First, props to sgwhiteinfla for catching this. Second, at some point you have to say McCain is responsible. Here is my old colleague from TIME, Karen Tumlty, reporting on Virgina GOP Chairman Jeffrey M. Frederick's efforts to motivate the GOTV troops in the state:
With so much at stake, and time running short, Frederick did not feel he had the luxury of subtlety. He climbed atop a folding chair to give 30 campaign volunteers who were about to go canvassing door to door their talking points -- for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and Osama bin Laden: "Both have friends that bombed the Pentagon," he said. "That is scary." It is also not exactly true -- though that distorted reference to Obama's controversial association with William Ayers, a former 60s radical, was enough to get the volunteers stoked. "And he won't salute the flag," one woman added, repeating another myth about Obama. She was quickly topped by a man who called out, "We don't even know where Senator Obama was really born." Actually, we do; it's Hawaii.
This is an actual campaign official urging his troops to go out and not use innuedo, not insinuate, not rally, but to actually lie to voters. Last night I was out with a buddy (here in Chicago again, damn I love this town) and we got to talking about McCain whipping up the troops. I made the point that McCain wasn't a bigot. My buddy responded that McCain is using the tools of bigotry, and so functionally, what is the difference? I think we've given enough rope.
On a quick side-note, does it not say something about the ineptitude of McCain's campaign that this guy said this in front of a reporter from TIME?