Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Smear or Be Smeared?

Interesting background on Obama's latest attack on McCain:
The Democratic National Committee proposes to spend unlimited amounts of money to "tell the real story" about John McCain before Republicans can "start smearing" the eventual Democratic nominee. But the line of attack the Democrats outline to their potential donors in an e-mail contains some claims that are false or misleading.
  • The DNC paints McCain as favoring "endless war" in Iraq. What McCain actually said is that he wouldn't mind a hundred-year troop presence "as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."

  • It says McCain "looked the other way" rather than investigate Jack Abramoff and a Republican "Culture of Corruption." In fact, McCain's investigation led to a prison term for Abramoff and the downfall of several powerful Republicans. His investigators didn't probe members of Congress directly, but that wasn't the job of his Indian Affairs Committee. And in any case, federal prosecutors opposed a competing congressional investigation which might have interfered with their own efforts.

  • The DNC message makes criticisms of McCain that could be directed at its own leading candidates as well. It notes that he lacks training in economics, which is equally true of Clinton and Obama. And it accuses him of "staggering" reliance on lobbyists for campaign help, when Clinton also has substantial aid from lobbyists and Obama has some from former lobbyists.
If recent history is any guide, the preemptive attack that the DNC outlines in this message will be followed by similar attacks by Republicans. Past elections have included spiraling rounds of attacks by both parties, in which each side claims to be responding in kind to the other. Read the rest.

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