a momentary, quizzical look flashes across mccain's face: he's clearly heard the response. but he doesn't sway from his script. he smiles, and goes right on.
this is not the same as a voter asking mccain "how do we beat the bitch?" referring to hillary clinton. during the primaries, mccain, faced with that question, basically answered it without suggesting for a moment that political discourse in our country might be held to a higher standard. today, standing in front of a cheering, angry crowd, mccain let the "terrorist" comment go. and by doing so, owns it.
later in the day at a florida rally, sarah palin continued to do her best to link barack obama to 60's radical bill ayers. in the midst of the event, a voice from the crowd can be heard yelling, "kill him!"
reporters at the event say they could not determine if the attack was meant for ayers, or obama.
more from the washington post's dana milbank:
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."neither mccain nor palin did anything to quell these reactions, they encouraged them. will either respond to these situations? absolutely: with more mud, and lies, and cheerleading.
watching this 72-year old white man, and a cutesy, former t.v. sports reporter rile up crowds with this kind of bile is not only pathetic, it makes me sick to my stomach. this is the woman who is full of "dog gonnits" and "you betchas" and sassy winks and shout-outs. remember, she's "just like me!" this is the war hero who has based his entire campaign on his own integrity, who earlier this year said the american people didn't want this kind of campaign. remind me, which candidate is bringing out the best in people, and which is bringing out the worst?
my friends, the vast majority of american people are good, and smart, and see this as exactly what it is: hatred, anger and sheer desperation.
UPDATE 5:06 p.m. – josh marshall at talking points memo checked in with dana milbank today, to see if he would elaborate on his experience covering the mccain/palin rallies. the crowds aren't reserving their hatred for obama:
"None of this is new, but the degree of intensity is different," Milbank says. "It's taken an uglier turn. I've been doing this for years, and there's never been anything quite like this."today included a supporter at a palin rally yelling "treason!"
Milbank says that after the Palin attacked the New York Times and Katie Couric in her stump speech yesterday in Florida, he and other reporters were pelted with boos, with some saying things like "screw you" and "fucking liberal media."
news reports said both sides were preparing for an agressive town hall style debate in nashville tonight. we'll see if anyone in the crowd yells "terrorist!" or "kill him!" or "treason!" while it's going on. wonder how mccain would handle that?
(also: the links BT requested are now live in the post.)