In order for John McCain to win the presidential election, he has to win in one or two key northern states. So the McCain campaign is pulling out all the stops to eke out a win in places like Pennsylvania, for example.
What does “pulling out all the stops” look like? How about this:
AP, PHILADELPHIA – Pennsylvania Republicans are disavowing an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that likens a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to events that led up to the Holocaust.
“Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008,” the e-mail reads. “Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let’s not make a similar one this year!”
A copy of the e-mail, provided by Democratic officials, says it was “Paid for by the Republican Federal Committee of PA – Victory 2008.”
The story from the Associated Press notes that the Pennsylvania Republican Party was for the mailing before they were against it:
Political consultant Bryan Rudnick, identified as the strategist who helped write the message, was reached Saturday night and confirmed he no longer works for the party, which employed him a few weeks ago as a consultant to do outreach to Jewish voters.
“I had authorization from party officials” to send the e-mail, Rudnick said, but he declined to say who had signed off on it. “I’m not looking to drag anyone else through the mud, so I’m not naming names right now,” he said.
This comes on the heels of the story of an attempted hoax by McCain campaign volunteer Ashley Todd in Pittsburgh. Todd, a 20-year-old college student , had claimed that she was mugged at an ATM by a large black man who, upon seeing a McCain sticker on her car, scratched the letter “B” — for “Barack” — on her face.
If that story sounds unreal, it’s because it was. Todd has since admitted it was all a hoax.
Questions remian, though, about the complicity of the Republican Party in publicizing the hoax to the press. As reported at the website Talking Points Memo (TPM):
John McCain’s Pennsylvania communications director told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts of the case were known or established — and even told reporters outright that the “B” carved into the victim’s cheek stood for “Barack,” according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.
John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told TPM Election Central that McCain’s Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, “You’re with the McCain campaign? I’m going to teach you a lesson.”
Verrilli also told TPM that the McCain spokesperson had claimed that the “B” stood for Barack. According to Verrilli, the spokesperson also told KDKA that Sarah Palin had called the victim of the alleged attack, who has since admitted the story was a hoax.
The McCain spokesperson’s claims… (are) significant because it reveals a McCain official pushing a version of the story that was far more explosive than the available or confirmed facts permitted at the time.
It seems that the communications staff for the Pennsylvania Republican Party has been very busy lately.
Fortunately, the hoax was revealed before the police went on a witch hunt to find a “big black guy” who might have been responsible for the fake assault.
It seems that the Republican Party has a history of using scare tactics in western Pennsylvania.
I’ve spoken with a lot of folks about this. Are these acts by the McCain campaign racist? No, not intentionally. But it does show that, in this time of desperation, some members of the McCain campaign have lost their moral compass, and will in fact say anything and do anything to get their candidate elected. I hope the voters are taking notice.