Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obama says Palin lipstick remark flap a "made up controversy"


WASHINGTON--Campaigning in Virginia on Wednesday, Barack Obama said the flap over his using the cliche putting "lipstick on a pig" was a "made up controversy" as John McCain's team said it was a smear against Sarah Palin in a web ad. Obama said the lipstick wars was "catnip" for the news media.

The McCain camp was successful in seizing the storyline of the day as the Obama campaign put up a stream of female surrogates and spokesmen--Linda Douglass, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Jennifer Palmieri and Stephanie Cutter to say the whole discussion was a silly distraction. Schakowsky pivoted to the main point in her MSNBC interview-- McCain has a poor record on many issues of interest to women.

I take Douglass at her word that Obama was not referring to Palin when he made the remark on Tuesday. Obama was indeed talking about McCain and how McCain was trying to portray himself as the change candidate; still his political radar was turned off when it should have been on.

What Obama knew or should have known (as lawyers say) was that even using the word "lipstick" could be taken as a reference about Palin since she just used the word last week at the GOP convention to define herself.

In her keynote speech last Wednesday Palin asked, what's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull. "Lipstick," she said.

Obama himself spoke about the controversy--manufactured or otherwise--while in Virginia.

"Before we begin today, I want to say a few words about the latest made-up controversy by the John McCain campaign. What their campaign has done this morning is the same game that has made people sick and tired of politics in this country. They seize on an innocent remark, try to take it out of context, throw up an outrageous ad because they know that it's catnip for the news media.

"I'm assuming you guys heard this watching the news. All right. I'm talking about John McCain's economic policies. I say, this is more of the same. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig. And suddenly, they say, oh, you must be talking about the governor of Alaska! See, it would be funny except, of course, the news media decided that that was the lead story yesterday. They'd much rather have the story -- this is the McCain campaign -- would much rather have the story about phony and foolish diversions than about the future."

"....Enough! Enough! I don't care what they say about me. But I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and Swift-boat politics. Enough is enough!

"These are serious times, and they call for a serious debate about where we need to take the nation. We can't take another four years that are like the last eight where family incomes are going down at the same time as costs of everything are on the rise, where we keep on spending $10 billion a month in Iraq at a time when our own infrastructure here at home is crumbling and the Iraqis have a $79 billion surplus that they're not spending. We can't take another four years of the same trickle-down, on-your-own, special-interest-purse approach to economics that is killing the middle class in this country."


Every time this idiot opens his mouth without a teleprompter it gets worse and worse.

Just more crap from his mouth that proves he has no business running for President. The voters in the USA aren't stupid and wont put this idiot in the White.

Sure there are those coolaide drinkers who will vote for this guy no matter what. There are brain washed people who can't se the fact he is unqualiifed to President.

Inside Obama is an angry man and it will come out.

Joe Biden is the best you can do? Briallant!

The Emperor has no clothes!!!!

I think Obama is taking a page from the McCain playbook, ala when Palin insulted "community organizers," then McCain went on TV to explain that she only said that because she was defending herself and it's not her fault she wasn't nice, and he likes community organizers. Whine, whine.

Insult, explain it, take it back. Seems to work for McCain, and what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

I do feel that Obama's comment was not intended for Palin herself. I think it might have been a slight jab at McCain using a lipstick metaphor against his rival on purpose. Obama's failings are starting to show. You can't always make it up as you go.

I did not go to an elite ivy league law school, but I have been keeping up with the campaign. I heard the Palin lipstick line at the Republican convention, and judging by the initial responce of the Obama crowd, they had too. Barry wants to restore, i.e. "heal" our relationships with our allies, who Bush has "alienated or "offended",but is unable to refrain from wandering into some verbal minefield whenever his telepromter is turned off.Good judgement? Deplomacy skills? No, he was throwing red meat to his base or at least his handlers were.And now he claims that he is "unaware" that he was blundering into controvercy? He is either completly obtuse or lying through his teeth. I know, it's all Sean Hannity's doing.

Unbelievable! This is what the RNC Rove-inspired louts love. Not that they can distract voters from the real issues for a news cycle of two - but the deeper residual ancillary commentary later in the print media. This goes for Mark Brown and Richard Roeper as well.

What's worse? The speech writer that creates the line that compares millions of "soccer moms" to pit bulls or the sappy candidate that mouths those words without complaint. My vote is the latter, since she also seems to be willing to repeat over and over the lies, half-truths and sarcastic mocking that has become the shameful standard of the McCain Team. Lipstick on a pig? Shame on the news channels and talking heads for giving this non-story even two seconds of air time.  This is the same tired RNC/Rove inspired screeching that brought this country eight years of ruinous policies courtesy of G. "DoubleDoh" Bush and the toadies that backed him all the way - including the flip-flopping "maverick" who is unrecognizable from the image he crafted years ago.  The RNC Screech Machine loves to take remarks out-of-context and screeches to the high heavens about the injustice of it all.  Not this time, toadies, not this time.  Anyone with a any sense of the English language can see what Senator Obama meant by his comment.  The only remote link to Palin is her use of the word "lipstick"- written for her by the same team that gave us the past eight years of mis-management, walking all over the Constitution, and policies manufactured by unqualified members of this sad administration.  Politics of Distraction Anyone??? Thanks for playing along Lynn.

As your colleague Mark Brown says, Palin has dibs on "lipstick" for this election. Obama knew what he was doing, he knew what he was saying -- crowd reaction proves THEY certainly knew what he was doing.

It was stupid -- and it would have allbeen over quickly if he would just have had the good sense to say, "you know what? it's an old saying, but I shouldn't have used it. I'm sorry." Over. Done. Not still part of the news 24-plus hours later.

He was really, really stupid on this one.

In light of Palin's reference to pit bulls and lipstick in her convention speech , and her nickname of Barracuda, Obama's remark looked like a bid to psychologically bully her with an arpeggio of trash talk. It also wasn't spontaneous, Obama's remarks leading into the lipstick comment appeared to be lifted from a Sept. 5 political cartoon by the Washington Post's Tom Toles. Confidently delivered, Obama's lines were all memorized. Obama himself has condescendingly referred to Palin's motherhood to deflect voter attention from her successful role as governor. "She hasn't been on the scene, you know, she's got five kids and my hat goes off to anybody who's looking after five. I've got two and they tire Michelle and me out", he sneared. Democrats don't see voters as individuals, but as special interest groups. They pigeonhole them into narrow agendas and identities, and anyone who dares to stand outside that is considered a nonperson, they can be degraded. Governor of Alaska , our biggest state? A reformer who took on her own party? Initiator of the world's largest construction project in the $40 billion trans-Canada natural gas pipeline? National Guard chief in our most strategic state? These are real achievements. Democrats can challenge them, but they have little to offer instead from Obama.

In her keynote speech last Wednesday Palin asked, what's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull. "Lipstick," she said.

Guess what people, the difference between a hockey mom, soccer mom, blue collar mom, white collar mom, stay at home mom and other mothers who struggle daily is she is a Mother who mostly works hard. A pitbull is a breed of dog and if Ms. Palin decided to use that analogy and put lipstick on this animal, than that is Ms Palin trying to viciously bite, chew and gnaw flesh off another human being. Why do women want to play rough and tumble with the men but whine when getting hit.

In an earlier article fron another Sun-Times columnist who made reference to this, what I want to know is that BLOOD drooling off the pit bull's mouth or some immature individual's way of abusing an animal ALL WHILE TRYING TO SCARE THE HELL OUT OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC as usual.

In other words stop bullying the American people and others throughout the world, and we don't have to worry about attack dogs and talking tough to people. Just maybe, just maybe the conversations will be a little more civil and people will learn to get along when viewing the political leaders behaving as adults.

The Obama's have displayed class, dignity and maturity though attacked viciously throughout this campaign not only from the Republican party but within the Democratic party as well.


Grow the Hell Up! It's time for CHANGE and if perferring to stay stagnant, scared with a warrior mentality against all other people, let the rest of the American populace move forward with President Barack Obama; someone who is willing to talk to people before starging wars and dropping bombs on innocent people to placate the few versus the many.

If taking a survey majority of Americans don't feel safe with George Bush nor John McCain if he is elected to office. It's is the mere fact he talks about warring with other nations. Americans are stagnant in their analysis and simply want to hurt others, BUT WILL SWEAR ON A STACK OF BIBLES, our political leaders are not up to any shenigans as long as the MIRAGE of SAFTEY is there. Some Christian Nation we are? We stiil get angry if others with different religious affliations want to worship differently than Christians.

People don't attack America or Americans because they HATE OUR LIFESTYLE! Take time and analyze what we do as a country to other nations then come back and give a more poignant thought.

Nobody has dibs on anything, that is the problem with Americans! Whatever!!

McCain has become quite the politician since he got his party's nomination... he has proven time and again that his strategy for winning is based on personal attacks and distracting people from the main issues

Obama just proves what a small mind he really is. Sarah Palin is too busy making a good impression on voters to engage in such rubbish. She did early on call Obama a community organizer and that was taken as an insult by the Obama Camp, where in fact it was just a fact. But you know, she's a quick learner there will not be any more silly stuff from Palin. At least not until the Election. The McCain/Palin ticket will take the Whitehouse. There will be no bigger insult that anyone could inflict on the Chosen One.

Every time John McCain opens his mouth without a Teleprompter it gets worse and worse.

Just more crap from his mouth that proves he has no business running for President. The voters aren't stupid and will not put this idiot in the White House.

Sure, there are those Kool-Aide drinkers who will vote for this guy no matter what. There are brain-washed people who can't see the fact he is unqualified to be President.

Inside McCain is an angry man and it will come out.

Sarah Palin is the best he can do?

The Emperor has no clothes!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 10, 2008 1:07 PM.

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