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Big family values campaigners from the GOP – have been blanket calling voters with disturbing messages – that are causing youngsters who answer the phone to become upset by them.

MCCAIN IF YOU CARE STOP THE ROBO HATE CALLS NOW!!

One of the more noteworthy responses to John McCain’s massive robocall campaign tying Barack Obama to Bill Ayers has been from parents whose children have been on the receiving end of the incendiary calls.

Many have contacted the Huffngton Post detailing concerns that their kids were being told, in essence, that the possible next president of the United States associates with terrorist figures.

“My daughter answered the phone today and began listening to the most disturbing call regarding bombing and terrorists. She ran with the phone to get me, I heard just the end snippet of the call and immediately called the number cited as responsible,” wrote a reader from North Carolina. “I was so angry and let them have it. I had to explain to my 7-year-old daughter that no one was bombing anyone else. This was a horrific experience.”

So it was more than just a bit ironic to be reminded that during the Republican South Carolina primary in 2000 it was a distraught mother who thrust the issue of the anti-McCain robocall campaign into the national spotlight.

A reader sends over a clip from the film company “Journeyman Pictures,” that replays some notable news footage from those heady political days. In it is a shot of a woman, addressing McCain at a South Carolina rally, with word of the behind-the-scenes effort to paint him as “a cheat and a liar and a fraud.”

“He was so upset,” she said of her 14-year-old son who had received the call. “He was almost in tears. I was so mad. I was so livid last night I couldn’t sleep.”

McCain, visibly shaken by the woman’s testimony, denounced the tactic entirely and would later unilaterally pull all of his negative advertising.

“I really hope that people that are doing these things could have heard and seen your statement because we don’t need to do this to young people,” said the Senator. Outside the hall, he was even more direct: “I’m calling on my good friend George Bush to stop this now, to stop this now. I can’t believe that a person from a good family such as George Bush wouldn’t stop this. But if he doesn’t then I will call him or I will write him or I will do whatever I can.”

Eight years later, the role, in many ways, is reversed (though, to be fair, the Obama campaign has not denied that it is running negative robocalls itself). Only this time, it seems, there is a stark difference: the robocalls don’t seem to be working. On Sunday, McCain’s own running mate said the tactic had “irritated” people who were “just being inundated.”

“If I called all the shots, and if I could wave a magic wand,” said Gov. Sarah Palin, “I would be sitting at a kitchen table with more and more Americans, talking to them about our plan to get the economy back on track and winning the war and not having to rely on the old conventional ways of campaigning that includes those robocalls and includes spending so much money on the television ads that, I think, is kind of draining out there in terms of Americans’ attention span.”

Meanwhile, an ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that sixty percent of voters thought Obama’s relationship with Ayers was “not a legitimate issue in the presidential campaign.” Thirty-seven percent said it was.

And yet, despite the criticism and evidence, McCain has stuck by the strategy that once undermined his presidential ambitions.

“These are legitimate and truthful and they are far different than the phone calls that were made about my family and about certain aspects that — things that this is — this is dramatically different and either you haven’t — didn’t see those things in 2000,” he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

Source: HP

Immediately after the debate, Wolf Blitzer goes there: “It’s apparent to say that Sen. McCain has some disdain, I think it’s fair to say, for Sen. Obama. That was very apparent throughout the course of this debate.”

Source: HP

Dear Cindy,
Please calm down, understandably you must feel that the whole world is against your husband – and for the most part they are – and one of the reasons for this is that your husband – John McCain has waged one of the “dirtiest campaigns” in U.S. history.

Cindy McCain said today that she expects her husband to clear the record at tonight’s debate and let America know where he truly stands.

McCain, who stopped to visit a half-dozen children at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt today, said the presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has “waged the dirtiest campaign in American history,” and her husband Sen. John McCain will use tonight’s debate to correct the distortions.

Source: HP

Control your dog?

John Aravosis at AmericaBlog writes:

McCain was speaking today in New Mexico, doing his usual personal attack on Barack Obama, as the stock market plummeted (you can see the ticker next to McCain on the screen, an apt reminder of what McCain and his fellow Republicans represent), and McCain asked the crowd “who is Barack Obama?” Immediately you hear someone yell “terrorist.” McCain pauses, the audience laughs, and McCain continues on, not acknowledging, not chastising, not correcting. Oh, but McCain does say in the next sentence that he’s upset about all the “angry barrage of insults.”

Marc Ambinder notes that the shouter advances McCain’s Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright attacks, while Jonathan Martin suggested the campaign would need a third party to do it:

Judging by McCain’s slightly startled reaction, he clearly didn’t anticipate that reaction, and McCain’s in no way responsible for the utterances of anybody in his audience. But he must have some idea of how deeply this fear/outsider/other meme has spread. A tripartite strategy isn’t needed.
UPDATE: The Washington Post reports on a similar moment at a Palin rally today:

“Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers,” Palin said.

“Boooo!” said the crowd.

“And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, ‘launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'” she continued.

“Boooo!” the crowd repeated.

“Kill him!” proposed one man in the audience.

And Dana Milbank highlights another incident from Tuesday:

Worse, Palin’s routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. 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.”

Source: HP

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