I struggled with whether to even write about this, lest I lend a lie undue credence.
Yes, I called it a lie. I know politicians and reporters often avoid the “L-word” when describing false political statements, preferring to call them “spin” or “exaggerations” or “mistruths” or some other euphemism.
But this idea the McCain/Palin campaign is pushing, that Barack Obama was referring to Sarah Palin when he spoke of “putting lipstick on a pig,” is just simply a lie.
If “lie” seems too strong, and you absolutely must have a euphemism, try “tripe,” “bull” or “a load of crap.” Obama clearly was talking about McCain’s policies.
Was it inappropriate for Obama to use the “lipstick on a pig” metaphor at all? John McCain certainly didn’t think it was inappropriate when he was talking about Hillary Clinton’s health-care platform last year.
And yet, because Sarah Palin said the word “lipstick” last week and Obama said the word “lipstick” this week, McCain/Palin churned out this ad so the conservative blogosphere could tremble with outrage that Obama is so “sexist.” I got an e-mail moments ago from Mike Huckabee’s PAC:
“Last night, while on Hannity & Colmes I cut Barack Obama some slack on his reference to ‘lipstick on a pig.’ Now I personally don’t think he was referring to Gov. Palin, but if he was he should apologize immediately.”
Gee, how big of him to “cut Barack Obama some slack.” And how passive-aggressive of him to immediately suggest an apology might be in order.
Moments before Huckabee’s e-mail, I got an e-mail from McCain-Palin looking to raise funds in reaction to “the shameful attacks Senator Obama and his liberal allies have launched against our vice presidential nominee.”
Voters should realize that what’s truly shameful is lying about what was said, and then trying to raise money on the lie.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting more items to this blog challenging lies told on the campaign trail. I will try to confine myself to lies told by the campaigns themselves, not their proxies, and I will actively seek those lies on both sides of the aisle; if you have one you think I should address, feel free to tell me.
But I’ll tell you quite frankly, most of the whoppers I’ve seen in this presidential campaign so far have come from McCain/Palin, from matters of policy to political track records to made-up silliness like this “Lipstickgate.” And I will reject any accusations of partisanship leveled against me simply for setting the record straight.