McCain advisor: Obama crowds just as ugly

Confronted about the rage at recent McCain rallies, Steve Schmidt cites vicious cries at Obama events — but no one seems to have heard about them.

Published October 13, 2008 8:15PM (EDT)

"We're proud of the campaign we've run, it's been a positive campaign."

These were the words of Steve Schmidt, who is chief operating officer for the McCain campaign, in an interview on NPR's "Morning Edition" Monday. Asked about the vicious exclamations against Barack Obama by frenzied crowd members at McCain-Palin campaign rallies over the last week, Schmidt said, "of course we condemn it."

Of course. Who would've thought that having Sarah Palin accuse Obama repeatedly of "palling around with terrorists" would have whipped up any blood lust?

Schmidt went on to insist that the kind of epithets and incitements to violence screamed by McCain-Palin devotees -- "terrorist" and "kill him" and "off with his head!" -- are par for the presidential campaign. The problem, Schmidt said, is that the media has been covering the McCain side unfairly:

"Now, both campaigns have thousands of people in their crowds, and we had one person yell something inappropriate at ours, and of course we condemn it. You see that happen at Obama rallies. The difference is, it seems that when it happens at a McCain rally it gets covered on television; when it happens at an Obama rally it doesn't get covered."

Unfortunately, NPR's Renee Montagne seemed to let Schmidt's spurious comments go unchallenged. I e-mailed Schmidt twice today asking him to provide specific examples from any Obama or Biden rally in which crowd members have shouted anything about McCain that would be equivalent to calling him a "terrorist" or promoting his violent death. We'd be glad to cover them, should they exist. Schmidt did not respond.

By Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz. Sarah Palin