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WaPo's Dana Milbank Asks McCain Supporters For A Hug (VIDEO)

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From Milbank's Washington Sketch column:

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Only the polka band, which entertained the crowd before the speeches, seemed unaffected by the pervasive anger in the arena. "Ha, ha, ha, come join my happy song," sang the man with the accordion. "Clap along!" The crowd clapped. "We're going to party tonight," he crooned, "with joy and laughter, that's what we're after."

It was a jarring juxtaposition: At one moment, those gathered were dancing, clapping and singing along to the polka; minutes later, they were enraged. This paradox called for a social-science experiment.

A Washington Post columnist created two hand-lettered signs -- one saying "MAINSTREAM MEDIA" and the other, "I NEED A HUG" -- then carried them among the McCain supporters. McCain, and particularly Palin, have railed in recent days about the failings of the mainstream media, and Platt picked up the theme Wednesday, telling the crowd about "vicious attacks from the media."

The result was reassuring. Most of the McCain supporters enjoyed the sight, and several of them offered hugs or handshakes. Some others used the opportunity to give polite voice to their displeasure with the media. Only a minority in the crowd turned ugly. "Put your hands around me, you'll spit your teeth out," said one gentleman. "Barack Osama -- he'll give you a hug," said another.

Watch: