Opinion: Ticket Replay: Obama praises radio host who calls McCain ‘warmonger’

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From time to time this holiday week The Ticket is republishing our favorite items from the past political season. This one, which originally appeared in this space on April 5, 2008, carries a particular irony since it refers to McCain’s adamant denunciation of one of his rally speakers using Barack Obama’s middle name of ‘Hussein’ repeatedly to warm up the crowd.

(Back in April that was considered name-calling. Here we are in December and the president-elect has chosen to use all three of his names when taking the oath of office on Jan. 20.)

For the second time in several days a liberal radio talk-show host has ignited a firestorm of political criticism by calling another candidate names. This time it was Ed Schultz, who calls himself ‘progressive,’ speaking before Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at a Democratic state party event in North Dakota on Friday night and calling Republican Sen. John McCain a ‘warmonger.’

The McCain camp immediately called on Obama personally to denounce Schultz and the reference, as McCain did after a similar incident in Ohio in late February.

Saturday in Arizona, McCain, a decorated former POW who has spoken often of the horrors of war, said, ‘I would hope that, in keeping with his commitment, that Senator Obama would condemn such language, since it was part of his campaign.’


A few weeks ago when a Cincinnati radio talk-show host, Bill Cunningham, aroused a large Republican rally by continually referring to the Democratic presidential candidate as Barack Hussein Obama,....

...McCain, who also was not present but spoke later, immediately took responsibility for the incident, denounced the speaker and said such things would never happen again.

(UPDATE: President-elect Obama has chosen to take the oath of office at his inauguration on Jan. 20 using his full name: Barack Hussein Obama.)

Friday night in North Dakota when it was time for Obama to speak, he praised Schultz as a ‘voice of progressive radio’ and at two different speaking events Saturday Obama declined to repudiate Schultz’s comment.

Obama also continued to repeat his factually disputed charge that McCain ‘wants to continue this war in Iraq, maybe for 100 years.’ McCain has said his reference was to maintaining troops in Iraq as in South Korea, not in combat.

The Obama campaign sent out a spokesman who said, ‘John McCain is not a warmonger and should not be described as such. He’s a supporter of a war that Senator Obama believes should have never been authorized and never been waged.’

On Thursday, Air America, the liberal talk radio network, indefinitely suspended its popular afternoon hostess, Randi Rhodes, for repeatedly calling both Sen. Hillary Clinton and ex-Rep. Geraldine Ferraro ______ _________, a description of what actively working prostitutes do in those hotel rooms.

Meantime, Schultz remained unapologetic. ‘He voted for this war,’ Schultz told the Associated Press on Saturday. ‘He’s a perpetrator of the war. He’s an advocate of the war. In my personal definition, that’s a warmonger.’

--Andrew Malcolm

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