after nearly a week of appearing to encourage such behavior, mccain is now asking his crowds to be "respectful," i.e. to not call obama a terrorist or shout things like "kill him" or "treason" or "off with his head!" (at least in public.) i wish he'd make up his mind.
from time's ana marie cox:
(McCain) just snatched the microphone out the hands of a woman who began her question with, "I'm scared of Barack Obama... he's an Arabone day the fundamentals of the economy are strong and then he's suspending his campaign to fix the crisis of a lifetime. he releases his new surprise mortgage bailout plan at a debate and then drastically changes it the next day. barack obama is a scary man with questionable associations with terrorists, or he's a decent family man whose accomplishments mccain admires.
"No, no ma'am," he interrupted. "He's a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements."
that whole campaign must have whiplash it's so erratic.
more from talking points memo.
UPDATE 9:29 pm – josh marshall questions mccain's motives, seeing him as a man "desperately casting about and losing control of the situation itself."
"McCain... has the countenance of someone who's been forced to tell someone else they're sorry. There's some mix of gritting your teeth and saying something you don't want to say mixed with some sort of shamefacedness. Look at the video. Because while I feel like I intuitively 'get' the gestures I find it hard to quite capture them in words."read josh's entire post and see the video here.
UPDATE 10:28 pm – the new york times agrees wholeheartedly with the whiplash idea:
"For the past several weeks, as the polls have shown Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee, gaining increasing ground, Mr. McCain’s traveling road show has veered from message to message and from pumping up hostile crowds to trying to calm them down. Each news cycle seem to bring another tactic as the campaign appears to be trying anything and everything to see what might work."
* CORRECTION 10/12/08 – several sources now say the woman at the mccain rally did not say "arab terrorist," only "arab." watching the video, that seems to be correct. so mccain is responding to someone being called an "arab" by saying "no, no ma'am, he's a decent family man..."