October 11, 2008

"No, no ma'am. He's a decent family man with whom I happen to have some disagreements."

John McCain, interrupting a woman who began her question "I'm scared of Barack Obama... he's an Arab terrorist...," from a Swampland blog post titled "McCain Denounces Pitchfork-Wavers."

ADDED: Video:



AND: The video shows that Ana Marie Cox did not transcribe the quote correctly. It's not: "I'm scared of Barack Obama... he's an Arab terrorist..." It's: "I can't trust Obama. I have read about him, and he's not he's not he's a uh he's an Arab." "Terrorist" is simply not there. The McCain quote is a bit off too. He says: "He's a decent family man citizen that I just happen to have some disagreements with on fundamental issues." Don't pin "terrorist" on the little old lady in the audience, and don't pin "whom" on the presidential candidate.

AND: Note that Time's Cox (or whoever did the transcription) not only added "terrorist" but also substituted "scared" for "can't trust." What does that say about the mind of the transcriber? It suggests the press is looking for evidence of fear and fear mongering. I think we're seeing a grasping for more evidence to justify blaming the campaign for deranging the minds of McCain's supporters. But if this woman's concern is that Obama is an Arab and that you can't trust him because of that, then it has nothing much to do with the Ayers connection that the McCain campaign promoted this week. So spike the quote with "terrorism" and "scared."

BUT: If she only said "he's an Arab," why did McCain say "no" and "He's a decent family man citizen..."? "No" makes sense as a simple correction of fact, but why "He's a decent family man citizen" as if Arab-Americans are not decent citizens who care about their families? I think McCain blurted out an accidental, implied ethnic slur.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall is conspicuously struggling to say that the woman -- her name is Gayle Quinnell -- really did say "Arab terrorist":
You can see the video I've embedded below. The gist is that Quinnell apparently did say "Arab terrorist." (ed.note: It would be more accurate to say that she insisted he was one in the interview. It's unclear from interview whether she actually used the second word with McCain.)
No, dammit. Here's the transcript of what she says in the interview. She never says "terrorist." It's obvious that she doesn't say that word to McCain. In the interview, the interviewer tries to put that word in her mouth, but she does not say it.

Here are the relevant parts from the interview transcript:
Quinnell: I’m afraid of what’s going to happen to this country.

Aigner [Adam Aigner of NBC News]: What would you think would happen? Do you think it would become Muslim country and what would that mean?

Quinnell: It would be bad...

Noah Kunin, Senior Political Correspondent from The UpTake: ... And just to be sure to make sure we got your quote OK, you called Obama and Arab terrorist?

Quinnell [P]ardon?

Noah: You called him an Arab terrorist? Is that correct? Why do you think he is an Arab?

Quinnell Because his dad is....
Did she hear the first question and mean to respond to it, or is she responding to the second question that leaves off the word "terrorist"? That's an awfully unfair way to ask the question, and Kunin ought to have followed up and pinned her down. The woman is, 75 and there is noisy music in the background, and she has to lean her head in and say "pardon." Under the circumstances, ascribing the word "terrorist" to her is patently unfair.

Come on, Josh! Take it back.

65 comments:

miller said...

This just proves that all right-wingers are out of their minds.

dKos et al. calling for the death of Bush? Just kiddin' folks.

Some random guy at a REICH RALLY makes a statement that is rejected by the candidate? THEY ARE ALL GOOSESTEPPING FASCISTS.

Really, I'm surprised the polls don't show B. HUSSEIN O. with a 95% vote.

Original George said...

Powerline notes that at the same (?) rally former Sen. Boschwitz got up and publicly told McCain that unless he got more aggressive, he was going to lose.

McCain is boxed. He needs the undecideds to whom Obama holds out the prospect of "change," yet he risks supporters not voting because they don't think he's tough enough.

Tabula rasa Obama won't err as people continue to project their hopes and wishes upon him.

Maybe Bob Schieffer can help.

miller said...

"Tabula rasa Obama" -- I like that. Describes him perfectly.

Expat(ish) said...

Look, he could still pimp smack Obama around without letting some know-nothing call BHO an "arab terrorist."

Look.

"Ma'am, he's not a terrorist, he just think it's okay to hang around with them in his fancy "America is the problem" neighborhood. Plus I think his economic policies will ruin America."

Insert Batman style POW here.

But he's just not built that way.

-XC

EnigmatiCore said...

That woman sounds like a plant. I would love to find out more information about her.

Scrutineer said...

... a woman who began her question "I'm scared of Barack Obama... he's an Arab terrorist...,"

She said "he's an Arab." The "terrorist" part was invented by Ana Marie Cox.

EDH said...

My take is this elderly woman got confused while in the spotlight and was trying to say Muslim rather than Arab.

jdeeripper said...

I seriously wonder how many of the "crazy people coming out of the woodwork" are actually Obama supporters trying to demonize McCain voters.

The Obamadroids are manic on and off the internet. They are willing to use newer techniques.

If I was a droid I would use this technique at rallies or on the internet.

"Kill that n***" is right around the corner, I guarantee it.

Scrutineer said...... a woman who began her question "I'm scared of Barack Obama... he's an Arab terrorist...,"

She said "he's an Arab." The "terrorist" part was invented by Ana Marie Cox.


Is it a kind of racial progress in America that a woman can look at a black candidate and say she opposes him not because he's black but Arab?

I wonder if she knows about Ralph Nader.

Trevor Jackson said...

"I seriously wonder how many of the "crazy people coming out of the woodwork" are actually Obama supporters trying to demonize McCain voters."

Occam, have you seen my razor?

McCain's response IS weird, but I suspect he's not responding to the specific "Arab" charge, but to the implication that he's dangerous and frightening.

It's, of course, hypocritical for McCain to also be running ads at the same time calling Obama "dangerous," but I don't think he's inadvertently smearing Arabs or even Arab-Americans.

Trevor Jackson said...

The more interesting question to me is why he's now trying to calm down the "energy" (Althouse's word from yesterday) he was encouraging and his supporters were displaying all week?

rcocean said...

Why is McCain running around like Phil Donahue?

The questions & questioners should be screened by the campaign.

And the "family man" implies we can trust married men more than single ones. A subtle insult to Gay men

UWS guy said...

Enough with the "plant" conspiracy. If you don't believe some little old ladies in america think Obama is:

1)Arab (read: a terrorist)

and can't:

2) trust him (read: scared of him)

then you're a worse conspiracy theorist then they are. If Obama gets shot I'm betting some of you might try to pin that on a supporter as well.

UWS guy said...

Or do I have to start linking chain letters from conservative friends that hint at his muslim proclivities?

I promise, the people sending me these letters aren't secret Obama supporters.

UWS guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
UWS guy said...

Heck, maybe it's a reverse double secret strategy by McCain (Althouse will enjoy the conspiracy aspect of it).

Because it makes McCain sound like a great and decent man. I actually felt very proud of him when he snatched the microphone away.

q12345q6789 said...

I think you are correct Ann, in your judgment concerning the press corps auto-pilot attacks on McCain/Pailin and anyone who publicly supports them (RE: transcription "errors"). But I think it's really incorrect to say McCain was making some ethnic-slur rather than just trying to assuage the fulminating rancor within his own political rallies. If you want to calm "good, hard-working, family-value voters" down, you say "He's not an arab/muslim [terrorist], he's a family man that I vehemently disagree with..." It's the opposite of an ethnic-slur. The fact is that McCain is so moderate that he can't just let that comment go; he wanted to correct it. He didn't want the people (and the press) to portray his crowds (and therefore him) as propagating these assertions.

L. E. Lee said...

I have written before on this blog that McCain reminds me of Hubert Humphrey's 1968 campaign. McCain, like Humphrey is a decect and honorable man, can not shake the worst of his party and it's policies.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

q#s and l.e.lee-

Well and there's the difference-McCain fights the bad that he sees and knows-Obama goes along because he's so cool.

Again cool,unfeeling-that's not always a good thing.

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

You know what is infuriating about this?

I doubt Obama would trust random members of his audience the citizenry with his mike...

heh.

L. E. Lee said...

Madawaskan-

Obama in every speech pays tribute to McCain's service. So, I don't know what you are talking about.

Original George said...

Are you numb? Freaking? Not sure? Both?

Bad meltdown. Could get worse. Probably will.

End of world? No.

Feel like it? For some.

Not as bad in the US as elsewhere. Be grateful.

Annuit coeptis: God smiles on fools and drunks.

Pundit Joe said...

Ah, one more misquote that will enter the lexicon. The corrections never seem to travel fast or far enough to catch the errors.

Heck, there are still folks talking about Bush and a plastic turkey in Iraq(thoroughly debunked) from years ago. (Tim Blair has kept a running tally of the plastic turkey stories. lol)

UWS guy said...

Madawaskan has a point though. If enough Obama supporters had microphones and started lathering up in a warm bath of Bush impeachment rhetoric it would turn off a lot of moderate voters (i.e. althouse).

Or if some code pink member started a verbal colonic about baby-killing troops, I imagine that wouldn't be swell either.

The real issue is none of Obama's supporters I think would cause fears about the safety to McCain person as is the fear for Obama's personal safety. (in a way, Palin is the "Obama's mexican running mate" for McCain--if you follow chris rock routines).

jimspice said...

If only we had a system that would encourage a strong third (and fourth, and ...) party, we could relegate the yahoos to their own little corners and the socially accepting, fiscally responsible among us could actually get something accomplished.

spice

marklewin said...

Goes to show you the disinhibiting effect of the seemingly ubiquitious far right and far left attack speech.

There was a study done several years ago in a small Canadian town, pre- and post- the introduction of cable TV. Levels of depression and anger rose significantly in the town after the introduction of cable television.

Words can effect physiology, thoughts, feelings, and behavior. So politicians, media, and bloggers - keep those incessant, distorted, overgeneralized, polarized, and unbalanced depictions coming.

Seneca the Younger said...

I think McCain blurted out an accidental, implied ethnic slur.

I think you've been lawyering too much.

"When correctly viewed, everything is lewd."

downtownlad said...

Rush Limbaugh is behind the "Obama is an Arab" lie.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200809220015?view=print

Jen Bradford said...

Over the past couple of weeks I keep picturing the scene in All The President's Men where Segretti describes their stunts and actually comes off as a semi-sympathetic character. It wouldn't shock me at all to learn that people have shown up at McCain rallies to act like racist loons.

It hardly matters since I also know there are plenty of people who really are dumb enough to think Obama's association with Ayers makes him a "terrorist". He's just a guy who is a lousy judge of character when dealing with people who serve his political interests.

Full circle: I was thinking about Dustin Hoffman because he lived next door to the apartment the weathermen blew up on 18 W 11th. In the Weathermen Underground documentary there's a passing shot of him on the street looking at the wreckage.

Jen Bradford said...

I censored myself originally, but now that I've seen Titus' post, I guess the term ratfucking might not be off-limits.

Revenant said...

It is the usual left-wing media "fake but accurate" schtick. Since they know in their hearts that McCain supporters think Obama is a terrorist, they just invent a quote of a McCain supporter saying that.

dualdiagnosis said...

Why do these memes have the ability to take hold so quickly across the msm and the blogosphere?

I can't believe there would be coordination on the level needed to pull off this latest one so well, what is in people's perception of McCain, Republicans, the Right that this type of thing, including "errors", takes off with such velocity?

Paul Snively said...

Original George: Annuit coeptis: God smiles on fools and drunks.

"God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States of America." — Otto von Bismarck

Let us pray that Prince von Bismarck was correct.

LonewackoDotCom said...

1. McCain shows how much he's willing to buy into and assist the Dems with comments like this. They've been clearly trying to portray his supporters as a mob; even Althouse noticed it. So, what does he do? He plays into that. And, what does he get? More of the same from the same sources. If he wanted to tell his supporters to stop saying the rare stupid thing, there's a way to do that. And, it would also include pointing out what the MSM was trying to do. And, it would include encouraging his readers to work against the MSM.

2. On the last point, how many people here have Swampland accounts? I've posted dozens of comments there pointing out their lies and calling them on their lack of real reporting, but I'm frequently the only one over there who isn't on their side. I just can't believe that more people aren't willing to spend the little time it would take to discredit people like ACM, JoeKlein, or KarenTumulty. Time has millions of subscribers, and if you hammer their hacks at Swampland hard enough it would bubble upward into the print edition.

3. Along those same lines, here's how to defeat Barack Obama.

Original Mike said...

The video shows that Ana Marie Cox did not transcribe the quote correctly.

Come on, Ann. She did not incorrectly transcribe the quote. She made it up. This is the kind of thing that rises to the level of lying.

Though I've now seen it many times, I am still appalled that "journalists" will put quote marks around words they know the speaker did not say. It was exactly this kind of thing, the caviler treatment of quotes, always to the detriment of the people they oppose, which is at the root of my disgust of the New York Times (to name one prominent member of the MSM).

amba said...

McCain used the word "scared" in another clip in the same compilation. He said, approximately, "You don't have to be scared of Barack Obama being president." That was inexcusably sloppy "transcribing", but the word didn't come out of nowhere.

(Some have objected, "oh yes you do have to be scared" but not in the boogeyman sense intended by these poor terrorized questioners -- in a more sophisticated and figurative political sense, scared of having your taxes raised, etc.)

amba said...

The woman didn't sound like a plant. She sounded sincerely frightened and ignorant.

dualdiagnosis said...

Amba said- "McCain used the word "scared" in another clip in the same compilation. He said, approximately, "You don't have to be scared of Barack Obama being president." That was inexcusably sloppy "transcribing", but the word didn't come out of nowhere."

I love this type of thinking- "the word didn't come out of nowhere"

amba said...

The more interesting question to me is why he's now trying to calm down the 'energy' (Althouse's word from yesterday) he was encouraging and his supporters were displaying all week?

I don't know if the clip Ann has up is the same compilation I have, but shortly after saying he wants everyone to be respectful, McCain, as if sensing he's lost the crowd, raises his voice and cries out plaintively [wording approximate], "But that doesn't mean you have to give up your ferocity!"

Can you have "ferocity" based on reason and not primitive fear?

Jennifer said...

I think your BUT is flawed. "No" is clear. The woman's statement is factually incorrect and McCain simultaneously stops her and disagrees with her. Then he moves on to generality - "he's a decent family man blah blah".

Would "no ma'am, he's half Kenyan and half white" have made any sense as a response? Not really because Obama's specific ethnicity wasn't the issue and it wasn't the way McCain framed his reponse. His response was essentially whatever it is that makes you think Obama is some scary odd creature, you're wrong - he's a decent fellow but I think I'll be a better president.

amba said...

McCain is so moderate that he can't just let that comment go

You mean that if he were a real conservative he'd not only let it go but send it on its way with a little extra English? Please. You don't have to be "moderate" to be decent, right?

amba said...

A quite wealthy and well-educated friend of mine (who dreads having his taxes raised, only to have the government waste his hard-husbanded wealth on wrongheaded inefficiency) actually, credulously told me of the "Obama is an Arab African" meme.

I dunno: seeing his father's picture kinda blows that away.

amba said...

Dual -- when I say the word didn't come out of nowhere, I literally mean Ana Marie or whatever her name is didn't "make it up." She scrambled the two video clips together, inserting it from another context, which is (if she's stupid) sloppy and uncaring, like getting it right doesn't matter, and (if she's clever) designed to make people go, "I know I heard that word, so it must belong there." What I said is not intended to exonerate her, it's intended to get the story straight. If they can't, we can, at least, right?

amba said...

Dual -- when I say the word didn't come out of nowhere, I literally mean Ana Marie or whatever her name is didn't "make it up." She scrambled the two video clips together, inserting it from another context, which is (if she's stupid) sloppy and uncaring, like getting it right doesn't matter, and (if she's clever) designed to make people go, "I know I heard that word, so it must belong there." What I said is not intended to exonerate her, it's intended to get the story straight. If they can't, we can, at least, right?

Michael_H said...

Is Obama an American citizen? This YouTubevideo features an prominent New Jersey Democrat party member who thinks Obama may not be a U.S. citizen, and has sued Obama to produce a birth certificate proving his American citizenship.

Original George said...

Time Mag. named Cox its Washington editor in July 2006.

Before that, Cox was editor of Gawker's Wonkette. "Under her tenure, Wonkette became known for its sharp, sarcastic, intelligent voice, and for its mixture of heady political discourse with repeated references to gin and anal sex," says Wikipedia.

Before that was executive editor of Suck.com

In April 2008 kos reprinted this item from her facebook page:

"No longer a Time staffer, but a contractor. More freedom, fewer guarantees, no corp Amex. Net gain, y? Ack. Will cover campaign for food!

Now accepting freelance gigs, paid speaking engagments and babysitting jobs. Also yard work. And may I squeegeee your windshield, sir?"

Henry Luce would weep.

Original George said...

Someone somewhere above commented that Huckabee was nuts to recently suggest that the financial crisis was somehow related to Mid-East terrorism.

Lo and behold, this is what's being discussed on places like Counterterrorism Blog:

"What some oil regimes -- or the ideological forces within -- want to accomplish from this alleged interference in US economics is to provoke a “regime change” in Washington, D.C., so that regimes in their region are not challenged anymore. But another issue is also coming to the surface: pressures against America’s financial structures seem to have escalated in parallel to increasing US talk and commitment to achieving energy independence. Since last April, the American debate finally reached a dramatic conclusion: “We’re sending 700 Billion Dollars a year to regimes that dislike us;” agree most national leaders; “and furthermore some of that money is ending up in the hands or accounts of Terrorists”

It seems that al-Qaeda in June also said: "[I advise you] to get rid of [your] American dollars... and buy gold instead... or real estate. The next attack inside the U.S. is imminent... Zawahiri will convey his instructions [regarding this attack] in his next [message]... This attack will put an end to the so-called United States of America and destroy its economy completely... The day of the attack is very near..." And here

Shanna said...

Because it makes McCain sound like a great and decent man. I actually felt very proud of him when he snatched the microphone away.

I'm glad to hear this, because this is my thought as well. McCain is a good man. Whether you agree with him on issues or not is not the point. He feels like I do about politics, I suspect. That it is dangerous to turn your opponent into a demon or use words like "evil" to refer to people who have a different opinion.

I welcome it, even if he ends up losing (I don't want him to lose). I'm glad he acts this way. Good on you, John.

rhhardin said...

I think McCain blurted out an accidental, implied ethnic slur.

PC aims to stifle language in general.

If she's afraid he's an arab, she's thinking of a pretty specific type; which is what McCain is replying to.

Duscany said...

Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers is hardly the old news that some have suggested. Obama was 41 years old when Ayers said that his only regret was that he didn't do more bombing. Ayers didn't mention the Weather Underground's killing of a black cop. I guess he regrets they didn't kill more black cops too.

Obama obviously knew all this when he endorsed Ayer's book on education (if he didn't he's not fit to be president). He just didn't care. Like many leftists he didn't think the Weather Underground goals were wrong, only that they went about them the wrong way--they should have set fewer bombs and applied for more community action grants, like ACORN does.

Duscany said...

One other strange thing about this election. James Carville suggested the other day that blacks would riot if Obama lost the election. Now we have Frank Rich of the NYTs suggesting that whites will riot if Obama wins.

And I still don't get why Obama thinks he's a black man. Having a black father doesn't make you black any more than having a white mother makes you white.

Peter Blogdanovich said...

The notion that Obama is really a great guy who's just like us only accidentally hung out with a few bad eggs is galling. This country is going to feel pretty stupid if that guy gets into the White House and starts (predictably) acting like Hugo Chavez. A people really does deserve the government it gets.

jdeeripper said...

Duscany said...One other strange thing about this election. James Carville suggested the other day that blacks would riot if Obama lost the election. Now we have Frank Rich of the NYTs suggesting that whites will riot if Obama wins.

Is there any chance that whites and blacks can unite to kill off James Carville and Frank Rich?

Rose said...

I see no ethnic slur there, but a statement that addresses not just that woman's statement, but the many others it represents - it's simply saying, look, he's not scary, he's a man running for President. We many not like him, or his values, or his record, but he is a decent human being, as are all the men who threw their hat in the ring.

We demonize our contenders, as part of the vetting and honing process. Let's not forget that, he is the cream of the crop on the other side. (Presumably) He wouldn't be here if he were a bad man.

That's what McCain is trying to communicate.

The more I find out, and the more the media refuses to look into, the more I am not so damn sure that he is the cream of the crop on the other side.

But - I don't see any racial slur in there, except if someone is looking to make an issue in the way the shortsighted left always does.

downtownlad said...

Obama has produced his birth certificate. When can we see Trig Palin's birth certificate?

philmon said...

You can say whatever you want about a white person, and if he doesn't like it... tough.

Anything you say about a non-white, if someone doesn't like it, is guaranteed to be interpreted by someone as racism. Often that person doing the interpreting is white as well. I think they do this to impale themselves upon the altar of racial political correctness, in order to atone for perceived sins and gain approval from their peers and the race of the person(s) the thing was said about.

If comments supporters make at McCain rallies can be pointed out as "anger" on the American right, can we please have a little more scrutiny of the "Bush is Hitler", "Little Eichmann" crowd?

As for the quotes ... "You can't trust him..." - "No ... he's a decent man." No need to read anything racial into that. Unless, of course, you're hell bent on it. Which describes the Left pretty well, doesn't it?

Did McCain not defend Obama here? Did he not immediately and clearly distance his view from the "supporter"?

UnaffiliatedIndie said...

1) John McCain was not 'subtly racist' in responding to the woman as if she had said 'arab terrorist' rather than just 'arab' ... he was correctly responding to the context from which she picked up her bad information ... bogus chain emails circulating the net claiming Obama is (a) muslim and/or (b) supported by arab terrorists.

(2) John McCain is not making a 'subtle dig at gays,' by mentioning Obama is a responsible 'family man.' The poster is doing just that by implying gays don't have families and can't be responsible family men?

(3) I am a 25-yr. registered Republican who's gone independent this year, supporting Obama, but give credit where credit is due. That was "the old John McCain" whom I supported against Bush 8 years ago ... I haven't him seen for a while and it was nice to. Good for him for countering that silliness.

AlphaLiberal said...

I didn't hear her say "terrorist," but I did hear her say "Arab." The transcript of the cell phone video showed that the woman did not reject the "terrorist" label. She was cut off by McCain while speaking so we don't know.

And Josh Marshall is quite right that the woman is repeating what she's been told by McCain supporters. She has all that "information" at home.

And, who do you think sent that false and lying information around? McCain supporters.

And the woman was surprised that McCain stopped her from saying Obama is an Arab. Why? Because that's the message she's getting from the right wing echo machine.

Fixate on one word if you must,. Or, stand back and see the bigger picture of a McCain-Palin campaign inventing smears.

Ann Althouse said...

Alpha, I analyzed that transcript in the post and the video, and I think it's flat wrong to attribute "terrorist" to the woman. Really unfair. It undermines your credibility to go there.

Fletch said...

jdeeripper-

Is there any chance that whites and blacks can unite to kill off James Carville and Frank Rich?

You can't kill Carville, you can only hope to contain him...

  said...

You got a link to this blog over at MichelleMalkin.com

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/10/12/crush-the-obamedia-narrative-look-whos-gripped-by-insane-rage

tisk tisk on your lying Ann!

Paula said...

Have all you people still arguing that this poor woman meant to call Obama a terrorist actually listened to the conversation?

Woman: I can't trust Obama.

McCain: I got [inaudible]...

Woman: I, I have read about him and he's not, he's not, he's a, uh, he's an Arab. He is not...

McCain: No, ma'am. No, ma'am.

Woman: No?

McCain: No, ma'am. [And so on.]

Okay, so McCain cut her off, but since she started her next sentence with "He is not," she was clearly not getting ready to say he's a terroist.

Poor thing was all rattled and the person interviewing her took advantage.

knowitall said...

The Ivy League illuminati weren't the only tolerants on the campaign trail. Dismissing dishonest character attacks was also handled by the non-liberal political side as well.

Bob said...

I think enough people saw the raw footage of the woman saying "Arab" not "terrorist" to know what she said.

But saying he's an arab, as if that is a problem is bad enough. She might not be calling Obama a terrorist, but she is still an anti-arab racist.

McCain did the right thing by correcting her.