Soren Dayton, who works in McCain's political department, sent out the YouTube link of "Is Obama Wright?" on twitter at 12:31 today with the tag, "Good video on Obama and Wright." It has since been taken down....Here's the video, which I am not embedding with approval. It's plainly offensive and intended to stir up racial hostility:
McCain and his campaign have repeatedly said that they would stay away from personal attacks on Obama, but the temptation has increased as Wright's words have dominated the race in recent days.
ADDED: Let's look at some of the reaction (as collected at Memeorandum). Matt Lewis at Townhall objects to suspending Dayton, because all he did was pass the video along, Obama deserves to be attacked about Wright, it may inhibit others in the campaign from "doing their job," and Twitter culture is such that "Dayton most likely didn't think he was Twittering in an 'official' capacity."
Ed Morrissey writes:
I’m conflicted by this. I know Soren, and he’s a pretty good guy. He didn’t create the YouTube, and... it doesn’t do anything except show Wright, Obama, and his wife Michelle speaking for themselves.!
It doesn’t do anything except show Wright, Obama, and his wife Michelle speaking for themselves.
However, McCain has nothing to gain and a lot to lose by getting involved in this controversy....Wow, I'm amazed at Morrissey's insensitivity to that video. My concern was that McCain hadn't distanced himself enough from Soren Dayton and that the campaign should have had safeguards in place in advance to avoid any connection to this kind of trash.
McCain needs to take some action to show how seriously he wants to remain a disinterested observer in the coming meltdown. That means Soren has to get publicly disciplined, unfortunately. I doubt he’ll be on the sidelines for long. It may not be fair, but … it’s politics.
James Joyner writes:
Does the video play on the fears that some whites have about angry black men? Sure. Mostly, though, it seeks to undermine Obama’s portrait of himself as mainstream. It’s more than a little unfair but that’s the nature of these mashups....Going viral with racial material is different. It's a rough world, and Twittering and YouTube are going to be part of politics, but the campaign needs to have standards and set limits.
Would I like to see campaigns waged on a higher plane than this? You bet. But it’s not going to happen....
I might add that the Obama campaign has benefited from at least three other viral videos. The “Hillary 1984” video was very powerful in knocking down the original frontrunner. The “Obama Girl” video was vapid but got a lot of attention for demonstrating Obama’s appeal to young voters. The “Yes We Can” video was an internet sensation which spawned numerous imitators, including a “McCain 10,000 Years” video which itself went viral. So, now, another vapid video is working against him. That’s politics.
Daniel DiRito writes:
Yes, Senator McCain has suspended a staff member who was found to be distributing the video. Unfortunately, the GOP has refined the tactic of disseminating fear and falsehoods while maintaining the deniability of their candidates.I'm not quite sure how those 2 sentences fit together, but the McCain campaign should be absolutely above using this kind of racial material.
Oliver Willis writes:
The base impulse of the modern conservative movement - especially the blogosphere and talk radio contingents - is to always appeal to base elements. Racism, sexism, smearing opponents as the worst things possible, they come as easy to the right as breathing. Dayton just made the mistake of getting caught in public. Don’t think the campaign and the party aren’t doing the same or worse behind closed doors.The McCain campaign needs to ensure that Willis is wrong.