Video: Olbermann: McCain’s clumsy hypocrisy

By Keith Olbermann Anchor, 'Countdown'
updated 10/22/2008 9:19:31 PM ET 2008-10-23T01:19:31

Finally, as promised, tonight's Campaign Comment and the issue of $150,000 being spent by the Republican National Committee so it could play vice presidential Color-Forms with Sarah Palin and her family is almost literally window-dressing.

But even this saga of the Would-Be Empress's New Clothes does emphasize a point about the campaign, worthy of deep consideration. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars in clothes, Sen. McCain? To make what might as well be an actress playing your running mate look more like a vice president, Sen. McCain?

Most of the money spent at Sak's Fifth Avenue and Niemann-Marcus, the latter also known to smart shoppers as Needless-Markup, Sen. McCain? While the economy, in your famous imagery to David Letterman, is cratering, Sen. McCain?

While your campaign has tried to paint Sen. Obama as elitist, Sen. McCain?A "Celebrity," Sen. McCain? Here's your running mate, Senator.  Like I said, Color-Forms. This is the hockey mom, connected to the small towns where the Real Americans are. Strugglin' and scrimpin' on what's workin' out to be a clothin' budget of $18,000 a week. And here, Sen. McCain, is a picture taken by a photographer from Time Magazine, in March, of your opponent.

The elitist celebrity. Nice shoes.This is the guy you tried to paint as the Paris Hilton of this campaign. Senator, you picked a Paris Hilton to be your running mate and you brought this topic up.

How do you get around, while carrying the weight of this awful, cheesy, see-through, politically pointless, hypocrisy? We see it constantly. Joe the Plumber. Bad Barack Obama, ruining Joe's privacy.

When it was Sen. McCain who invoked this poor guy 21 times in the debates and every day since. Bad media, prying into Joe's story.

When the whole thing, from his income to his professional licensing, was a complete fabrication. This campaign will not, and apparently cannot, recognize that the American public has completely seen through it.

The image has been carefully stitched together, one hypocritical kvetch at a time. If John McCain complains about Sen. Obama, you can count on it, whatever it is; John McCain or Sarah Palin have done it more, or earlier, or worse, or more obviously.

Senator—baseball? You went after Obama because he first said he was always a White Sox fan but leaning towards the Phillies in the World Series, but then went and made an appearance with the team the Phillies are playing, the Tampa Bay Rays?

MCCAIN: I heard, maybe you did too, that Sen. Obama was showing some love to the Devil Rays down in Tampa Bay yesterday. Now, I'm not dumb enough to get mixed up in a World Series between swing states, but I think I may have detected a little pattern with Sen. Obama. It's pretty simple really. When he's campaigning in Philadelphia, he roots for the Phillies, and when he's campaigning in Tampa Bay, he shows love to the Rays. It's kind of like the way he campaigns on tax cuts, but then votes for tax increases after he's elected. Or the way he says he backs the middle class and then goes and attacks Joe the Plumber after Sen. Obama's asked a tough question.

Aw, Senator, come on. The day after Tampa Bay eliminated Obama's White Sox in the playoffs and moved on to face the Boston Red Sox for a berth in the World Series there was Gov. Palin in Jacksonville:

PALIN (OCTOBER 7, 2008): How about those Tampa Bay Rays? You know what that tells me? It tells me that the people in this area know a little something about turning an underdog into a victor.

And then eight days later, Senator, with the Rays leading the Red Sox two games to one in their playoff series, your running mate is now in New Hampshire where she says,

PALIN (OCTOBER 15, 2008): Red Sox fans know how to turn an underdog into a victor.

Senator, baseball affections, hockey moms and unlicensed plumbers, Niemann-Marcus Wardrobes and Color-Forms, and re-soled shoes—they're diversions, and stupid ones— "chaff," as the sub-mariners call it.

But they've become the essence of your campaign. Even though everything you accuse your opponent of you've done worse. And there is one last point to make about all this. Since September 18th, 1996, presidential candidates of both parties have had to beware — the "Bob Dole moment."

That was the day the then Republican nominee, facing a ballooning lead for the Democrat, stood at a school in the West Hills section of Los Angeles, and the day after an outstanding performance from LA pitcher Hideo Nomo made a fateful baseball analogy.

BOB DOLE (SEPTEMBER 18, 1996): I'm going to be like Nomo. I am going to pitch a no-hitter from now until November 5th. The Brooklyn Dodgers had a no-hitter last night, and I'm going to follow what Nomo did.

Dole, of course, meant the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers, had moved out of Brooklyn in 1957. Sen. Dole had gotten the name of the team wrong by nearly 40 years.

A simple slip, invoking an image of timeless cluelessness. And since that day no presidential hopeful has ever ad libbed, certainly not about sports, without some fear in the gut of reprising a "Bob Dole moment."

Who knew John McCain's would be so similar. No, not the "I couldn't agree more" speech to a confused Pennsylvania crowd. That was kind of like a "Bob Dole moment."

But let's go back to Sen. McCain about the World Series which began tonight.

This is an actual "Bob Dole moment:"

MCCAIN: I heard, maybe you did too, that Sen. Obama was showing some love to the Devil Rays down in Tampa Bay yesterday.

Tampa Bay Rays, Senator. They exorcised the "Devil" from their name last year.

After ten consecutive seasons in last place, they changed their name from "Devil Rays" to just "Rays" and immediately went to the World Series. It was in all the papers, Senator. To say nothing of all the sermons. I bet even Joe the plumber knew that.

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