Wash. Post stated that McCain "condemned" TN GOP attack on Obama but didn't note that he later touted TN GOP chairman's endorsement

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

A Washington Post article stated that Sen. John McCain "condemned" a Tennessee Republican Party press release that used Sen. Barack Obama's middle name. However, the Post did not mention that McCain later touted the endorsement of the Tennessee Republican Party chairman, who was quoted attacking Obama in the press release.

A March 9 Washington Post article about Sen. John McCain's campaign strategy stated that McCain "condemned" a Tennessee Republican Party press release that, in the Post's words, "derisively" used "[Sen. Barack] Obama's middle name." But the article did not note that McCain later touted the endorsement of the Tennessee GOP chairman, who was quoted attacking Obama in the press release.

From the article:

Bill Cunningham, an Ohio shock jock, used Obama's middle name, Hussein, repeatedly and derisively at an event where he introduced McCain. The Tennessee GOP did the same thing in a statement. McCain condemned both.

The February 25 press release by the Tennessee Republican Party was titled "Anti-Semites for Obama," and stated in its original form: "The Tennessee Republican Party today joins a growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States." The party later added a "clarification" to the press release stating that "in order to diffuse attempts by Democrats and the Left to divert attention from the main point of this release ... we have deleted the use of Barack Obama's middle name."

The press release also quoted "Robin Smith, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party," as saying, "Voters need to know about two items that surfaced today which strongly suggest that an Obama presidency will view Israel as a problem rather than a partner for peace in the Middle East." As blogger John Aravosis noted, a March 4 McCain press release titled "Additional RNC Members Endorse John McCain For President" included "Robin Smith, Tennessee" as one of McCain's endorsers. The press release stated: "John McCain thanked the RNC members, saying, 'I am grateful for these RNC delegates' support. Their service to our party has been admirable and I am proud to have them on my team.' "

From the March 9 Washington Post article:

But even as they work to build up McCain's image, his staff and other Republicans are keenly aware of the need to start tearing down the Democratic candidates while they remain consumed with one another.

Each morning, the RNC sends out an e-mail it calls the YAK! to radio talk show hosts across the country. Thursday's YAK!, for instance, urged chatter about Obama's links to Tony Rezko, a Chicago developer on trial for bribery; the "Bruised, Bitter, And 'Combustible' " Clinton campaign; and "Aristocrats And Interest Group Leaders To Decide Democrat Nominee." The RNC also has a full-time employee dedicated to ramping up McCain's message with bloggers.

The effort isn't foolproof, and McCain has already been burned by overeager Republicans who were trying to help. Bill Cunningham, an Ohio shock jock, used Obama's middle name, Hussein, repeatedly and derisively at an event where he introduced McCain. The Tennessee GOP did the same thing in a statement. McCain condemned both.

"People want to get at it," a senior Republican strategist said of the conservative radio hosts and bloggers. "There's a lot of anxiousness. What does that tell you? It tells you that the machine is really anxious to get out. It tells me there are people chomping at the bit to get to work."

Network/Outlet
The Washington Post
Person
Michael Shear
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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