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Friday Reflection: Rothschilds, Rednecks and John McCain

Our favorite political story of the week by far was news of John McCain's highly touted endorsement from one Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a "Hillraiser" who chose to support the GOP presidential nominee over Barack Obama, the man who defeated her dear friend Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary.

De Rothschild didn't stop making news with her endorsement. Later in the week, the famously wealthy London socialite went on to call those working-class Americans who Obama insulted during the primary "rednecks."

"Barack Obama went and called the people who have guns and cling to their religion bitter," de Rothschild told CNN's Campbell Brown. "The people out - who are the rednecks or whatever - are bitter."

Click here to watch a YouTube clip of milady's redneck riff. When, do you suppose, was the last time Lady de Rothschild knocked back a few Pabst Blue Ribbons with a redneck, perhaps over NASCAR or wrestling?

The GOP presidential campaign made much ado this week over the New Jersey-born Baroness for Hillary crossing over to become an Aristocrat for McCain - in the midst, of course, of the nation's worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression, and as both McCain and Obama are desperately trying to woo middle-class voters hit hardest by the ongoing credit crisis. But hey, far be it from the Sleuth to judge when a presidential candidate should roll out the red carpet for a baroness embracing him with open arms and purse.

Lady de Rothschild's decision to back McCain may have had less to do with loyalty to Hillary than it did in joining the rest of the aristocratic clan she married into.

The Rothschilds lent their name and historic property for a fundraiser held for McCain back in March at the storied Spencer House, which is owned by the famous banking family of England. (Mrs. de Rothschild's husband, Sir Evelyn Rothschild, recently sold his stake in the family banking empire, for a reported $600 million.)

Lady de Rothschild - "the flashiest hostess in London," as Portfolio magazine calls her - says she'll be spending much of her time between now and Election Day campaigning for McCain.

But something tells us we probably won't be seeing as much of milady as she thinks we will. Would she really be the most appealing of McCain surrogates to all those "rednecks" clinging to their 401k plans?

By Mary Ann Akers  |  September 19, 2008; 1:28 PM ET
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Now all McCain needs is an endorsement from the royal family of Monaco. That poor-redneck-Prince Albert

Posted by: :-) | September 19, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann…get the July 08 issue of British Vogue and read the interview with Mrs. de Rothchild. The following are some quotes from the article.

"But her background was nondescript white picket-fence New Jersey.”

"I came from a very claustrophobic, typical suburban American town, and I just couldn't wait to get out of there."

The article further states, "In her political ambitions, Lynn is a twenty first century version of Pamela Harriman, who famously ensured Bill Clinton got the Democratic nomination in 1992 and then became US Ambassador to Paris”

Like Harriman, Lynn is deeply entrenched in Democrat party politics and, although she denies having any personal political ambitions, diplomatic circles in London are buzzing with the perfectly reasonable idea that were she to become president, Hillary Clinton would reward her close friend and fundraiser with the post of American Ambassador in London.”

So have we come upon the REAL reason why Mrs. de Rothchild has made the rather easy leap (for her) from attentive committed Democrat to enthusiastic Republican?

Mrs.Clinton can no longer offer up an American Ambassadorship in London to the woman who has everything. And of course Senator Obama is much to elitist for her to suppose she could expect such an appointment from him.

Ah, but John McCain if he should win could certainly offer up this prize of all prizes to Lynn Forester de Rothchild.

He and she will have to dance around that "redneck" statement, but a girl with three or four homes and a guy with 7 homes ought to be able to make beautiful music.

Are we getting close Lynn??? An Ambassadorship for the girl who has everything?

You wear only Chanel and Valentino and now Sarah Palin wears Valentino...girls' bonding?

Posted by: anghiari | September 19, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

You can't make this stuff up! I guess she is tired of hanging out with the elite.
She ought to go moose hunting with Alaska's 'first dude'! From 'dress to kill' to 'dress the kill'.

Posted by: thebob.bob | September 19, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

When I first saw the de Rothschild endorsement, it took me awhile before I could stop laughing.

This is a coup?

Maybe if the intention is to be perceived as Marie Antoinette.

As for Palin, maybe you can do a future piece on why she allowed the $26 million 'road to nowhere' project to proceed after the bridge project got cancelled?

Despite protests, Palin let work proceed on a $26 million road that will probably never be used.

I have the piece at:

Posted by: scootmandubious | September 19, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

why would lady lynne de rothschild want to support a candidate who would put the u.s. into a 1929 state of depression?
MCC all the way!

Posted by: sheila | September 19, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I am happy to accept the endorsement of Roth whatever her name is. That's right, it is a privilege to have such an esteem notable join my caravan of rednecks, racists and most other dredges of society, as we look to continue 4 more years of failure and pestilence. Who among you will not face emptiness? My friends, George did his part to help things along, but there is much more work to be done. Vote for me John McCain and let us drive this once great nation into the dung heap of civilization.

Posted by: JohnMcCain | September 19, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm so darn fed up with all the 'hate' comments from everyone including the biased
Two men offering service for their country have to listen to all this hate. But then,
one of them is actually running FOR himself and the other is running For AMERICA. Regardless, both are offering their services even though one is picked on about his '7' houses, which really aren't his, and the other thought he'd been
to about 57 states. My point: In the rush of things, people make honest mistakes, meaning no harm to anyone.
I blame the media for this unfortunate election madness....good for ratings, bad for country and has brought out the worst in most of us.
Respectfully submitted. Vicky

Posted by: vicky ballantine | September 19, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Mary Ann...please seek and report the truth! This is not the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression!!!! Please, who are you trying to fool? It is equally interesting to see that while Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild was a Hillary supporter it was all good in the hood with you but now she is sandblasted by you at the same time you stereotype American folks with your "Pabst Blue Ribbons with a redneck, perhaps over NASCAR or wrestling" line. I'm surprised you are concerned about the people that have 401K's, I do believe that the people that Obama wants to tax are the ones who have such investments in their future retirement and not everyday folks like me. So please in the name of God stop with the lies and the fear tactics! Amen!

Posted by: hectorrican | September 19, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Is this another pit bull with lipstick? boy are they giving the poor pit bulls a bad name. does she have fleas?

Posted by: rachel | September 19, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Even Alan Greenspan called this crisis a once in a century event. What would qualify as a depression. Millions homeless? 25 percent unemployment?
Wait a while.

Posted by: seems to me | September 19, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

ewww shes from new jersey???

Posted by: hermano | September 20, 2008 3:33 AM | Report abuse

Maybe she forgot to look at this when she jumped ship

Posted by: Mark from Tenn | September 20, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

You forgot to mention her comment that she "just doesn't like him. He seems elitist." That was a howler coming from milady.

I'm sure that even Lady De Rothschild's butler agrees that Mr. Obama seems to moving above his station - to be a bit "uppity," to coin a phrase.

Posted by: Chuck | September 20, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

You forgot to mention her comment that she "just doesn't like him. He seems elitist." That was a howler coming from milady.

I'm sure that even Lady De Rothschild's butler agrees that Mr. Obama seems to moving above his station - to be a bit "uppity," to coin a phrase.

Posted by: Chuck | September 20, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Wow, did you watch her comments at all? She didn't call anyone rednecks. She was remarking that the Obama campaign andhis supporters call people who support John McCain rednecks and bitter. No one else int the entire MSM or blogosphere has interpreted her remarks the way you did. No one.

Posted by: s.b. | September 20, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Boy, what is it with McCain? He must be packing the wood or something. All the hot rich chicks dig him.

Posted by: Flyboy | September 20, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

The more you hear about this lady, the more ditzy she becomes. The friendship she has with the Clintons - and I believe the poster who noted the inteview in the British Vogue = was self-serving in that the huge donations to Hillary's campaign would ensure an ambassadorial post in London. It all fits. She is, as noted, the lady who "has everything", except principles. If she supported Hillary for her policies and ideology, then her switch to McCain makes no sense, except that maybe now, with her public endorsement enough campaign donations, she could still achieve her dream. Amazing - I guess there really are such types of people out there.

Posted by: jblee | September 21, 2008 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Rouge Cou:

Head of State

Saturday, September 20, 2008
Sarah Palin Meets with Afghan President Karzai (Transcript)

"Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will meet next week with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in New York, on the sidelines of the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, according to Afghan officials in Washington."--Washington Post


Palin: Oh, Mr. President, it is such a pleasure to meet you, you're the first head of state that I have had the opportunity to meet--which is more than many Vice Presidents--and I'm so glad that my first one is an Afghani.

You know, in Trig's class there was a little Afghani? He was the child of one of the oil executives, and he was so cute, with his little turban runnin' around, everyone just loved him, and felt for him...

Karzai: Yes.

Palin: And everyone knew that we just had to defend him and keep him free and that's why I think that with a Palin/McCain...

Palin Aide: (looking up from clipboard) McCain/Palin.

Palin: ...McCain/Palin ticket, we can make sure of that, if we have to attack Russia, even, I mean, to keep people free at home, just like we want to keep our people free. We have so much in common! I know you have the problem with the poppies, and I understand because we have the same problem with the crystal meth in Wasilla? And I said "Look, we've got to shake this up!" and then that's exactly what I said: 'Look, let's just see what we have in common with these guys!" And that's just what you could do with the Taliban, Mr. Karzai. They've already so moral, and they want people to live by the straight and narrow, and they've got the newspapers sayin' and the schools doin' lots of the right things. They just need to get some of the right ideas, and pray to the right Lord. And, if they don't understand, we still have the weapons left over from Iraq, and then we can't blink, we can't blink, can we, Mr. Karzai?

Karzai: (Looks at Palin silently without moving his head. Pauses.). Blink?

Palin: Right. The thing is, we just have to hit the ground runnin', Mr. Karzai. That's what I do. A few weeks ago I didn't even know what a Vice President does! That's why I put a clock on my wall--do you have the same clocks as we do in Afghanistan? With the twelve numbers? (points in air to numbers on air clock)--Anyway, I said "I'm gonna measure just how much time I have left here" and that's what you could do, I think, with the war, Mr. Karzai, is to put up a clock so you know just how much time you have left until you finish it. I tell you, Mr. Karzai, it's such a motivating influence on my staff, the good ones, anyway, they know what they're supposed to finish and when, they hear me sayin "Look at the clock, people, look at the clock, and know what you have left to finish..."

Karzai: Yes.

Palin: And so I said to my husband, Todd--I call him the "First Dude"--Do you have that word 'Dude' here in Afghanistan?--maybe it's like "Khan" or "Emir" or somethin'?--I said to him, 'Todd, we have to take a look at what's happenin' in Afghanistan--before McCain called or any other thing happened--' cause I saw that Russia was right across from us and then right next to that you have all the Stans (counts cross fingers) Kyrgyzstan, oh, what's the others?--well, you are aware of them, of course, Mr. Karzai (laughs)...

Karzai: (Nods)

Palin: And if we don't let other people know of what I'm aware of, then the world won't change, Mr. Karzai. I know we have the same goals even if we don't have the same God yet...(aide touches Palin on shoulder, whispers). 'Even', not 'yet', I meant 'same God even', Mr. Karzai. And my point is, we can't let others stop our choice, which is freedom for those who deserve it, and that's why I know a Palin/McCain...

Palin Aide: (reaching over to touch shoulder)

Palin: Stop! (brushing aide's hand off)...McCain/Palin ticket will do just what you want, Mr. Karzai...

Second Palin Aide Approaches: It's time for your next appointment, Gov. Palin.

Palin: It was so good meeting you, President Karzai, and all of your other people, it was so good meeting you too! Shalom! (waves, exits)

Karzai: (to his aide, in Pashto): She makes the last one look like the Grand Mufti.

Head of State

Posted by: Marie Stewart | September 21, 2008 7:17 AM | Report abuse

I saw an interview with Lady Lynn. Wolfman Blitzer asked how a supporter of Hillery could switch to a candidate who promised to appoint anti-abortion judges to the Supreme Court. Her reply was that she was a lawyer and that the right to an abortion was in he constitution and could not be changed. And, I being no lawyer, thought the constitution was what the Supreme Court says it is. Else how could there be four sitting judges whom many think would jump at the chance to overturn the the current law on abortion. I conclude the Lady Lynn supported Hillery because she was a woman rather than for Hillery's position of issues.

Later McCain, on the same subject, stated that he was a federalist so that he believed that abortion should be left to the states. A federalist, by definition, is a proponent of a strong central government.
It's in the dictionary! John Boy doesn't know what a federalist is.

Posted by: Roy | September 21, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

vicky ballantine: Nice veiled hate-speech yourself, you forgot to include all the blatant lies, innuendoes and falsehoods being perpetrated by your candidate. The recklessness in his decisions and his dishonorable way he has conducted his campaign MAKE PEOPLE MAD.

That is why you are seeing the kind of comments by the populace who have a public forum in which to do so.

Do you get angry when someone tells you a blatant lie?

Apparently not.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 21, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"This is not the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression!!!! Please, who are you trying to fool?"
Yeah, the fundamentals of the economy are very strong

Posted by: John McHoover | September 21, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Funny how the Post mocks McCain for getting this endorsement, but says NOTHING about Obama partying with the rich and stupid in Hollywood at the same time. Just more evidence that the Post is in the tank for Obama, including the extremely vacuous Mary Ann Akers.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | September 21, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

John McCain owns 13 cars.

13 Cars. 7 Houses.

Claims our economy is "fundamentally strong"

His advisor publicly calls our country a "Nation of Whiners."

Does this sound like a person in touch with how Americans are living right now?

If you want a President that doesn't get it, then vote for McCain.

Posted by: Former Republican | September 21, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Washington Dame,

Just several weeks earlier, McCain was in Hollywood for a fund raiser sponsored by John Voight. So i guess McCain likes the rich and stupid too.

Ms Ballentine,

How do you know one of the candidates is running for himself while the other is running for America? From the way you word things I get the impression you think Mr. McCain is running for America. To my thinking, unless you are under 26, you have lost all credibility in trying to convince people they should vote for McCain. If he was so good, why didn't you choose him in 2000 over dummy? I supported McCain in 2000 and was disgusted the party went for dummy in 2000 and again in 2004. Republicans now have to reap what they sew in 2000 and 2004.

Posted by: Repub | September 21, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

John McCain owns 13 cars.

13 Cars. 7 Houses.

Claims our economy is "fundamentally strong"

His advisor publicly calls our country a "Nation of Whiners."

Does this sound like a person in touch with how Americans are living right now?

If you want a President that doesn't get it, then vote for McCain.

Posted by: Former Republican | September 21, 2008 11:42 PM | Report abuse

HeyMary Ann,

Here's somethiong you didn't mention abouJohn McCain and the Corporate media....From 'Fact Of The Matter"

Sunday, September 21, 2008
Does the Press Indeed Fear McCain and the Rebushagain Party?
As you will note in almost every POST, one question I continuously ask myself is this, "why does the press suppress the TRUTH about John McCain and not report on it? Why is the press that he receives almost 70% positive or apologetic or advice for him, when in fact the things that he does are not very positive at all. His stances against a woman's right to choose, his desire to overturn Roe vs Wade, his desire and agreement with conservative talker Michael Medved on doing away with the Department of Education, doing away with the Department of agriculture, (side note:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain opposes the $300 billion farm bill and subsidies for ethanol, positions that both supporters and opponents say might cost him votes he needs in the upper Midwest this November.His Democratic rival, Barack Obama, is making a more traditional regional pitch: He favors the farm bill approved by Congress this year and subsidies for the Midwest-based ethanol industry. McCain instead has promised to open new markets abroad for farmers to export their commodities.In his position papers, McCain opposes farm subsidies only for those with incomes of more than $250,000 and a net worth above $2 million. But he’s gone further on the stump.“I don’t support agricultural subsidies no matter where they are,” McCain said at a recent appearance in Wisconsin. “The farm bill, $300 billion, is something America simply can’t afford.”...side note ends)

Which is definitely a sign that he does desire to get rid of the Department of Agriculture. He opposes $300 million dollars for American agriculture needs, yet from day one he has supported this quagmire and occupation of Iraq. I'm definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I'm far from the dullest. He stated that it was really those farmers with $250,000 dollars of earnings or with farms worth over 2 million dollars, yet, he wants to make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% permanent. So on the one hand if they are rich farmers give them no tax breaks but on the other hand if they are rich business owners (corporate) give them tax breaks? That's a tad confusing wouldn't you say? A sort of speaking out of both sides of the mouth or speaking with a forked tongue, if you will....This just more evidence that as Senator Kerry put it at the Democratic National Convention that, "Candidate McCain needs to finish the debate with Senator McCain,"...John McCain needs to finish the debate with him self. McCain is 2 faced.

McCain also agrees with Michael Medved's idea to get rid of the Department of Health care, Isn't that special? Problem with all these facts you will not hear a peep about in the press. Just as the Corporate Media kept it silent when it was discovered that Senator McCain's Campaign begin sending out millions of absentee ballots to guess who? Barack Obama supporters. This storey surfaced the first week of September and was first reported by a stand-in on the Tom Hartman show on Green960, the following day Newsweek reported it.

Here is an article the mainstream press refused to touch...

Monday, September 15. 2008
McCain's Absentee Ballot Mailer Fiasco Spreads - Could Disqualify Some Voters
Reports from around the country advise that John McCain's campaign has sent confusing or incorrect absentee ballot request forms to voters in ten states at least. Affected so far are Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon (reported by blogger, not confirmed) Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin so far. In each state, the mailers have a different error, in any of these cases, the voter could be disenfranchised by the error. In at least one state a voter could disqualify themselves or be vulnerable to election challenges if they mailed these forms in. Mailers sent to Wisconsin voters are encouraging voters to send their applications to clerks in communities where they do not live. If you receive an absentee ballot request form from the McCain campaign ( or any private entity) and you do want to vote absentee, then instead check with your County Board of Elections to get the correct information.

Florida Voter Caging Warning: McCain mailer w/absentee ballot requests September 9. 2008. Sasha Rethati of "Sound off with Sasha" on WGCU radio warns "snow birds" about a big caging scam in Florida. McCain mailers are sending people unsolicited absentee ballot requests. These mailers can be used to remove voters from the rolls.


Fraudulent Absentee Ballot Requests in Iowa? by mshakir1 Fri Sep 12, 2008 (blog, not confirmed independently)

Several days ago, I received an interesting piece of mail from John McCain 2008. It was a vote-by-mail application, which I thought was curious because I have never registered as a Republican or donated money to his campaign...After opening the application placard, I noticed that the application was asking for the usual info (name, address, date of birth, etc.), but was unusual was what else it was asking for.

At the bottom of the application, there were 3 check boxes that could be filled out, any one of which could serve to prove one's identity. One of the check boxes was for an OHIO driver's license number. This was curious for me, because as you have probably guessed by now, I live in IOWA. Then I looked at the back of the application card, and the mailing address was for the Director of the board of elections in Columbus, OHIO.


Although many other states have moved to give voters the right to cast their ballots in advance of Election Day, either in person or by mail, there is no provision for it under Pennsylvania law.

...An absentee ballot cast under improper circumstances — by someone who just didn’t want to be bothered to leave the house, for instance — could be subject to challenge and disqualification, she said.


Be careful if you receive unrequested absentee ballot application WDBJ7 September 10, 2008

"Why is a Republican, Democrat, anybody sending out an unsolicited request?" wonders Murdock.

McCain's mailer creates controversy By MARK PITSCH 608-252-6145 FRI., SEP 12, 2008

The state elections agency is investigating complaints about a massive campaign mailing Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign has directed toward Wisconsin Democrats and other voters.

... in some cases, the incorrect clerk's address is printed on the application, leading some Democrats to wonder if the Arizona senator's campaign is deliberately trying to get them to apply for absentee ballots in places where they aren't eligible to vote.

"They're trying to knock me off the rolls," said Democrat Beverly Jambois, of Middleton. "I can't tell you how upsetting it is to me. This is how you win elections? By disenfranchising other voters?"

Her household received the flier this week addressed to her husband, Robert, a lawyer for the state Department of Transportation. The couple are registered to vote in Middleton, but the absentee ballot application was addressed to the city clerk's office in Madison....

A Wisconsin paper calls upon McCain campaign to set things right:

McCain camp must resolve mailing fiasco The Capital Times. An editorial — 9/15/2008

When it comes to the right to vote, it is not enough after a dramatically inappropriate move to say, "Oops."

The campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain has dispatched a mass mailing to Wisconsin voters -- including many Democrats and liberals who are not likely to be McCain backers -- that encourages eligible voters to send their applications for absentee ballots to clerks in communities where they do not reside.

Following the instructions of the McCain mailing could lead voters to run afoul of election rules and regulations -- and that might lead to the disqualification or even the prosecution of an innocent citizen for supposed wrongdoing.

UPDATE at 9:12 pm CDT September 15, 2008

State Republican Mailer Under Fire As Unfair Confusion Tactic Mailer Directs Voters To Return Absentee Ballot To Wrong Address

MADISON, Wis. -- Absentee ballot mailers are under fire from Democrats.
Democrats believe a mistake by the Republican Party could be an effort to mislead or even disenfranchise voters. More than a 100,000 mailers from the John McCain campaign were sent out with an application for an absentee ballot. The problem is that the mailers were sent to a particular address, but if the voters returned the application it was addressed to another city.

The state Republican Party called it an honest mistake......YEAH RIGHT, and John McCain's PROPAGANDA ADS are honest mistakes right? 26 honest mistakes in a row, WOW, either McCain and his camp are suffering from a group experienced bout of dementia and Alzheimer's or THEY ARE CROOKS AND LIARS. Yet the press refuses too report these huge stories that reveal the BASE CONNIVING and SCHEMING character of Candidate McCain. They keep it covered up.


Media Matters reported Friday September 19, this piece about the press and it's fear of McCain....

Despite attacks on media by McCain campaign, case studies show disparate coverage in McCain's favor

Summary: The media have for months reported complaints by the McCain campaign that they have favored his opponent in their coverage of the presidential race, while making little attempt to assess the accuracy of those complaints or to confirm or refute them. But in a review of the media's coverage of two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. Barack Obama and two stories negatively affecting or reflecting on Sen. John McCain -- specifically Obama's ties to Bill Ayers and Antoin Rezko, and McCain's dealings with donors whom he reportedly benefited and his association with G. Gordon Liddy -- Media Matters found that the five major newspapers and the three evening network news broadcasts have frequently mentioned Obama's ties to Ayers and Rezko, but have rarely mentioned McCain's dealings with donors and have ignored his association with Liddy.

Here's one more.....

CBS' Reid aired McCain attacking Obama for purportedly being in the "Washington culture of lobbying" without noting McCain's own lobbying ties

Summary: On the CBS Evening News, Chip Reid uncritically aired video of Sen. John McCain claiming that the "crisis on Wall Street, my friends, started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence-peddling, and [Sen. Barack Obama] was right square in the middle of it." However, Reid did not mention McCain's own ties to the "Washington culture of lobbying." According to a Mother Jones report, "at least 83" McCain aides, policy advisers, or fundraisers "have in recent years lobbied for the financial industry McCain now attacks."

Here's just one more example....


"Media Matters"; by Jamison Foser

The media's counterproductive focus on negative campaigning

It's getting awfully hard to pick up a newspaper or turn on the television without seeing a news report about the presidential campaign turning negative. It often seems the media consider the tone of the campaign more important than the collapsing economy, the war, our continued failure to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and the Bush administration's apparent disdain for the Constitution -- combined.

Before we go any further, let me be clear: I'm not saying that negative campaigning isn't as bad as the media makes it out to be.

I'm saying negative campaigning is essential to American democracy.

See, for voters to make good decisions, they have to have good information. And, unfortunately, candidates aren't in the habit of telling voters things they've done (or plan to do) that are unpopular, or of running ads about the flaws in their own proposals. And since voters need to know the candidates' weaknesses as well as their strengths, and the disadvantages to their proposals, they need somebody to talk about those things.

Oh, sure, we could rely on the media to do that. How have they been doing lately? Anybody think they did a good job of assessing the candidates' relative weaknesses in 2000? Of poking holes in the Bush administration's tragically flawed arguments for the Iraq war? Of putting down the doughnuts and barbecued ribs long enough to pin John McCain down on how long he's willing to keep fighting in Iraq, what, exactly, he plans on doing to Social Security, how he would pay for his tax cuts and wars, or how much you have to make in order for him to consider you "rich"?

Anyone who thinks we can rely on the media to tell us what the candidates don't want us to know should head over to the Swampland blog, where Time reporter Michael Scherer insists that it is unfair to bring up John McCain's lengthy history of voting and speaking in favor of Social Security privatization. Scherer says we should instead simply look at the position statements on McCain's campaign Web page (statements that actually don't provide any reason to think that McCain no longer supports privatization, though Scherer seems to think they do. See my posts on Media Matters' new blog, County Fair, for further explanation.)

So, we need candidates to engage in negative campaigning -- that is, in criticizing their opponents' positions, experience, and previous performance. That's far different from dishonest campaigning. Or from tactics that cross the line from "negative" to downright sleazy. Those tactics should be called out by the news media, and frequently. But the media's reflexive focus on simply "negative" campaigning is unnecessary and often counterproductive.

It is unnecessary because the question of whether a candidate or campaign is "too negative" is a visceral question, not a logical one. Voters don't need reporters to try to measure negativity for them or to keep reminding them of it. If something is too negative for them, voters will have a visceral reaction against it; if not, they won't. Either way, they are perfectly capable of coming to that conclusion on their own. (With the important exception that if a campaign is running a viciously negative below-the-radar campaign, such as a whispering campaign like the one George W. Bush waged against John McCain in 2000, voters can benefit from the media shining a light on those tactics.)

What voters can't easily do on their own is assess whether ads are true, false, or somewhere in between. That's where the media can be useful. They have the resources -- and, ideally, some expertise -- to assess the validity of claims made in campaign ads. That's how reporters can actually be useful -- by doing what the voters can't do for themselves, and doing it well.

Unfortunately, the news media often lump true criticism together with dishonest or sleazy criticism, as though all negative campaigning is equal, and equally bad. This week, a study concluded that a larger percentage of Barack Obama's ads since the political conventions have been "negative," bringing another round of news reports that drew false equivalence between very different tactics.

The Wisconsin Advertising Project looked at a single week's worth of ads in determining that 56 percent of McCain ads and 77 percent of Obama ads were "negative." Aside from the dangers in drawing conclusions from such a small sample of campaign ads, the findings are of limited value given that the project made no effort to assess the veracity or fairness of the ads in question. In fact, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the study counted any ad that so much as mentioned the opponent's name as "negative."

I suppose it might be mildly interesting to know that 56 percent of John McCain's ads mention Barack Obama, or that 77 percent of Obama's ads mention McCain. But it doesn't really tell us anything useful. How did they mention each other? Did the ads criticize policy positions or personality? Were they honest? The answers to those questions are essential to any meaningful assessment of the candidates' campaign tactics. (If you do find the project's findings compelling, you should keep in mind that in July, based on a much larger sample, the project found that more of McCain's ads were negative.)

Despite the study's failure to even attempt to assess the validity of the ads it declared "negative," several news organizations hyped the findings. Worse, some suggested the finding that more of Obama's ads have been negative undermines the recent conclusions of many impartial observers that the McCain campaign ads have been more dishonest than those of the Obama campaign.

The New York Post, for example, reported that the results of the study "clash with recent media coverage accusing McCain of distorting Obama's record in ads." Nonsense. That's like saying that the fact that this is September clashes with the fact that it is Friday.

On Hardball, MSNBC's Chris Matthews also touted the study:

The McCain camp's been getting a lot of attention for some recent hard-hitting ads. In fact, the Wisconsin Advertising Project, a group that studies politics ads nationwide, deems that 56 percent of the ads aired by the McCain campaign last week were negative. That's 56 percent of McCain's ads, negative.

But here's a number that may surprise you. How many of Obama's ads in that same time period last week were negative? Seventy-seven percent -- an indication, perhaps, that Obama intends to come out swinging -- or these are the next couple months. He's going to be doing it. Nearly four out of five ads Obama aired last week were negative -- tonight's "Big Number."

But the more significant "attention" McCain has been getting has not been for negative ads -- it has been for false ads. Matthews disappears that criticism, suggesting that the criticism of McCain has been for negativity rather than dishonesty.

On Race to the White House, Matthews' colleague David Gregory said, "Obama says he wants a new kind of politics. Why is he running more negative ads than Senator McCain?" Later, Gregory played an Obama ad accusing McCain of dishonest attack ads -- but look at how Gregory characterized the Obama ad:

GREGORY: That is a new campaign ad from the Obama campaign. It is out this week, taking a swipe at John McCain for his negative ads. Take a look at this, a new study from the Wisconsin Advertising Project says that it is Obama slinging the most mud on TV; 77 percent of Obama's ads after the GOP convention were negative, compared to 56 percent of McCain's.

No. Obama's ad took a "swipe" at McCain for dishonest ads, not merely for negative ads. By changing Obama's criticism, Gregory was able to use the Wisconsin study to paint him as a hypocrite. And note the phrasing Gregory used to describe the study's findings -- the loaded phrase "it is Obama slinging the most mud on TV." Remember, the study made no effort whatsoever to assess the content of the ads; it simply counted as negative any mention of the opponent's name. On that flimsy basis, Gregory accuses Obama of "slinging the most mud" -- even as the consensus among neutral observers has been that McCain is leveling more false attacks.

Lumping all negative statements together as "slinging mud," without differentiating between true claims and false (or fair and unfair) doesn't inform viewers; it is a false equivalence that serves only to advantage truly dishonorable attacks by making them appear no worse than run-of-the-mill factual criticism. It plays into the hands of liars and smear merchants. And it penalizes honest and fair criticisms -- though such criticisms are essential to the voters' ability to make informed decisions.

What does this say to us about the CORRUPT CORPORATE MEDIA? There is obviously an agenda being pursued here...The facts state this, McCain is being aided by a CORPORATE AGENDA WHILE HE STANDS ON THE STUMP and pretends to condemn the very ones who hold his purse strings.

Conclusion, I don't think the media ands the press are afraid of McCain no to the contrary, they have thrown a full throttled support behind, Chris Matthews, David Gregory, The Wisconsin Advertising Project (biased agenda), The New york Post, John McCain and the Rebushagain party give you a full throttled SHOUT of, "THANKS FOR UNABASHEDLY SUPPORTING US"

These Press corps and Anchorman or in need of an unequival reproof, censoring, and sanctions

Posted by: need4trth | September 22, 2008 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Nice job Mary ann!! Way to perform your main job as a media personality in America! Taking someone's quote completely out of context so that it can fit whatever story you want it to. She was mocking Obama's intent in calling the people of Penn. rednecks. If this is how you justify your lack of ability to get down the story, you need to change your name from "The Sleuth."
Here's the deal. Why wouldn't McCain and Co. tout the arrival of Rothschild on their ticket? It would be dumb not to. This is a major switch in the Democratic Party. At least McCain had the courage to come out and say something during the credit crisis while Obama, once again, sat back and waited for one of his guys to tell him what to say. We've had enough of Congress sitting back and failing to take action until it is too late, it is about time someone did something. Point for McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 22, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Look Who:

Seems that billionaire currency trader George Soros,
from Hungary, is backing a poor Senator from Illinois.

What is the point here? The elite love to get their
names in the news, however the cost, and Quid-Pro
Quo. So what's new?

I am positive that Senator Obama has more
billionaires in his corner. What do you think?

Posted by: 3rd-Party Advocate | September 22, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Look Who:

Seems that billionaire currency trader George Soros,
from Hungary, is backing a poor Senator from Illinois.

What is the point here? The elite love to get their
names in the news, however the cost, and Quid-Pro
Quo. So what's new?

I am positive that Senator Obama has more
billionaires in his corner. What do you think?

Posted by: 3rd-Party Advocate | September 22, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Look Who:

Seems that billionaire currency trader George Soros,
from Hungary, is backing a poor Senator from Illinois.

What is the point here? The elite love to get their
names in the news, however the cost, and Quid-Pro
Quo. So what's new?

I am positive that Senator Obama has more
billionaires in his corner. What do you think?

Posted by: 3rd-Party Advocate | September 22, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

It's not surprising that De Rothchild wants to be in the clan of the McCains. Cindy McCain herself wore a Star Trek space suit and diamond earings costing $300,000 at the convention. That's a 30 year-mortgage for some whole neighborood.

Also they use words like elites to describe Obama. In Obama's and Biden's old neighborood they didn't use words like elites; they called people 'Stuck-Up.'

In all fairness to Obama, he didn't mean bitter, he meant those people were angry. Who is not freaking angry at what's happening to America now.

For 8 years those folks in the WH have dragged the country in the mud. We have got to change direction for our sake and our children sake.

Posted by: Joe G. | September 22, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The Baron of Arizona and the Baroness de Rothschild. What a lovely couple they make!

Fox hunting in Arizona? Quail hunting in Texas? Or moose hunting in Alaska? Wow! What a shame to endure this insufferable election when the finer things in life are so affordable!

Posted by: Charles Bowman | September 22, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

From Cindy Lou and seven houses, to Carly and her $42 million golden parachute, to milady Rothschild, to a women who can field dress a moose (whatever the heck that is) ... just having a tough time, as a women, identifying with the Republicans.

Posted by: Kim R. | September 22, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

What on earth is wrong with being called "bitter"? Are these "good folk" so self-conscious of their nineteenth century, colonialist mindset that they truly find this as an affront?

Liberal-minded voters and progressives are routinely branded as the "Angry left", and you don't see them complaining about the label.

No, instead let me steer this conversation where it needs to go by ascribing an even MORE accurate designation for the God-n-guns cabal: Whiny.

It's no wonder McCain is enjoying a spike in rural areas; they think that anything with an education or a different color skin is suspicious and scheming.

Stop whining. Grow the hell up and help us to change this doomed ship's direction already.

Posted by: poortrekker | September 22, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

I guess you could say de Rothschild's entry on the political scene here represents a bit of European touch to the campaign. For a more indepth understanding of the ongoing "Europeanization of America," see Writing Frontier's piece at


Posted by: Writing Frontier | September 22, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Give every American 1 million dollars that would = 300 billion dollars across the united states, this is better then giving 700 billion dollars to the corporations who have been stealing and cheating us for the past 150 years and a savings of 450 billion dollars based on the 700 billion dollar bailout figure and will definantly jumpstart the economy.

Give Every American 1 million dollars instead of crooked corporations 700 billion dollars.


Posted by: hiari | September 22, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Rothchilds of the Famed Manipulate the Stock Market for HUGE PROFITS Clan?

Good Choice McSame bring ELITE EURO BANKER TYPE as a typical Women Voter...

DipStick/LipStick 08

Posted by: dick cheney is a liar and corrupt | September 22, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse


BROWN: To some people invariably, it's going to sound like you're bitter. Hillary Clinton didn't get the nomination, this is your way of getting even.

And now the slam dunk:

DE ROTHSCHILD: You know what, Campbell? Barack Obama went and he called the people who have guns and cling to their religion bitter. The people out, you know, who are the rednecks or whoever are bitter. If bitter is the easiest way for you to rationalize that I truly with all my heart believe that John McCain will be a great president, then call me bitter. But it doesn't really advance the dialogue, Campbell, sorry.

Ouch! And now Campbell Brown limps away into the distance:
BROWN: All right.


Lynn Forester De Rothschild, Top Clinton Fundraiser, Backs McCain

ANN SANNER | September 17, 2008 08:28 PM EST | AP

WASHINGTON — A top Hillary Rodham Clinton fundraiser threw her support behind Republican John McCain on Wednesday, saying he will lead the country in a centrist fashion and accusing the Democrats of becoming too extreme.

"I believe that Barack Obama, with and Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean, has taken the Democratic Party _ and they will continue to _ too far to the left," Lynn Forester de Rothschild said. "I'm not comfortable there."

Rothschild is also a member of the Democratic National Committee's Platform Committee. She said she would be stepping down from her position on the committee but will not switch political parties.

Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said in an e-mail that the New York senator disagrees with Rothschild's decision to endorse McCain.

"Senator Clinton has been criss-crossing the country and doing whatever she can to make the very clear case that the Obama-Biden ticket represents the new ideas and positive change we need right now, and the McCain-Palin ticket does not," Strand said in the e-mail.

Rothschild said she was excited by the prospect of a woman being in the White House, even though she and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin disagree on issues. The Alaska governor opposes abortion except in the case of a threat to the mother's life. Rothschild said she supports abortion rights.

"I believe that the McCain-Palin government will be a centrist government," Rothschild said. "It's not going to be an ideological government."

Rothschild is a member of the DNC's Democrats Abroad chapter and splits her time living in London and New York. She was one of Clinton's top fundraisers, bringing in more than $100,000 for her presidential campaign. She built a multimillion-dollar telecommunications company before marrying international banker Sir Evelyn de Rothschild.

OK. So where is the Post article ridiculing Donald Trump for supporting McCain? He was also a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Posted by: BARB | September 23, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

What does "elite" really mean anyway? I'm sorry, but a biracial african american who grew up with a single mom, no father, and went to good schools on scholarships and loans, which he just paid off does not compare to Rothchilds, or McCain, whose daddy was an Admiral and he got through school with low grades and graduated in the bottom 5% of his class. He's married to a multi-millionaire, has 7 houses, 13 cars and fundraises with the celebrities just like the dems do.

Does "elitist" simply mean that some people don't like people who are intelligent and eloquent and carry themselves with dignity and grace? It used to be that Americans aspired for excellent education and each generation having more than the last. Sen. Obama has lived the American dream.

I also have an issue with the "exotic" label: How is Obama "exotic" for being born in Hawaii and spending time during childhood in Indonesia? McCain was born in Panama and lived all over the world during his childhood. And Gov. Palin is from Alaska, eats moose and caribou and endorses slaughtering wolves from helicopters - how is it that McCain and Palin are not "exotic" too?

It's all marketing nonsense and the media uses the terms mindlessly.

Posted by: Bethechange1 | September 23, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Marie Stewart: LMAO. Thanks for posting that transcript. I'd heard about it but had yet to read it. OMG, what a dingbat!!! Is she really that dumb? What were the McCain people thinking to let her out without a leash. Pit bulls are smarter than that; at least they know not to talk.

Posted by: childrenfirst | September 23, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Bear in mind that the Bush administration will do everything it can, no matter how criminal, to make sure McCain gets in. Otherwise, they know they are all going to jail. So be prepared for an "October surprise."

Posted by: Susan 7214 | September 23, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: RICHARD NIXON (R) | September 23, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

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