A reader writes:

Well, yesterday was interesting.  My Hispanic cleaning lady told me that "she would like to be for Obama, but he's a dangerous Muslim."  She was sure of it and had heard it on the radio many times. . .  This strategy of quiet whisper campaigns is a Rovian hallmark. I'm sure they've been spreading it all over the place, and the Clintonistas are almost certainly at it, too.

Scores of readers have forwarded similar email chains. It may be that if the Jewish lists haven't pegged Obama as an anti-Semitic Farrakhanite then the Latino radio and online buzz has identified him as a dangerous Manchurian candidate Islamist. I'm not making excuses. I don't think these things make the difference in a campaign. There are plenty of reasons people might want to vote for Clinton rather than against Obama, out of misplaced fears and smears. But the rumors and smears can't help. And they've been fast and furious. I guess that would be even more the case in a general election. So maybe it's a useful exercise in the primaries. But it depresses nonetheless.