Call: Unsportsmanlike Conduct on McCain Campaign

The sleeze is flying from the McCain camp:

It’s going to be a long ugly 2 months as we settle into general election season and the lies and insults are flying from the right wing and Republican presidential candidate John McCain. McClatchy News, one of the few fair and balanced factions of the media has the goods on McCain’s latest ad against Obama today: “Out of bounds! McCain misstates Obama sex-ed record.”

Throw the flag against: The McCain-Palin campaign.

Call: Unsportsmanlike conduct.

What happened: A new 30-second TV ad attacks Barack Obama’s record on education, saying that Obama backed legislation to teach “‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.” The announcer then says, “Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family.”

Why that’s wrong: This is a deliberately misleading accusation. It came hours after the Obama campaign released a TV ad critical of McCain’s votes on public education. As a state senator in Illinois, Obama did vote for but was not a sponsor of legislation dealing with sex ed for grades K-12.

The legislation that McCain’s ad is referring to “allowed local school boards to teach “age-appropriate” sex education, not comprehensive lessons to kindergartners, and it gave schools the ability to warn young children about inappropriate touching and sexual predators.”

During Obama’s 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, “Republican Alan Keyes tried to use Obama’s vote against him.” 

At the time, Obama spoke about wanting to protect young children from abuse. He made clear then that he was not supporting teaching kindergartners about explicit details of sex.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said Tuesday of McCain’s ad: “It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls.”

Penalty: 15 yards for the McCain campaign’s deliberate low blow.

On the subject of McCain’s “deliberate low blow,” EJ Dionne asks today in the WaPo, “Does the Truth Matter Anymore?” Clearly it doesn’t matter anymore and it has not matter for years when it comes to the Republican’s mode of campaigning.

In fact, “As the presidential campaign moves into a final, heated stretch, untrue accusations and rumors have started to swirl at a pace so quick that they become regarded as fact before they can be disproved.” And as Steve Benen points out on the Washington Monthly, “it creates a process that encourages candidates to lie.”

Voters believe the deception, and some media outlets will run a fact-check item on page A9 that few will notice or care about. As the Republican said, “Little facts don’t really matter.” They’re just pesky details, easily ignored for the purpose of conning voters. Amazing.

Amazing… Yes, but No. We’ve seen this all before, time and time again from the right wing. No is the time to stop the cycle and take the power away from the Republican Noise Machine, before our country faces more irreparable damage from 4 – 8 years of John McSame.

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