Monday, February 25, 2008

Forget whispers; it's an all-out scream campaign

Barack Obama has managed to this point to effectively quell mainstream skepticism about his religious background. The whisper campaign about it -- "He is secretly a Muslim," "His name rhymes with Osama," and "After all, his middle name is 'Hussein,' y'all" -- have prompted Obama to post a separate page about it on his web site.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. Witness the latest actions of Hillary Clinton surrogates, who are circulating a photo of Obama dressed as in traditional Somali garb:

The photo was taken in 2006 while Obama was on a five-country tour of Africa, according to the Drudge Report.

The Clinton staffers were apparently trying to make the point that mainstream media has glossed over religious issues where Obama is concerned. "Wouldn't we be seeing this on the cover of every magazine if it were HRC?" one is quoted as saying.

But the Obama campaign dismisses that argument as smoke and mirrors meant simply as an excuse to display the photo. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe called the move "part of a disturbing pattern" and blasted it as "the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we've seen from either party in this election."

Did I mention that MSNBC will host the two Democratic candidates in a debate in Ohio tomorrow night at 8 p.m. CST?

So ... coming on the heels of Hillary's finger-jabbing temper tantrum Saturday, this incident has the potential to, as Emeril would say, "kick it up a notch."