Porcine thoughts

Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen report that Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan introduced Joe Biden at a campaign event today. Referring to Sarah Palin’s record, Carnahan commented: “There’s no way you can dress up that record, even with a lot of lipstick.”

Plying the same theme with respect to McCain-Palin campaign rhetoric in Lebanon, Virginia, Barack Obama asserted: “You can put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.” Given the tittering, shouts and raucous applause from Obama’s audience, even AP reporter Nedra Pickler found Obama’s audience drawing the connection between Obama’s comment and Sarah Palin’s convention joke.

Vandehei and Allen, by contrast, cover for Obama. They assert that “he was clearly talking about the McCain-Palin reform rhetoric.” Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental? Maybe, but the evidence of Carnahan’s remarks referring to Palin strongly suggests otherwise. And if Obama didn’t understand the ugly reference to Palin, he appears to be the only guy in Lebanon who didn’t.

Via Hugh Hewitt.

JOHN adds: Glenn Reynolds has a good roundup of commentary on the pig controversy here. I have mixed feelings about it. Watching the video, I think it’s plausible for Obama to say that he wasn’t talking about Governor Palin. On the other hand–come on. Does he seriously believe, given all the water under the bridge, that he can use the words “lipstick” and “pig” in the same sentence without people thinking he’s taking a shot at Palin? His audience certainly took it that way. Maybe it’s just another example of Obama’s lack of skill on his feet, when he doesn’t have a teleprompter to tell him what to say.

The more interesting question is whether Obama is starting to come apart at the seams. As his party’s Presidential nominee, he should be doing battle with John McCain, not Sarah Palin. But he seemingly can’t help himself. Over the last couple of days, several generally apolitical people have told me that they think Obama has been melting down ever since Palin’s nomination was announced. Hysteria does appear to be sweeping the Obama camp, with over the top attacks on both Palin and McCain. One wonders whether their internal polling numbers are really, really bad.

PAUL adds: McCain threw Obama a curve-ball when he selected Palin, and it has Obama off-balance. Actually, the Palin pick might better be seen as a knuckle-curve. The curve ball consists of the gender card, not completely unexpected but still difficult to deal with. The knuckler consists of Palin’s instant celebrity status. Surely, Obama did not expect to face the prospect of being matched, or even overshadowed, in this category.

I shouldn’t descend into psychologocal conjecture, but I can’t help but wonder whether Obama’s inability to resist doing battle with Palin has something to do with dismay over the emergence of a rival false prophet.

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