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Analysis: Palin's words may backfire on McCain

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL – 40 minutes ago


WASHINGTON (AP) — By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is "palling around with
terrorists" and doesn't see the U.S. like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin
targeted key goals for a faltering campaign.
And though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and
carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret.
First, Palin's attack shows that her energetic debate with rival Joe Biden may be just the
beginning, not the end, of a sharpened role in the battle to win the presidency.
"Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect
enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country," Palin told a
group of donors in Englewood, Colo. A deliberate attempt to smear Obama, McCain's ticket-
mate echoed the line at three separate events Saturday.
"This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America," she said. "We see America as
a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism."
Obama isn't above attacking McCain's character with loaded words, releasing an ad on Sunday
that calls the Arizona Republican "erratic" — a hard-to miss suggestion that McCain's age, 71,
might be an issue.
"Our financial system in turmoil," an announcer says in Obama's new ad. "And John McCain?
Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy."
A harsh and plainly partisan judgment, certainly, but not on the level of suggesting that a fellow
senator is un-American and even a friend of terrorists.
Obama, who was a child when the Weathermen were planting bombs, has denounced Ayers'
radical views and actions.
With her criticism, Palin is taking on the running mate's traditional role of attacker, said Rich
Galen, a Republican strategist.
"There appears to be a newfound sense of confidence in Sarah Palin as a candidate, given her
performance the other night," Galen said. "I think that they are comfortable enough with her now
that she's got the standing with the electorate to take off after Obama."
Second, Palin's incendiary charge draws media and voter attention away from the worsening
economy. It also comes after McCain supported a pork-laden Wall Street bailout plan in spite of
conservative anger and his own misgivings.
"It's a giant changing of the subject," said Jenny Backus, a Democratic strategist. "The problem
is the messenger. If you want to start throwing fire bombs, you don't send out the fluffy bunny to
do it. I think people don't take Sarah Palin seriously."
The larger purpose behind Palin's broadside is to reintroduce the question of Obama's
associations. Millions of voters, many of them open to being swayed to one side or the other, are
starting to pay attention to an election a month away.
For the McCain campaign, that makes Obama's ties to Ayers as well as convicted felon Antoin
"Tony" Rezko and the controversial minister Jeremiah Wright ripe for renewed criticism. And
Palin brings a fresh voice to the argument.
Effective character attacks have come earlier in campaigns. In June 1988, Republican George
H.W. Bush criticized Democrat Michael Dukakis over the furlough granted to Willie Horton, a
convicted murderer who then raped a woman and stabbed her companion. Related TV ads
followed in September and October.
"The four weeks that are left are an eternity. There's plenty of time in the campaign," said
Republican strategist Joe Gaylord. "I think it is a legitimate strategy to talk about Obama and to
talk about his background and who he pals around with."
Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating
the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a
predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?
Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another
potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-
American.
The fact is that when racism creeps into the discussion serves a purpose for McCain. As the
fallout from Wright's sermons showed earlier this year, forcing Obama to abandon issues to talk
about race leads to unresolved arguments about America's promise to treat all people equally.
John McCain occasionally says he looks back on decisions with regret. He has apologized for
opposing a holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. He has apologized for refusing to call for the
removal of a Confederate flag from South Carolina's Capitol.
When the 2008 campaign is over will McCain say he regrets appeals such as Palin's? ___

Faltering:

1 nervous and uncertain or unsteady---a baby's first faltering steps

2 becoming less effective or successful---the faltering Mideast peace talks

Substantiate
formal to prove the truth of something that someone has said, claimed etc

Katzen offered little evidence to substantiate his claims .

No evidence has been found to substantiate the story.

The authorities claimed they were conspiring to overthrow the government, but
offered no evidence to substantiate these claims.

Discipline yourself to dig deep and get at facts which can be substantiated.

Graph the two equations to substantiate your answers.

The claim that higher minimum wages are inflationary and will create a loss of jobs
is not substantiated either.

The fact substantiates what reason points out.


The third party must be able to claim that its assent is invalid if any of these
grounds can be substantiated.

Tinged

showing a small amount of a colour, emotion or quality

tinged with

His voice was tinged with sadness and regret. white blossom tinged with pink

pink-tinged/jazz-tinged/romantically-tinged etc

Erratic

something that is erratic does not follow any pattern or plan but happens in a way
that is not regular

His breathing was becoming erratic. She found it hard to cope with his erratic
behaviour.

Denounce

1 to express strong disapproval of someone or something, especially in public

see also denunciation Amnesty International denounced the failure by the


authorities to take action.

denounce somebody/something as something

He denounced the election as a farce.

2 to give information to the police or other authority about someone's illegal


political activities

denounce somebody to somebody--She denounced him to the secret police.

Incendiary

1 [only before noun]designed to cause a fire

incendiary bomb/device The explosion seems to have been caused by an incendiary


device.

2 an incendiary speech, piece of writing etc is intended to make people angry

a hip-hop album with incendiary lyrics

Fluffy
1 very light and soft to touch

a fluffy little kitten fluffy towels


2 food that is fluffy is made soft and light by mixing it quickly so that a lot of air is
mixed into it

Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

3 fluffy clouds look light and soft

Furlough

1 a period of time when a soldier or someone working in another country can return
to their own country synonym leave a young soldier home on furlough

2 American English a period of time when workers are told not to work, especially
because there is not enough money to pay them

see also layoff workers forced to take a long, unpaid furlough

3 American English a short period of time during which a prisoner is allowed to


leave prison before returning

Morton stabbed the man while on furlough .

furlough verb [transitive] American English 280,000 federal workers have been
furloughed

Legitimate
1 fair or reasonable
That's a perfectly legitimate question. Most scientists believe it is legitimate to use animals in
medical research.
2 acceptable or allowed by law
Their business operations are perfectly legitimate.
3 a legitimate child is born to parents who are legally married to each other
opposite illegitimate
Repulse
[transitive] formal
1 if something or someone repulses you, you think that they are extremely unpleasant
synonym disgust The very thought of his cold clammy hands repulsed me.
2 to fight someone and successfully stop their attack on you
Government troops repulsed an attack by rebel forces.
3 to refuse an offer of friendship or help in a way that is rude
Overt
overt actions are done publicly, without trying to hide anything
opposite covert an overt attempt to silence their political opponents
Overt race discrimination is illegal.
Subtext

[countable usually singular]

a hidden or second meaning behind someone's words or actions

What's the subtext here? What's the writer really saying?

Creep into/over/around

to move in a quiet, careful way, especially to avoid attracting attention

Johann would creep into the gallery to listen to the singers. He crept back up the
stairs, trying to avoid the ones that creaked.

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