WSJ Washington Wire
A top labor leader released a statement today calling on John McCain and Sarah Palin to denounce a string of angry crowd outburst that have come to define the tone of the Republican campaign in recent days.
“In a world where unspeakable violence is too often promulgated by extremists, it is no small or trivial matter to call someone a terrorist–or to incite potentially dangerous individuals toward violence,” AFL-CIO PresidentJohn Sweeney said this afternoon.
At a Monday campaign event in Albuquerque, a male attendee shouted “Terrorist!” when McCain asked the rhetorical question, “Who is Barack Obama?” McCain did not respond to the outburst; it is unknown if he heard the man.
That same day at a Florida campaign event, an attendee shouted “Kill him!” when Palin was criticizing Obama for his ties to 1960s radical Bill Ayers. Other shouts of “traitor” and “treason” have peppered McCain and Palin stops in recent days.
Guests at recent McCain-Palin campaign events have also increased the frequency of using Obama’s middle name, Hussein, when referring to the Illinois senator. McCain earlier this year had condemned such tactics.
Angry name-calling has also been directed at one of Palin’s frequent targets—the mainstream media. The Washington Post reported that at the Clearwater, Fla., event Tuesday a supporter “shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, ‘Sit down, boy’” when the Alaska governor referred to her “less than successful interview with kinda mainstream media.”
A McCain spokesman also attacked Obama. “Barack Obama’s attacks on Americans who support John McCain reveal far more about him than they do about John McCain. It is clear that Barack Obama just doesn’t understand regular people and the issues they care about,” said Brian Rogers.
In his statement, Sweeney, who supports Obama, accused McCain and Palin of “walking a very thin line in pretending not to hear the hateful invectives spewed at their rallies” and he called on the Arizona senator to denounce such remarks in “the strongest possible terms.”
“Anything less puts McCain in the same camp as the racists and extremists who are bringing their angry rhetoric to his campaign events,” Sweeney said.