McCain campaign "push-polling"

Story in the Guardian:

Rove torpedoed McCain with push-polling in the 2000 Republican primaries. McCain has learned his lesson well.

“What happened to that principled, stand-up John McCain? The guy we saw in 2000?”

“He lost.”

Dammit, why can’t America be more like the Laff-a-Lympics, where cheating and weaseling backfire and the Really Rottens always lose in the end?

Yeah…doesn’t make it any more palatable.

I thought it sucked when used against McCain and I think it sucks now. And certainly it adds another straw to the pile (as if we needed another) that McCain is full of shit on casting himself as a “principled” character.

There really should be a way to sue people like this for slander. I’m the last one to jump to the courts and sue people for every little thing but overt bullshit like this should just not be allowed.

Because then the situation would devolve into a civil conflict between the Yogi Yahooies and the Scooby-Doobies.

Well, that’s the thing. It’s presented in such a way as to make it non-slanderous: “What would you say if I told you that Barack Obama is a Muslim?” is a hypothetical, even though there’s a clear inference that Obama’s a Muslim.

If they’re saying “Barack Obama is a Muslim. How does that affect your choice of candidate?” then it’s slander.

If that distinction really works in court (and it very well may AFAIK) then that sucks too. It is glaringly obvious that the above is splitting hairs with no effective distinction between the two.

I recall from journalism school, there was a case holding that a gossip columnist could not escape liability for libel by phrasing her libels as questions and naming no names, e.g., “What blonde wife . . .?”

No, the problem here is that it’s very hard to make a claim of defamation stick in a political-campaign context – First Amendment protections, by general judicial consensus, applying more strictly to political speech than any other kind.

I would not want to see a trial in which “X is a member of Y religious group” is grounds for slander.

That’s a good point. I suppose I should have used the McCain example from 2000: “Would it affect your decision if we told you that John McCain has an illegitimate black child?” (sort-of-alluding to his adopted Pakistani daughter).

That does seem bad but that does not make it non-slanderous. Obviously the “Obama is a Muslim” schpiel is being used to slander him. It is cruddy that such a thing is viewed as relevant and a ding against a candidate but it is.

“Slander is an untruthful oral (spoken) statement about a person that harms the person’s reputation or standing in the community.” (cite)

Seems to fit that definition to me.

He hasn’t had to. Rove works for his campaign.

If this is true, McCain is a fucking whore. If he thinks it is justified because it might help him win, then he is justifying Rove’s use of his daughter in 2000. What a total fucking scumbag.


I wonder if he’s ever read Faust?

Where does it say that the McCain campaign is doing this? I didn’t go to your link, but your quote doesn’t say anything about who the pollsters are.

Does he? There’s nothing about that here.

They do not know who it is (says that in the story). Certainly the actual campaign would keep its distance and plausible deniability. Seems a bit too pervasive and coordinated though to chalk up as a crank call or something.

Not Rove, but one of Rove’s disciples, Steve Schmidt. One of many links about this here.

A guy named Steve Schmidt worked for me once, but not the same guy. My guy had some morals.

Yeah, Wiki is a completely reliable source. :rolleyes: