Sunday, September 14, 2008

John McCain On Respectfulness, Giuliani On Why It Disappeared

As is my habit, I try to make sure that I take in NBC’s Meet the Press every Sunday morning. This election season makes it even more imperative because it is on these news shows that you get the nuance of politics.

Today, former mayor Rudy “A noun, a verb and 9/11” Giulani was featured among others, and right out of the chute Tom Brokaw brought up John McCain’s struggle against his former self. A struggle he is waging now that he has on his campaign staff the very people who smeared him in 2000.

Brokaw played a video of McCain speaking on the whole notion of respect on April 14, 2008:

“This will be a respectful campaign. Americans want a respectful campaign.”

“They're tired of the attacks. They're tired of the impugning people's character and integrity. They want a respectful campaign, and, and I, and I'm am of the firm belief that they'll get it, and they can get it if the American people demand it and reject a lot of this negative stuff that goes on.”
Then Brokaw played McCain’s latest smear ad on Barack Obama’s “one accomplishment” while in the Illinois state senate: sex education for kindergarteners.

I kid you not.

Here is the meat of the ad’s message which can be viewed at YouTube here:

“Obama's one accomplishment? Legislation to teach comprehensive sex education to kindergartners. Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama, wrong on education, wrong for your family.”
Oddly enough, this is not something dreamed up by Karl Rove and his henchmen. This is something they dredged up from the film vaults. Old, old stuff from when Obama ran for state senator against Alan Keyes, who originally floated this sling of mud. Barack is seen here discussing the tactic at a Planned Parenthood conference. You can view the video of the full conversation at this YouTube entry.

Tom Brokaw posed an analysis courtesy of the Washington Post, and handed it over to the former mayor:
“Any number of publications have looked at that ad, and here's what The Washington Post had to say: "The McCain ad is wrong when it claims--in a voice dripping with sarcasm--that Obama's `one accomplishment' in the education field was a sex education bill for kindergartners. While it is true that Obama supported the bill, he was not one of the sponsors. As far as kindergartners were concerned, the principal purpose of the bill was to make them aware of the risk of inappropriate touching and sexual predators." Given all the major issues that are before us today, wasn't that ad and its misrepresentation inappropriate on the part of the McCain campaign, Mr. Mayor?”
And how did Rudy Giuliani answer Tom Brokaw’s question when the video ended?

“I think the only thing wrong about that ad is it lists it as an accomplishment of Senator Obama.”
Now that’s odd. Giuliani criticized the ad for being inaccurate?

But here is the kicker, and here is the real reason that McCain is coming out with negative ads against Barack Obama. It’s all Obama’s fault:

“I think the, the main reason for that is that Senator Obama has refused to debate in these town hall meetings every week with Senator McCain. I think if they--if the two of them were out there--we saw that the other night in Harlem. If the two of them are out there answering questions, a lot of these ads are going to get done that way, they're going to be able to confront each other with these things.”
Now there’s a leap of logic. McCain feels he needs to launch negative ads at Obama because Obama has turned down the notion of doing joint town halls with McCain.

So it is what it is, right? Giuliani apparently believes that in retribution for not going along with his idea, McCain will approve of ads that are blatant “enhancements of the truth.”

The whole problem with this is that I think for once, Giuliani was probably telling the truth.

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