McCain aide suspended for publicizing anti-Obama video
The low-level staffer had helped spread the word about a video that interspersed the words of the Democrat with incendiary comments from his pastor.
US Republican presidential candidate John McCain addresses the media outside 10 Downing Street in central London, on March 20, 2008, after a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. A low-level staffer has been suspended from McCain's campaign in connection with sending out an unauthorized communication. (Carl de Souza / AFP / Getty Images / March 20, 2008)
The staffer, Soren Dayton, was suspended for sending out a message from a personal Twitter account informing recipients of a video called "Is Obama Wright?" In effect, Dayton used the alert from Twitter, an electronic messaging service, to stoke the dispute involving Wright's comments, which have hurt Obama's presidential campaign.
"We have been very clear on the type of campaign we intend to run and this staffer acted in violation of our policy," campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said in a telephone interview. "He has been reprimanded by campaign leadership and suspended from the campaign."
The campaign quickly moved to distance itself from Dayton's action, noting it was not an authorized communication. It was also the latest effort by the campaign to set a higher tone.
Last month, McCain denounced the comments of a radio talk show host who, while introducing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, repeatedly referred to Obama by his middle name of Hussein.
Politico, a Washington-based website, reported that the two-minute video was the work of Lee Habeeb, a former producer of Laura Ingraham's radio talk show. In the video, Wright's most incendiary remarks are mixed with snippets from Obama speeches and interviews, which are edited to make the senator seem to be sputtering and unpatriotic.