McCain Signs Weren’t “Grassroots”

Hi there. Hart Williams here. I am guest-blogging for a few days at the kind invitation of Pamela Leavey, and it’s good to see you.

Here’s something that you might have seen and not quite noticed. …

Let’s pass over the Rovian Campaign of McCain’s dual smoke screen/smears, the ACORN kerfuffle to mask REAL voter disenfranchisement, and the continuing bogus attack on Ayers (guilt by free association), as shoved forward by Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. But keep them in mind as you read this. They’re all of a piece.

In last night’s debate, John McCain made a huffy defense of the people at his rallies, yelling out those awful things:

MCCAIN: Let me just say categorically I’m proud of the people that come to our rallies. Whenever you get a large rally of 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 people, you’re going to have some fringe peoples. You know that. And I’ve — and we’ve always said that that’s not appropriate.

But to somehow say that group of young women who said “Military wives for McCain” are somehow saying anything derogatory about you, but anything — and those veterans that wear those hats that say “World War II, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq,” I’m not going to stand for people saying that the people that come to my rallies are anything but the most dedicated, patriotic men and women that are in this nation and they’re great citizens.

And I’m not going to stand for somebody saying that because someone yelled something at a rally — there’s a lot of things that have been yelled at your rallies, Senator Obama, that I’m not happy about either.

In fact, some T-shirts that are very…

OBAMA: John, I…

MCCAIN: … unacceptable. So the point is — the point is that I have repudiated every time someone’s been out of line, whether they’ve been part of my campaign or not, and I will continue to do that.

But he probably didn’t need to defend his audiences. At least some of it, if not all, came directly from the campaign as “home made” and “grass roots” signs. (It’s an old political trick: I still have some of the “home made” signs we were handed at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. One of them says “Thank You President Clinton” with stars and happy polka dots. But they were professionally produced, just like the signs below, and, as an ex-art director for an LA record company, I can tell you what gives them away:

The professional can’t hide his professionalism. It’s like the “stick man” drawings you see in movies, or in ads: they’re still professionally composed and laid out. Amateur stuff always LOOKS amateur. In the way a professional boxer can’t hide his fighting skills in a fight, a professional graphic artist can’t hide his design skills on a “home made” sign. Look closely at the second picture below, it’s glaring.

Don’t think that the smears were accidental. Here’s some signs from Monday, October 13’s Virginia Beach, Virginia McCain-Palin rally (the first place in a month and more where Cindy McCain was not dressed monochromatically. A PATTERN, even!):

Note how perfect the “homemade” lettering is.
Don’t believe me? Look at the 2 signs below,
from the same rally. SURE, they “smuggled”
these past the Secret Service. Right. Uh huh.

From Getty Images; here’s the caption:

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – OCTOBER 13: Supporters hold up signs
during a rally for Republican presidential candidate Sen. John
McCain (R-AZ) and his running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
at the Virginia Beach Convention Center October 13, 2008 in
Virginia Beach, Virginia. About 15,000 people turned out to see
Palin and her running mate Republican presidential candidate
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

But, isn’t that ODD? Signs are PROHIBITED at McCain rallies (unless handed out by the campaign):

Road to Victory Rally: October 16th in Elon, NC
Join Governor Sarah Palin for a North Carolina Road to Victory Rally

Thursday, October 16, 2008 Doors Open at 12:00 PM
Latham Park (Baseball Stadium) Elon University Elon, NC 27244

The Republican Vice Presidential Nominee will be returning to North Carolina on Tuesday, October 16th, for another Road to Victory Rally.

Make plans now to attend the event! Tickets will be available for pickup beginning on Tuesday at 12:00 PM at the the Victory Offices listed below. Tickets are limited to two per-person and will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Please note that ticket does not guarantee entry to the event. Entry will also be on a first-come, first-serve basis to those carrying tickets, so please be sure to arrive early! Parking for the event will be available at Firehouse Field on Williamson Avenue. For security reasons, bags and signs are prohibited inside the venue.

[emphasis added]


Road to Victory Rally: Friday October 17th in Miami, FL
What: Road to Victory Rally: Friday October 17th in Miami, FL

When: October 17, 2008 11:00 a.m.

Where: FIU Arena: Florida International University
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199

Please join Senator John McCain for a Road to Victory Rally in Miami, FL Friday October 17th

FIU Arena
Florida International University
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199

Doors Open at 11:00 a.m.

Tickets may be picked up beginning on Wednesday at 10:00 AM. Tickets are available at the Victory Offices listed below.

Guests are encouraged to arrive early and are subject to security screening. Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: oversized bags, food and beverages of any kind, weapons, and signs.


For more information, please call (850) 391-4219 or email

[emphasis added. The RED is from the McCain site.]

Now, I can find you several more examples, but the constant that holds is that SIGNS are prohibited. And, while the monkey might have been that guy’s idea and he COULD —  just MAYBE — have smjggled it in (and his weird crumbling of the Obama sticker and handing the stuffed monkey to a kid) on Sunday (see HERE), this sign was NOT folded or crumpled, and the Secret Service for damn sure didn’t let the “Obama bin Lyin’” signs in at Virginia Beach.

smuggled past the Secret Service? Really?

Which means …

“Obama bin Lyin’” is a conscious and deliberate tactic by the McCain campaign. Period.

I’m finally (see “String Theory“) not the only blogger who’s noticed this:

Daily Kos: Obama bin lying signs. Where do they come from?


“Obama Bin Lyin’” Sign At McCain Rally

“Every rally I have been to has had someone from the campaign passing out signs. McCain’s staff created those signs for the women to hold up” * (* see the comments)

And  and HERE, HERE and HERE.

And, most tellingly

McCain Volunteers Taught to Accuse Obama of Terrorism

According to Time, McCain campaign staffers in Virginia are teaching volunteers to see Barack Obama as having terrorist ‘friends,’ and then providing these volunteers with arguments for persuading voters that Sen. Obama, like Osama Bin Laden, shares responsibility for bombings of the Pentagon.

The report from inside the McCain campaign brings to light an alarming fact: while McCain tells his supporters publicly to refrain from violent rhetoric, he continues to teach his volunteers rhetoric designed to elicit violent responses. … [MORE]

Read the story. A TIME staffer attended a McCain Virginia training session and writes a chilling ‘fly on the wall’ report that pretty much nails down the thesis anywhere outside of a court of law.

Now, just think about that for a moment, and think about what that means. And then think about McCain’s “righteous indignation” that John Lewis would raise the specter of the incredible stain of racism and the danger of stoking its fires. And realize that these people have no shame, the Rovian Campaign of McCain. But, finally, it is John McCain’s responsibility — his and his alone.

But it actually went further. They were actually YELLING “OBAMA BIN LYIN!” at Virginia Beach, as well. From YouTube:

They are trying to have their cake and eat it too. Which is why McCain took one day to “tamp” down the Obama hating, a little, and then went RIGHT BACK TO IT.

Let me say that again:

Every time we see one of those signs, we are looking at a conscious, deliberate act by the McCain campaign to increase the fear factor….

Make no mistake: John McCain is personally responsible, whether he directly told staff to do it or not. OK? Not exactly “country first.”

It would be interesting if any of our media started LOOKING for the “homemade” signs in the audience over the next couple of weeks. Those aren’t “audience members” holding them up, they didn’t come from outside, and the intention is clear enough even to a blind dog.

Although not to a lawyer.



A slightly different version of this post is crossposted at my blog, ‘his vorpal sword.’

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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7 Responses to McCain Signs Weren’t “Grassroots”

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    I’m still not sure how M/P campaigning to the right wing fringe is going to translate into an election win, but I sure hope they keep it up. Not only are there just not enough votes there, but the act of pandering to them resonates poorly with many folks whose votes they really need.

  2. The more lunatic they seem the better for Obama. (The lunatics are lost anyway.)

    Super well documented post, Hart.

  3. Hart Williams says:

    Thank you, Stuart.I think this election, as you say, Darrell, the GOP hasn’t read the old fairy tale, “The Little Party Who Cried Wolfowitz.”But they’ve launched a blizzard of BS anyway, seemingly in desperation.

  4. Darrell Prows says:

    The GOP is a non-stop BS blizzard but there are strong sings that it’s counterproductive this time. I think folks focus better when times start to get really tough.

  5. Hart

    It’s a pleasure to have you guest posting! Thank you my friend. Maine or Bust everyone! 🙂

  6. Excuse me, but homemade signs are allowed at Mccain rallies.  Military Wives 4 Mccain is a completely grassroots organization and the ladies made their signs or shirts for the Wilmington, NC rally.

  7. Hart Williams says:

    If you say so, Chris. I am sure that those Secret Service prohibitions didn’t mean what I thought they meant. Were the military wives carrying “Obama bin lyin” signs, as well?