we need right now in the United States."

One might hope that cautionary statement would be uncontroversial, an invitation to civility that the McCain campaign would readily accept. Instead, the comment provoked an attack.

“Barack Obama’s assault on our supporters is insulting and unsurprising,” McCain senior adviser Nicolle Wallace said in a statement, “These are the same people Obama called ‘bitter’ and attacked for ‘clinging to guns’ and faith."

[more ...]

"Bitter" seems an appropriate description for voters who resort to threats and angry lies when confronted with the likelihood that the White House will be occupied by a candidate who doesn't look or sound like their kind of president.

A McCain spokesman also attacked Obama. “Barack Obama’s attacks on Americans who support John McCain reveal far more about him than they do about John McCain. It is clear that Barack Obama just doesn’t understand regular people and the issues they care about,” said Brian Rogers.

So "regular people" believe that Democrats, or at least Democrats who look like Barack Obama, are treasonous terrorists. If so, the nation desperately needs to be saved from regular people.

But it isn't so. Regular people don't hate others for being different. Regular people don't question the patriotism of mainstream political candidates with whom they happen to disagree. Regular people don't shout out "kill him" or "off with his head" during a candidate's speech.

Nor do all McCain supporters. They are all politically misguided, but many do not advocate violence or believe that Barack Obama is a traitor or terrorist. Unfortunately, McCain and Palin have been playing to the basest of the base, have encouraged their anger and sense of isolation. Obama did not "assault" McCain supporters as a whole; he legitimately criticized the McCain campaign for stoking division and hate.

McCain is wrong. Obama understands exactly what regular people care about. They care about the economy. All the anger the McCain campaign can muster won't be enough to convince reasonable voters that John McCain will do anything to improve their lives. The politics of distraction will affect only those minds that have already been thoroughly polluted by right wing dogma. Some of those minds are dangerous. Does McCain really want to embrace them as his supporters?

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    Obama understands (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by rooge04 on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 01:28:38 PM EST
    Obama understands exactly what regular people care about

    I don't know about that. I think he is a Democrat and as such holds principles that make it so that taking care of each other is something to be strived for. However, I do not think Obama knows a lick about what regular people care about.  He may be doing the right thing by us because of his moral and political philosophy...but much like many of his die-hard supporters, they wouldn't be able to tell you the first thing about how regular people think and what they care about.  Anyone can figure out that the economy is a concern.  It doesn't take knowing or caring about regular people.  

    huh? (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by txpublicdefender on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 01:56:45 PM EST
    I don't understand what you are saying at all.  And what is the basis for your statement that you "do not think Obama knows a lick about what regular people care about" and that he "wouldn't be able to tell you the first thing about how regular people think and what they care about?"

    I do (none / 0) (#7)
    by rdandrea on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 02:28:28 PM EST

    Where do you get this? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Iris on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 05:06:52 PM EST
    Obama comes from pretty humble beginnings, his mother used food stamps...and if you listen to anything he says at rallies around the country (as I did in southern ohio recently) he knows exactly the things that "regular people" care about...having a job, being able to take care of their family, being able to be proud of their country's actions, having a shot at happiness, making sure we are our brother's keeper.  Your comment is nonsensical.  

    Obama's mother was a (none / 0) (#21)
    by rooge04 on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 08:04:31 PM EST
    highly educated woman who was a 'single mother' for a short while before she married an Indonesian executive. Let's not make humble beginnings an issue here.  Obama's story is compelling, but it's not exactly being pulled out from a trailer park or the ghetto. He had quite a privileged upbringing.  Despite what you may have heard at his rally.

    Classical Rovian tactic (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by byteb on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 01:31:45 PM EST
    Turn around without missing a beat and project their own weakness unto the opponent...thus, Kerry becomes a cowardly traitor and George W becomes a warrior and expressing well founded concerns about the mob-like behavior of some in the McPalin crowds becomes attacks against 'regular ppl".
    It's magic.

    I think he is (5.00 / 0) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 01:32:35 PM EST

    personal story (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Iris on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 05:16:27 PM EST
    In 2004, I worked with a guy who was as strong of a Bush supporter as you could find.  Hates Michael Moore, supported the Iraq war for a number of years, gun owner, hunter, etc.  This isn't someone who followed politics particularly closely before this year, and even now not as much as myself.  He got in touch with me because he knows I read about this stuff, and told me that he's crossing over to vote for Obama this year.  The reasons might surprise some people who think McCain is in touch with "regular people."

    He said that as a hunter, he is very concerned about climate change and the loss of biodiversity, and that McCain's proposals to tackle those issues are not nearly strong enough.  He's not worried that Obama will take away his guns.  He feels that (and this was a shocker) Obama is someone he could sit down and have a conversation with and that would listen, and that McCain is not.  The Palin pick was a huge turn-off because of her extreme religious views (creationism, denying climate change is man-made) and lack of knowledge about any issues.  And when he saw the McCain supporters' unbridled hatred and vitriol at campaign rallies, that sealed the deal.

    Rightwing radio and the fairness doctrine (none / 0) (#4)
    by jerry on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 01:52:07 PM EST
    I think a lot of the anger in the country is stoked not by the politicians but by rightwing radio.

    I think some form of the fairness doctrine needs to come back.

    If you want to see an uprising (none / 0) (#18)
    by coast on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 07:10:38 PM EST
    from the right, Pelosie and Reid should try bringing back the fairness doctrine.  The anger comes from a sense of desperation more than anything else.  We see this election sliping away and a campaign that has proved to be incapable of delivering a consistent and understandable message.  I'm frustrated, but its an election.  I can have my say again in 4 years.  I'm concerned about some of what is being said at the rallies, but I also think its getting a little too much play on news.  I think it all depends on which side of the fence your on.  I for one have been taken aback by these images of children singing songs about Obama or marching in and reciting Obama's health plan or something like that.  It just brought visions of Chinese kids singing songs about Hu Jintao.  Just a little freaky.

    The criticism of McSame's campaign (none / 0) (#6)
    by scribe on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 01:58:13 PM EST
    is well-founded.  Frankly, Doris Kearns Goodwin on Maddow last night went so far as to compare the conduct of McCain's supporters to what we (historians) saw in the 1930s in places like Germany, where mass movements stressed anger and hate.  While she elided putting the onus for the conduct on the campaign and naming names (like the one that begins with "H"), such a comparison coming from someone as ... bland (I guess) as she shocked the hell out of me.

    Apparently, it shocked Maddow, too, 'cause her eyebrows went waaay up her forehead.

    The Republicans are, quite simply, blinded by their hatred and anger and will not hear of sense.  They have worked themselves into a frenzied hysteria.  In that state, they will find one excuse after another to stay agitated, and the scum who stoke that state will find one way after another to stoke it.

    The problem with this situation is that your average voter, even your well-informed partisan Democratic voter, is not really aware of this.  A colleague yesterday mentioned how the situtation seemed to be getting out of hand.  He had no idea about how long this has been going on nor how rough - he was dumbstruck and disbelieving about the "kill him" remark Milbank reported on 10/6, until I printed it out for him and pointed out it had been published Monday.

    You can expect ordinary folks to be totally shocked by what McCain has coming.  I don't know what it is, but I am quite sure his "apology" (really an apologia, but who's counting) yesterday (where he told the woman Obama is not an Arab) was forced, unwilling and, at its core, untrue.  Anyone with eyes can see it.

    I hope someone is keeping a list of Republican transgressions in this campaign - if Obama is elected, it will be useful to slap across the face to wake any Democrat who thinks reaching across the aisle to work their Republican friends (Calling Senator Inouye...  Calling Representative Frank... Calling Senator Dodd) is anything other than a setup.

    Yes (none / 0) (#14)
    by Iris on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 05:19:56 PM EST
    the right is having a coming-out party in front of the whole country, and people are disgusted.  Even former Bush supporters, which I write about below.

    1936 (none / 0) (#8)
    by Oceandweller on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 02:44:29 PM EST
    McCain crowd reminded some of my elderly british friends of the very same frenzy a mustachioed guy received in Nuremberg ...
    and STRONGLY SUGGESTED  good and thorough protection for the Democratic ticket.

    The latter is always a good idea (none / 0) (#9)
    by scribe on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 02:54:20 PM EST
    The Repugs need to remember that Bushie made some nasty precedent about dealing with citizens and throwing them in military jails incommunicado.  And, last time I checekd, that precedent still stands.  Bushie's judges and justices have made a point of kicking those issues down the road without deciding against him.

    likely (none / 0) (#11)
    by connecticut yankee on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 03:20:10 PM EST
    McCain will back off for a day or two and then jump back into the gutter.  Tricking old people into believing that Obama is a muslim terrorist is really the only plan he has.

    Mccain is a race-baiter (none / 0) (#23)
    by caesar on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 09:45:08 PM EST
    Mccain's only been race-baiting thus far... that's not leadership. It's incitement of racial hatred... he's seriously off his rocker. I think he is going to form an army and try to stage a coup if Obama gets elected. I wouldn't put it past him... Caesar...McCarthy...now Mccain, crosses the infamous Rubicon.

    Why does the Media Molly-Coddle conservatives? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Mifratz on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 05:41:49 PM EST
    McCain/Palin's privileged treatment by the traditional American values centered Christi/Islamo conservative media is beyond the Pale.  Why has no one in the mainstream media questioned McCain's time at "The Plantation" in Vietnam, why has no one questioned McCain's association with Roger Pearson (Fascist) while they were fellows and cohorts at the World Anti-Communist League, why has no one questioned McCain on his relationship with Hate promulgators and antisemitic Reverends, Rod Parsley or John Hagee, why has no one questioned McCain's association with the convicted defrauder Charles Humphrey Keating, Why has no one questioned McCain's association with Raefello Fiorelli (criminal opportunist) and convicted defrauder.

    I can tell you why in one simple quote by a very wise man years ago.  "When Fascism comes to America it will be draped in the Flag and carrying the cross" Sinclair Lewis.  Well ladies and gentleman that day has arrived and it is being heralded by the Christi/Islamo centered Republican Evangelical Party; if you even remotely care about democracy in the US you better seriously reconsider any intention of supporting the McCain/Palin ticket.

    P.S. someone in the media needs to do the right thing and seriously question Gov. Palin on her "Abuse of Power" tendencies and her resentment of Supreme Court decision and detestation of women.

    for the American media apparatus - consider the following  "During times of War the media gives out instruction, not information"  Joseph Goebbels  - please don't let it happen here

    One former racist bitter Redneck (none / 0) (#17)
    by caesar on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 06:13:20 PM EST
    After I became educated, and realized my personal biases, and making the largest mistake of my life by voting for George W. Bush in 2000, I can honestly say that I can relate to both the Republican and Democratic parties now after having grown-up. I can understand a lot of the fear, resentment, and concern for the direction of America. I only know now that a lot of the problems that exist are perhaps related to the scoial, economic conditions perpetuated by capitalism, which is mingled with racism. C'mon - the cult of personality determines whether you get a job anymore... is this the right thing?
    I was racist, just like many of the people who back Mccain.. but I really had to work at it, and overcome it. America is made up of many people, many ethinc minorities, that everyone's heritage at one time or another was made up of. We tend to get lost in complacency and see the world from our own eyes, and from the eyes of people like us. Take astep out of your perspective every once and a while, to witness the world from someone else's perspective... go nock on doors in a run-down neighborhood, and see the common human concerns that we all share in neglected areas of life. The question becomes, what are YOU going to do about it? What should YOU do about it? Will YOU let it exist, or will YOU get off your ass, make a sacrifice, and do whatever you can to stop the divisiveness of racial hatred be perpetuated into a world that our children already show signs of leaving?
    The time has come to recognize that America cannot move forward, economically, socially, nor culturally, unless we all unite and reivest in our diverse Middle-Class.

    "I was a racist , just like many of the (none / 0) (#19)
    by coast on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 07:23:17 PM EST
     people who back McCain".  As a popular commercial states "Dude ?".  You had to work hard to overcome it....thank God you have a good work ethic.

    Mccain Rallies (none / 0) (#22)
    by caesar on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 09:41:55 PM EST
    No.. the only racists I've been noticing are the people who are shouting racist nonsensical rants at Mccain rallies... people cheer them, and egg them on. There is no denouncing from the Mccain campaign until afterwards when they realize it hits the news... you want to talk about judgment? What about denouncing these hateful remarks when they occur!?
    The Obama campaign is comprised of many more people who are much more rational than those at Mccain rallies.

    John McCain and Sarah Palin attacks on Obama (none / 0) (#20)
    by mahhhrme on Sat Oct 11, 2008 at 07:44:10 PM EST
    Thank God for Sen. Obama's maturity and poise even in the light of verbal attacks upon his charactor and perhaps threats to his life.

    Sarah Satin Palin and John McCain are irresponsible and unethical inciting of crowds to shout out anger toward Sen Obama. This country's history has been to assassinate anyone who has a true message of HOPE such as Lincoln, both Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King -- McCain is a joke--bragging about his service to his country -and now he and Palin are working angry crowds to kill Obama by lying about Obama.  McCain .You are evil!
    James 3-5"Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"

    .McCain and Palin are guilty of encouraging some mental case out there who is just looking for an excuse to kill a public figure who has lived 48 years of exemplary lifestyle. McCain is accusing Obama of association with a terrorist knowing that Obama was only 8 years old when the "terrorist act" was done by someone who was no where near Obama. Obama later in life set in on a board or committee composed of many people -Obama is not responsible for what someone did when Obama was 8 years old. McCain and Palin want to have Obama physically harmed "bombed" "murdered" and if that happens McCain "thinks" he will be President.
    You are Anti-American John McCain -you are  fake war hero  who hates even his own Americans he says he fought to protect. How old was Obama when McCain was "professing to be a hero"?, Now you would destroy Obama's reputation with lies that incite your "fans" to kill Obama?     You are an angry, scary, antisocial, neurotic, crazy individual along with Sarah Satin Palin you need to be locked up and tried for TREASON
    For deliberately lying about Obama---to try to remove Obama from the Presidential race.
    YOU HAVE BETRAYED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THE CONSTITUTION. You are a garbage mouthed evil menace to the millions of Americans who are suffering now due to the Bush years.  You do not have the brains or the intelligence or HONESTY to be President.  

    You and Palin are Racist.

     If you had no skin you and Sarah would look alike with nothing but veins, arteries, and bones and nerves--for all to see-no skin. Barack Obama has a pure heart so without skin Barack Obama would reveal the same veins, nerves, arteries and bones but his heart would be exposed revealing a purity you would never be able to understand. "Blessed are the Pure in Heart for they shall see God." Best describes Barack Obama. A great Statesman and next President of the United States. We support Barack Obama!

    John McCain and Sara Palin are insane.

    McCain Palin critical words about Obama (none / 0) (#24)
    by mahhhrme on Sun Oct 12, 2008 at 01:15:59 PM EST
    Anger is contagious, and is a bad example to humanity that causes forest fires of anger to spread to the masses, anger causes us to lose discrimination and loss of memory.
    The thought becomes confused.   One cannot have both discriminatory reason and anger in the same place
    Because the angry person  is confused.   The angry man "sees through a glass darkly".  If the man is trying to run a campaign with anger tactics he becomes erratic, confused  having lost the  guidance of his "conscience" and he does not "remember" what the goal is or what he is supposed to do to prove his  fitness to lead as President of the United States  because he too "blind with anger" against his opponent .  Such an angry man having lost  his REASON and INTELLIGENCE, and MEMORY  destroys any success in acquiring that office which he "thinks" that he alone  deserves.  He is shipwrecked and loses everything he desires.   McCain's anger is toxic.   McCain needs to undergo psychiatric evaluation.  All one has to do is go back to the 10 commandments and the Beatitudes, and read the Bhagavad Gita to receive a clear picture of right and wrong action.  Anger is not an acceptable character trait in a person, it is a deadly destructive time bomb that explode at any moment.  CNN just aired  a piece on presidential fitness.  McCain is not mentally or emotionally fit to be President.  He is a deeply troubled and angry man whose toxic emotions can  only cause an epidemic of violence in America and all over the world.  We need to all enter into prayer for McCain. May God's peace come to him.

    Sen. Obama on the other hand  is living his Christina faith. He is calm, cool and collected possessing an amazing intellect and very high  IQ.  He is in total control of his actions because he has a beautiful conscience and a pure heart.  His brilliant mind is a testimony of his deep faith in God. "Today, if ye hear my voice harden not your heart".  Obama has a pure heart, he "hears God's voice." That is why he is such a brillent man.

    Wellll... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Newt on Mon Oct 13, 2008 at 12:50:51 AM EST
    maybe.  He could also just be a smart, considerate, well balanced guy.  When people do yoga moves without the spirituality, it still settles their mind and makes them feel and act more peacefully.  

    Maybe it's his religion, or maybe it's just that Barack Obama's a good guy.  I'm hoping for the latter, but praying it's one of the two, and we're not getting' fooled again.


    Anger at McCain-Palin Rallies (none / 0) (#26)
    by heymisssuze on Tue Oct 14, 2008 at 04:00:24 AM EST
    Don't discount the possibility that some of these angry, fearful and threatening people are "plants." Karl Rove supposedly left the White House to "spend more time with his family" but he hasn't been seen out picnicking much. He is still pulling plenty of strings behind the scenes, and this is just the kind of fear-fever he would gin up. In 2004, there were rumors that the Democrats would take away people's Bibles. Hard to imagine that many people would fall for that, but I know at least one person who DID believe the rumors that Obama was a closet Muslim and wanted to stamp out Christianity, etc, before I referred him to a debunking site.
    Fear is the strongest, most motivating emotion humans have, and Rove has found all kinds of ways to use it. You can be sure he's up to his old tricks.