The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

05 April 2008

Obama Denounces Ed Schultz Over Anti-McCain Slam


'Warmonger' Remark Lands Libtalker In Hot Water


In a scenario oddly similar to that faced by a conservative host earlier this year, libtalker Ed Schultz is in hot water for a verbal anti- John McCain attack that resulted in trouble for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

Identical to the role Bill Cunningham played before a McCain event in February, Schultz was the opening speaker at an Obama fundraiser held in North Dakota Friday evening. Big Eddie, as he is known, took the opportunity to slam McCain, calling him a "warmonger".

That created an almost instant backlash against the Democrat presidential primary frontrunner, which led Obama to quickly repudiate Schultz's rhetoric.

The AP has more:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama's presidential campaign on Saturday repudiated a liberal talk show host's description of Sen. John McCain as a warmonger, a comment made to an audience that Obama later addressed.

Ed Schultz, host of a nationally syndicated radio program that is based in Fargo, N.D., was warming up the crowd Friday at a $100-a-person fundraiser for the North Dakota Democratic party in Grand Forks when he tagged the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting as a "warmonger," Schultz acknowledged in a telephone interview Saturday.

He said he has used the term many times on the air to refer to McCain because of his support for the war in Iraq.

"He voted for this war. He's a perpetrator of the war. He's an advocate of the war," Schultz said. "In my personal definition, that's a warmonger."

Obama was not in the room when Schultz spoke. The candidate spoke after a series of introductions by the state's three Democrats in Congress.

Obama thanked Schultz and called him "the voice of progressive radio."

Schultz is a Fargo- based libtalker syndicated nationally by JonesMediaAmerica and is generally at odds with his Air America- based counterparts.

According to the Wall Street Journal, it was McCain himself who called on Obama to repudiate Ed's remarks:

Sen. John McCain called on potential fall rival Sen. Barack Obama to condemn comments made in a Democratic party fundraiser in North Dakota on Friday night where liberal radio talk show host, Ed Schultz, called Mr. McCain a “warmonger.”

After he was introduced, Mr. Obama thanked Mr. Schultz and called him the voice of progressive radio.

“It’s a free country and we have freedom of speech in America and Mr. Schultz is entitled to his views. I would hope that in keeping with his commitment that … Sen. Obama would condemn such language since it was part of his campaign,” Mr. McCain told reporters in Prescott, Ariz. “That kind of thing I don’t think is necessary at all in this campaign. I’ve made very clear how I feel about war and my experiences with it.”

Left unsaid was that, unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. McCain does not allow reporters into his fundraisers so the press does not know what supporters may be saying to the crowds there.

The speed with which Obama complied is positively breathtaking, underscoring just how cautious the Democrat remains about stirring up any potential backlash regarding McCain, a war hero.

Fox News indicates there may be some confusion as to the timeline on both the demand and repudiation, but it may not affect the overall story. From their report:

“I hope that in keeping with the spirit of Senator Obama that they … will condemn such language since it was a part of his campaign,” he said.

Though Obama’s campaign responded, McCain’s campaign still wants the candidate himself to denounce the remark.

What’s fair is fair, the McCain campaign reasoned.

“Sen. Obama has repeatedly said that words matter, they do, and for him to stand on stage and thank someone who just minutes before used hate-filled and inflammatory language to describe John McCain, someone who has served his nation in and out of uniform for over 30 years, shows Obama’s true colors, liberal Chicago-style politics as usual,” McCain campaign spokesman Jeff Sadosky said before Obama responded. “Americans want more; they deserve better.”

After learning about Cunningham’s incendiary comments from advisers after the February event, McCain rebuked and disassociated himself with the talk show host minutes later at a press conference. The presumptive GOP nominee repeatedly has vowed to run a “respectful” race and campaign officials were attempting to draw a contrast between McCain’s quick condemnation of Cunningham’s remarks and Obama’s reaction.

While Obama is clearly looking to the general election and what will be expected of him, this is likely to go over about as well with the left as the suspension of Randi Rhodes by Air America.

Don't expect Schultz to let this go without a fight.

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  • Is Randi back on Air America? She is back on her "hometown" station WJNO.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 07 April, 2008 16:24  

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