You can't put a genie back in a bottle, but can you take the lipstick off a pig?
Barack Obama taped an interview for The Late Show with David Letterman and addressed the brouhaha over his "lipstick on a pig" comment last night in Virginia.
ABC News' Jake Tapper, Sunlen Miller and Andy Fies report that Letterman asked Obama if he still thinks the Republicans are overreacting to his comments last night.
"Look this is ...sort of silly season in politics – not that there's a non-silly season in politics," Obama says. "But it gets sillier and it's a common expression at least in Illinois, I don't know about New York City, I don't know where you guys put lipstick on here."
To audience laughter, Obama says, "in Illinois the expression connotes the idea that if you have a bad idea -- in this case I was talking about John McCain's economic plans -- that just calling them change, calling it something different doesn't make it better. Hence, lipstick on a pig is still a pig."
The end? Probably not. The McCain campaign and RNC show no signs of backing down from crying foul over this and the statement today of South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler only fuels that fury. Fowler told Politico that McCain had chosen a running mate "whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion." Fowler apologized in a paper statement to anyone offended by the comment and said she was "clumsily was making a point about people in South Carolina who may vote based on a single issue."
But perhaps there is a break in the action on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11. Campaigning and partisanship will be put on hold tomorrow as the presidential candidates attend 9/11 ceremonies and even make a rare joint appearance. Maybe the calendar can do what the Obama campaign seems unable to do and get the campaign narrative off of the lipstick/pig comment.
ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports that Obama and McCain will make a stop together to Ground Zero in New York City to commemorate the anniversary.
From a joint statement from the Obama and McCain campaigns: "All of us came together on 9/11 - not as Democrats or Republicans - but as Americans. In smoke-filled corridors and on the steps of the Capitol; at blood banks and at vigils - we were united as one American family. On Thursday, we will put aside politics and come together to renew that unity, to honor the memory of each and every American who died, and to grieve with the families and friends who lost loved ones. We will also give thanks for the firefighters, police, and emergency responders who set a heroic example of selfless service, and for the men and women who serve today in defense of the freedom and security that came under attack in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania."
ABC News' Jennifer Parker reported that both campaigns have already said that they will pull negative ads off the air-waves for the day. This joint appearance marks only the second time during the general election that the candidates have appeared together, Miller reports.