Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lipstick, Pigs and Pit Bulls

Far be it from me to pass judgement on another country's politics, but the US Presidential, and Vice-Presidential race is turning out to be riveting. The latest spat has been fuelled by an Internet advert for the McCain campaign,accusing Barack Obama of insulting Sarah Palin, by calling her a "pig". In fact, Obama made no reference to Palin in his speech, when he used the phrase "lipstick on a pig" to describe McCain's policies. The advert linked this remark to Palin's "Pit Bull with Lipstick" comment in her speech to the Republican faithful.

However, in politics, as in war, truth is often the first casualty. It doesn't really matter whether Obama was referring to Palin or not, it's the perception created by the advert that counts. It seems that many people in the US believe that it was a deliberate insult, which creates a problem for the Obama campaign. In my view, the speechwriters should have spotted the potential for harm, and used another phrase.

Every day that the news is about Sarah Palin, rather than the issues, is a good day for the McCain campaign chiefs. They must have been rubbing their hands in glee when Obama unwittingly dropped an opportunity into their laps. There's a long way to go yet,and many twists and turns to come. On this occasion, the McCain camp scored a point. It will be interesting to see how Obama responds.

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