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Barack Obama's campaign calls one-finger issue 'absurd and untrue'

April 18, 2008 |  4:00 pm

A spokesman for the presidential campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has criticized The Ticket for making a "false and childish accusation" in an item Thursday that the candidate's one-fingered gesture during a speech that day might have been the finger aimed at his Democratic Party opponent instead of an innocent finger aimed at brushing his cheek or scratching a scratch.

As displayed in a video clip, Obama was criticizing Washington for its gotcha politics in general and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton specifically as being "in her element" there. As he mentions her name, he brushes his cheek twice with the middle finger of his right hand.

Ticket readers were invited to make their own interpretations of the gesture. Thousands read the item and viewed the video and a frame from it. And numerous other blogs and websites discussed the matter in the past day.

Democratic presidential candidate and Illinois Senator Barack Obama touches his cheek with one finger while criticizing his opponent New York Senator Hillary Clinton April 17, 2008 during remarks in Raleigh, NC

More than 500 readers left comments, a majority strongly criticizing the blog for asking the question. Those comments are available at the bottom of the previous item.

In an e-mail this afternoon Ben LaBolt, an Obama campaign spokesman, agreed with those commentors and said, in total:

"This is outrageous. The Ticket should be embarrassed for making this
false and childish accusation. It's absurd and untrue."

Asked to elaborate, LaBolt said, "I think my comment covers it. There's nothing to explain."

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

--Andrew Malcolm

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