Via Oliver, this snippet from an Obama interview with Charlie Gibson:
GIBSON: Change the subject for a moment. John McCain has unloaded on you in the last 72, 96 hours as has Sarah Palin. McCain is saying, essentially, we don’t know who Barack Obama is, where he came from. I’m an open book, he’s not.
GIBSON: Were you surprised, A, that he didn’t bring it up last night at the debate and use that line of attack? And, B, since you must have prepared for it, what were you going to say?
OBAMA: Well, I am surprised that, you know, we’ve been seeing some pretty over-the-top attacks coming out of the McCain campaign over the last several days that he wasn’t willing to say it to my face.
But I guess we’ve got one last debate. So presumably, if he ends up feeling that — that he needs to, he will raise it during the debate.
The notion that people don’t know who I am is a little hard to swallow. I’ve been running for president for the last two years. I’ve campaigned in 49 states. Millions of people have heard me speak at length on every topic under the sun. I’ve been involved now in 25 debates, going on my 26th. And I’ve written two books which any — everybody who reads them will say are about as honest a set of reflections by, at least, a politician as are out there.
Actually, no, he won’t bring it up to your face. As I noted Tuesday after the debate, it really does appear that behind all his bluster and tough guy talk and promises to hunt down bin Laden and kill him with his bare hands, it turns out that McCain isn’t as brave as he wants you to think. He won’t man up and own his smears, he won’t say these things to your face, and he will not confront you. Instead, he and the mean girl will pass notes in class and write nasty things about you on the bathroom walls.
With Bush we got the brain-dead bravado of “bring it on” and “you’re either with us or against us,” and with McCain/Palin we get two schoolgirls trash-talking in the hallway behind your back. McCain is just lucky he is no longer in the Naval Academy.
McGirlie will not say it unless he can bring the Queen of Alaska with him to hold his hands on Hanity.
Shorter Obama: Say my name, bitch!
I love it, he is flat out taunting the old man and using Josh Marshall’s bitch slap theory on McCain.
Shorter Obama: McCain is a chickenshit.
Let me say that, while I wholeheartedly agree with the Bitch-Slap Theory of Politics and am heartened to see Obama employing a little bitch slap here, what we see from Obama is the bare minimum of how to respond to McCain and Palin.
Obama’s problem is that he gives legitimacy to the attacks simply by addressing them as if they were debatable. He calls the charges "a little hard to swallow".
"A little hard to swallow"?!? McCain and Palin are tapping into the ugliest conscious and subconscious, lizard-brain, xenophobic and racist impulses of Americans. That calls for something a little stronger than "a little hard to swallow".
>behind all his bluster and tough guy talk and promises to hunt down bin Laden and kill him with his bare hands, it turns out that McCain isn’t as brave as he wants you to think.
"Nothing is more dangerous than weak men who think they are tough guys."
-from the final paragraph of I.F. Stone’s Polemics and Prophecies.
McCain is a chicken shit hiding behind Palin, pathetic
...now I try to be amused
I think Obama has a tendency to understate, and he expects the listener to pick up on the subtlety. He gives his audience a lot of credit, which is more credit than many of them deserve.
"Never frighten a little man. He’ll kill you."
— Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notesbooks of Lazarus Long"
It’s great. And if I’ve learned anything this campaign, I’ve learned that Obama has better political instincts than me. No second guessing. Trust, and patience. And something to distract me from the interwebz. That’s all I need.
I think Obama has shown that his speech operates on several levels, and works for several different kinds of listeners, at once. His calm demeanor and understatement work for people who are truly undecided, who are on his side, or who are still watching him to see if he is "presidential" enough. The presidential part comes in his talking comfortably and evenly at all times. We all had enough of Bush’s frat boy tendency to be overfamiliar with the press and the viewer but we never came to like Kerry’s emotional distance either. Obama strikes a midway point for the viewer. He stays calm so you don’t have to be excited, he stays everyday so you can imagine him always maintaining such an even keel. But he is, at the same time, undermining McCain–as the poster up above said this is the gentleman’s equivalent of "say my name, bitch!" and it heightens, for people who are watching, the contradiction between mccain’s pretend pugnacity on the dope circuit with mccain’s cowardice when he’s on stage with obama.
I had wanted Obama to turn to mccain at the debate and demand that he "say this shit to my face–and to my children’s face" but his was the better way. You can see the strategy at work in Michelle’s pacifist response to the same question on larry king live too.
BTW a very wise critic once said that in a good film the actors on screen leave some room for the audience to respond for them–in a great and tragic scene if the actors weep the audience doesn’t have to, and so doesn’t experience the catharsis for themselves. So a good film brings the viewer up to the place the actor is supposed to be and then demands that the viewer put thesemselves there and finish the scene. To my mind the Obamas are putting the press generally, and the voter as well, in the position of finishing Obama’s point for him. Every time the press says "aren’t you mad" and Obama turns the wrath aside the *press* has to step up for him and feel indignant, and the voter does too.
He really has internalized the need to not appear as the "angry black man," and I think we underestimate how damaging that could be at our peril. Obama has earned our trust on how to run this election. If you had told me two months ago that Obama was coming into mid-October with a 5-8 point lead (more in some polls), I’d never have believed it. I’m just along for the ride now.
Screw with a guy from behind his back? Why, that doesn’t sound like the John McCain I know of at all.
Oh, hey, wait a minute …
… never mind. I guess it does.
The McCain campaign unleashed their Ayers commercial this morning (no link: I refuse). It’s pretty despicable. McCain is going to have to answer for it; he did, after all, "approve" this one.
All the McCain campaign is doing is wasting millions of republican dollars preaching to the choir which is going to vote for him anyway. Clearly this is good for the Democrats.
Look at the debate polls and how the independents are falling toward Obama.
They’re stuck in one mode of opperandi, whether it works or not, they don’t have anything else to bring to the party.
They’re dropping their nuk-u-lar ‘dirty bomb’ with this Ayers shit, and in a few days we’ll know how effective it is, my guess is that it’s gonna be more like a Neutron nuke, killing just the people closest to where it detonates, thus making them toast.
Man I can’t wait until this shit is over with, I think I’m going to go for a visit to the spa with the guys n’ gals from AIG.
49 states? Whichever one he missed, he really should go there, just for the completeness…
>49 states? Whichever one he missed, he really should go there, just for the completeness
How odd… clicking the link to the Academy I expected to see the concept I went there under, which was "Midshipman do not lie, cheat or steal…" They sure have extended/overcomplicated and bureaucratized the hell out of it.