Huffpost Politics

The Stench Run: Republicans Ramp Up Negative Attacks As Election Day Nears

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With Election Day looming and the polls suggesting John McCain faces a daunting challenge, the GOP and the McCain campaign have ramped up their negative attacks on Barack Obama. Just to start, McCain attacked Obama's patriotism and Republicans made much hay out of a video that purportedly shows Obama attending a party where Palestinian, and Columbia University Professor, Rashid Khalidi was also a guest. Below is a round up of some of McCain's and the GOP's 11th hour attacks.

McCain Attacks Obama's Patriotism: McCain seized on - and took out of context - remarks made by Obama today to question the Democrat's patriotism:

John McCain unveiled a new attack on Barack Obama's patriotism Saturday, jumping all over - and taking out of context - remarks made yesterday in which the Democratic nominee said the Iowa Caucuses vindicated his faith in the American public.

Campaigning in Springfield, Virginia, McCain told the crowd that he had always had faith in his country and - dinging his opponent - claimed that the United States "has never had to prove anything to me..."

...Past statements aside, if one actually takes a look at what Obama said, and what he has said before, it is hard to interpret in anyway that he doubted the United States. Just look at the sentences before his "faith" remark, in which he lavishly praises the American people, who he "knew" were "decent" and "generous."

GOP Flier: Obama More A Friend To Criminals Than Cops: HuffPost's Sam Stein reports on a GOP flier circulating in Virginia that accuses Obama of being more of a friend to criminals than to cops:

The pamphlet, flagged by a recipient in the state and a new version of one previously reported in several other states, includes a photo of a quiet suburban neighborhood and young children playing on in a classroom - the implicit message being, Obama will make you and your family less safe.

"Protecting your family comes first," reads the front.

"A record of being soft on crime," reads the back. "Barack Obama has consistently opposed tougher penalties for criminals - including major offenses - allowing criminals to remain on the streets."

GOP Mailer In Pennsylvania Suggests Electing Obama Could Lead To Second Holocaust: Talking Points Memo flags another GOP flier that is particularly nasty:

A reader sends in a nasty mailer that just hit Philadelphia-area in-boxes, blasted out by a GOP group called the Republican Jewish Coalition, suggesting that a vote for Barack Obama could lead to another "tragic outcome" for the Jewish people.

"Concerned about Barack Obama? You should be," the mailer warns. "History has shown that a naive and weak foreign policy has resulted in tragic outcomes for the Jewish people."

The mailer helpfully notes that the image is a pic of Obama speaking in Germany.

House GOP Leader Calls Obama "Chicken Shit": House Minority leader John Boehner shockingly used an expletive to describe Obama for his "present" votes in the Illinois State Senate:

House minority leader John Boehner's spokesman confirms the accuracy of this quote, from an Ohio student newspaper:

"Now, listen, I've voted 'present' two or three times in my entire 25-year political career, where there might have been a conflict of interest and I didn't feel like I should vote," Boehner said. "In Congress, we have a red button, a green button and a yellow button, alright. Green means 'yes,' red means 'no,' and yellow means you're a chicken s***.

"And the last thing we need in the White House, in the oval office, behind that big desk, is some chicken who wants to push this yellow button."

Regional McCain Manager Denies Obama's Citizenship: Tim McClellan, a regional manager in Florida for the McCain campaign, isn't sold on the idea of Obama as an American citizen:

The most surprising statement was something we've been hearing from McCain supporters but not from anyone actually on the McCain or RNC payroll. "I have strong concerns that Obama is not a citizen. I suspect the U.S. Supreme Court will prove that Obama's not a citizen," Tim continued. "Did he go to Indonesia and become an Indonesian citizen, and if so, did he take steps to regain his (U.S.) citizenship? There's no seal on his birth certificate and the font is wrong."

Conservative Group To Run Rev. Wright Ads Through Election Day: National Republican Trust PAC has a major ad buy on national networks to run anti-Wright attacks:

Get ready for a deluge of Wright rantings.

The National Republican Trust PAC, which has been airing an ad attacking Barack Obama's association with Reverend Wright in three battleground states, has now put down for a national buy on five networks that will last from now through election day, a consultant with the group confirms to me.

The ad will run nationally on Fox, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC for the next five days, the consultant, Rick Wilson, says -- "all the way until election day."

The ad, which you can watch here, features the now-infamous footage of Wright's livelier sermons, and intones that Obama "never complained" about Wright "until he ran for President," adding that Obama is "too radical, too risky."

Obama Campaign Manager Questions Timing Of Aunt Story: David Axelrod is suspicious of the timing of the story about Obama's aunt living in the country illegally:

Speaking to reporters today, Obama chief strategist David Axelrod addressed reports that Zeituni Onyango, the half-sister of Obama's Kenyan father, has been living illegally in the United States for four years. Axelrod expressed some skepticism about the timing of the news, which first broke in the Times of London and was confirmed by the Associated Press in the waning days of the presidential race.

"The campaign issued a statement on that," Axelrod told reporters, "And I don't have anything more to add to it, other than I think people are suspicious about stories that surface in the last 72 hours of a national campaign.

"I think that they're going to take that," he added, "They're going to put it in that context."

In a statement earlier today, the campaign said that "Sen. Obama has no knowledge of her status but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws should be followed."

More GOP Mailers Hitting The Streets: A new GOP flier hits Obama on lobbyists, taxes and socialism:

The anti-Obama mail keeps piling up. A reader forwarded a set of pieces that go after the Illinois Democrat for not, really, being a thorn in the side of lobbyists and for planning to raise taxes alongside his liberal allies in Congress,

The first piece accuses Obama of funneling the "hard-earned money of America's taxpayers to pay his friends and family with political favors."

As evidence the literature cites the Senator's relationship with Tony Rezko - the indicted Chicago insider - and two earmarks that Obama helped bring to Illinois; projects that, tangentially, were connected to his wife or a political supporter. It is, in short, thin gruel.

McCain Campaign Demands LA Times Rlease Khalidi Video: The McCain campaign sought to portray Obama as an extremist after learning that the LA Times has video of Obama attending the same party as Rashid Khalidi. HuffPost's Seth Colter Walls discovers that this guilt-by-association game will be difficult for McCain to pull off:

In regards to Khalidi, however, the guilt-by-association game burns John McCain as well.

During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank. (See grant number 5180, "West Bank: CPRS" on page 14 of this PDF.)

The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi's group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of "sociopolitical attitudes."