Obama Says McCain Is Offering Fake Change: ‘You Can Put Lipstick on a Pig, But It’s Still a Pig’

By Lee Speigel

Sep 9, 2008 6:10pm

LEBANON, Va. — "That’s not change," Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said of what Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is offering, laying out how McCain and President George W. Bush agree — in Obama’s view — on economic policy, foreign policy, health care policy, etc., etc.

"You know, you can put lipstick on a pig," Obama said, "but it’s still a pig."

The crowd rose and applauded, some of them later telling reporters* that they thought Obama had been alluding to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s ad lib during her vice presidential nomination acceptance speech last week, "What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."

"You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called ‘change,’" Obama continued, "it’s still gonna stink after eight years.

"We’ve had enough of the same old thing! It’s time to bring about real change to Washington.  And that’s the choice you’ve got in this election."

Obama added that "it is not going to be easy … John McCain has a compelling biography, you know Sarah Palin is an interesting story."

The crowd booed.

"No, she’s new!" Obama said. "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!"

–  Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

UPDATE: Obama senior adviser Robert Gibbs insists the senator was not referring to Palin or Palin’s comments. "That’s an old expression," Gibbs says.

* Note: this post has been updated. I originally wrote that the crowd "no doubt" made the connection, and then, after a bunch of us who were there in the gym talked to members of the audience, I changed this entry to reflect that they told us that they made the connection. Which is NOT the same thing, significantly, as them telling us that they thought Obama was calling Palin a pig — an interpretation NONE of us heard from members of the the audience, despite the false claim pushed by the McCain campaign.

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