Lipstick Jungle

By Natalie Gewargis

Sep 10, 2008 10:34am

Sen. John McCain’s, R-Ariz., campaign has launched this Web video today, which flatly — and misleadingly — states that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., called Gov. Sarah Palin a pig.

I realize I’m at a disadvantage since I actually was in the room and heard Obama make the comment in person.

But though some folks in the Lebanon, Va., gymnasium clearly took Obama’s pig metaphor — about McCain’s efforts to paint himself as a change agent — as an allusion to Palin’s lipstick/pit bull joke, neither I nor any of my colleagues there spoke to anyone who thought Obama was calling her a pig.

And Obama insists he was not.

Was he alluding to her lipstick joke the week before, even in the back of his mind? I don’t know. He says no.

But even if he was, how you get from that to calling Palin a pig is quite a leap.

And yet … here’s the McCain script.

CHYRON: Sarah Palin On: Sarah Palin

GOVERNOR PALIN: Do you know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull: lipstick.

CHYRON: Barack Obama On: Sarah Palin

BARACK OBAMA: Well, you know, you can, you know, you can…put…uh…lipstick on a pig…it’s still a pig.

CHYRON: Katie Couric On: The Election

CBS’ KATIE COURIC: One of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life.

CHYRON: Ready to Lead? No. Ready to Smear? Yes

Couric, it should be noted, in referring to "that campaign" was not talking about Obama, nor was she talking about Palin. She was talking about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

But this makes it sound as if Couric is calling Obama’s campaign sexist. She wasn’t. Just as Obama didn’t call Palin a pig.

- jpt

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