Halperin: Media attention to "lipstick on a pig" comment "playing into the McCain campaign's crocodile tears"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

On CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Time's Mark Halperin characterized the recent media attention to Sen. Barack Obama's comment that "[y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" as "a low point in the day ... and one of the low days of our collective coverage of this campaign." Halperin went on to say, "I think this is the press just absolutely playing into the McCain campaign's crocodile tears."

On the September 9 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin characterized the recent media attention to Sen. Barack Obama's comment that "[y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" as "a low point in the day ... and one of the low days of our collective coverage of this campaign."

Halperin also asserted: "Stop the madness. I mean, this is, I think -- with all due respect to the program's focus on this and to what [CNN senior political analyst] David [Gergen] just said -- I think this is the press just absolutely playing into the McCain campaign's crocodile tears." Halperin went on to say: "They know exactly what he was saying. It's an expression. And this is a victory for the McCain campaign, in the sense that, every day, they can make this a pig fight in the mud. It's good for them, because it's reducing Barack Obama's message even more."

As Media Matters for America documented, The Wall Street Journal's Amy Chozick baselessly asserted that Obama's statement that "[y]ou can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig" "played on [Gov. Sarah] Palin's joke during the Republican National Convention that the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom was lipstick" when in fact Obama was referring to Sen. John McCain's policy platform.

A video clip posted on YouTube contains part of Obama's comments leading up to the "lipstick on a pig" expression:

OBAMA: Let's just list this for a second. John McCain says he's about change, too, except -- and so I guess his whole angle is, "Watch out, George Bush. Except for economic policy, health-care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy, and Karl Rove-style politics, we're really gonna shake things up in Washington." That's not change; that's just calling some -- the same thing -- something different. But you know, you can -- you know, you can put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig.

After Halperin stated: "[T]o spend even a minute on this expression, I think, is amazing and outrageous," host Anderson Cooper responded: "Right. Let's move on."

From the September 9 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:

COOPER: We're also joined now CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen, and Time magazine's political guru, Mark Halperin. David, much ado about nothing?

GERGEN: Yeah, it was -- listen, you can say all you want. John McCain said this about Hillary Clinton's health care proposal, but it was still a foolish thing for Barack Obama to say, because every night is precious for him, Anderson, in terms of getting his message out. This is one night lost on your program, where his message got muffled by this silliness over lipstick on a pig.

COOPER: It -- Mark, you're shaking your head.

HALPERIN: Stop the madness. I mean, this is, I think -- with all due respect to the program's focus on this and to what David just said -- I think this is the press just absolutely playing into the McCain campaign's crocodile tears. I wouldn't --

COOPER: Crocodile tears?

HALPERIN: Yeah. They don't think this is sexist.

COOPER: They know exactly what it is.

HALPERIN: They know exactly what he was saying. It's an expression. And this is a victory for the McCain campaign, in the sense that, every day, they can make this a pig fight in the mud. It's good for them, because it's reducing Barack Obama's message even more.

But I think this is a low point in the day in his -- and one of the low days of our collective coverage of this campaign. To make even -- to spend even a minute --

COOPER: Right.

HALPERIN: -- on this expression, I think, is amazing and outrageous.

COOPER: Let's move on.

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Gender, Elections
Person
Mark Halperin
Show/Publication
Anderson Cooper 360
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.