The decision by the McCain campaign to go negative is having a disturbing affect on crowd participation. Beginning with the “paling around with terrorists” comments from VP nominee Sarah Palin over the weekend, columnist Dana Milbank notes that the reactions to the red meat have worked a little too well.
When McCain recently asked, “Who is the real Barack Obama?” a supporter yelled the answer: “Terrorist!”
Turning up the volume on questions of Obama’s character and associations is a gamble to stop McCain’s sinking poll numbers. It just might work, but it has apparently opened up a dangerous door that the campaign may not be able to shut.
From The Washington Post:
“…Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric‘s questions for her “less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media.”
At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, ‘Sit down, boy.’”
Other reports of Palin rallies are even scarier. Maybe it’s being overblown, but it seems some McCain/Palin events are turning into angry mobs. Certainly the McCain/Palin campaign cannot be held responsible for what a fiery supporter shouts, but they are responsible for dousing these crowds with gasoline. (PB)