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Puzzled by McCain

By the time a presidential campaign season is over, the journalists who have been covering it will be awash in credentials -– meaning the plastic tags of various sizes that hang on lanyards around their necks.

Credentials allow entry to debates and rallies, onto campaign planes, buses and fundraisers. Conventions have their own special, and ridiculously numerous, credentials. They are larger than normal, and separate ones are handed out for every day of the four-day events.

Rarely are credentials fun to look at. But last week, at the vice presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, the national reporters traveling with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin got a credential with a twist: The front was a crossword puzzle; the back was a list of clues. All were related to the evening’s event.

Among the clues: A four-letter word for “First Dude”? A three-letter word for “SNL lookalike Tina”?  An eight-letter word for “the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull”? A 16-letter phrase that is the title of a book by John McCain? A six-letter word meaning “to engage in a discussion involving opposing points”? A five-letter word meaning “name of terrorist Barack Obama pals around with”? Just kidding about that last one!

(Answers are: Todd, Fey, lipstick, “Faith of My Fathers” and debate.)

--Robin Abcarian

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If you think cryptically restating an obscene smear by Palin against Obama is a funny way to end your article, think again. Think New Yorker cover. Think IQ of average reader.

My how that hate and fear Sarah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go Sarah go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since William Ayers has not been charged with anything and is not under any type of investigation, if he were attacked, would Palin be culpable?

She did call William Ayers, on national TV, a terrorist. Does she have evidence we don’t know about? Is this legal, calling someone not running for office a “terrorist”?

Could I call my neighbor a terrorist? And get away with it? How about if I put it on TV?

Obviously the "change" that McCain / Palin and the Republican campaign and supporters are talking about is - changing the subject.....What a hopeless lot. And, it is clear that the majority of right thinking American voters will vote the Republican Party to where it belongs... nowhere....

Nothing "Cryptic" about it. It's the truth.

Abcarian is as funny as cancer.

You know I had hoped that McPalin would stay clear of the race card on this one, but I guess desperate times calls for desperate measures. Her comments on McCain are borderline racist, just carefully worded. I'm surprised she even had the balls to say that "Obama isn't one of us", who exactly was she speaking to when she said those words?

Another low blow to distract voters, I hope American's prove that they can rise above this. If not, well then we have a lot of sad days ahead of us.

So when is the McCain campaign going to sink low enough in the mire to start calling their opponent "Osama" in rallies? Maybe use the adjective 'uppity'? That's really what America needs, a candidate who'll throw honor, dignity, unity, under the bus to win.

definition of a Maverick: "a bull in a china shop"....Cheney for stealing powers of office .... McCain for moving before he thinks ... George Bush for starting a war that that never needed to happen .... Let's call it the Maverick Party

Those questions, by the way, are the questions Gov. Palin thinks she knows the answers further comments...

That campaign is one sick joke. Maybe they can laugh and fool their way into the White House but it will be without my help. SNL skits on this duo: hard to decipher a skit from the real thing on the campaign trail, etc. Except it is no longer funny to me.
I cannot believe Republicans are so ignorant or dumb to have selected an actor with Alzheimer's, a baseball team owner, and now, a senile war monger with an empty headed silly woman. After watching the slow but steady decimation of our country, beginning with the trickle down economy of Reagan and the failed policies and abuses of Chaney/Bush, and now these two, I am concluding that this is a purposeful stragegy with a defined goal. I do believe that Republicans are in the process of dismantling our government and it will be fait de complet with this election if these two "are so privileged to serve".

The most danger we face now is not a terrorist attack from outside our borders; it is the undermining of our government from these two reactionary radicals who do not know what they do not know. But, that is not a requirement to complete the job they are "tapped" for. Why else would they let this loose cannon, unqualified individual sling their smear while she, herself, is under investigation in Alaska? It is not chutzpa; it is delusion.

Again I have to say:
Headlines of the Lonon Times four years ago.
Answer: YES...Yes they can...God forbid.
Vote and vote for Obama please.-

How is it a smear when someone correctly points out that Obama has a long association with Mr. Ayers and that Mr. Ayers is, indeed, an unrepentant domestic terrorist? This does not lay well on top of the rest of Obama's unsavory acquaintances.

PS-Anyone using the words "smear" or "gaffe" in the next month should be shaved, stripped and shot.

Get over yourself A Reader. Life is short, and you take yourself and your politics Much Too Seriously! In the end, all it ever turns out to be about are paper bags filled with empty promises. Any veteran of more than 6 Presidential elections can testify to that. Sit back, relax, enjoy the fight and don't forget to grin once in awhile. It's the only thing that separates us from the politicians. :-)

Edward R. Murrow you are not. Have you no sense of decency, sir?

Palin is doing serious harm to America with her lies.

People all over the world will think Barac Obama, the leading candadate for the Presidentcy of the USA is a closet terrorist.

One wonders if the Republicans who think Palin is a patriot have stoped to consider the damage her anti- American smear campain will cause to the US.

I hope the true patriots in the GOP will rise up againts this type of America bashing and send Palin home to her family that needs her badly.

It is a shame that the media has so little credibility that they can't afford to examine Ms. Palin's managment and leadership experience in the ways that the American voter is entitled.

Here is a political novice being touted as a person thoroughly vetted and prepared to be a heartbeat away to the Presidency in one of this country's most trying times and no one in the media is even speaking with the Alaskans that do know her ... her legislative leadership!

America has beeen forced to accept a first term Governor of 600K people and "marketing gimmick" as a VP and we aren't even entitled to know her credentials? Are we so gullible that we cant see what "John Rove and Karl Mccain" are attempting to sell us?

The rest of the world has got to be seeing this as our just desserts for our decades of arrogance, greed and gross inattention to our country's needs.

Nero must be applauding this fire in ways that only he can truly appreciate ... except for the Putin's and Chavez's of the world ...

I became a citizen of this fine country only recently. I did so because I was impressed by the refreshing and beautiful belief in democracy and the surprisingly educated quality of voters in the United States. My confidence in that level of voter knowledge is becoming increasingly strained recently, spurred on by this apparent desire to believe whatever the voter wants to believe, no matter how dumb, as long as it backs up his/her party's ticket. An association with something nefarious, such as terrorism has only to be suggested by certain prominent people and it automatically becomes fact, coinciding as it will with a sound-bite filled episode of Fox or indeed CNN that will stretch the point and one's belief to extremes. Is this really the democracy we Americans want our country to be known for around the world? It isn't the democracy I was taught to believe America was about and that USCIS insists we immigrants learn in order to become citizens of this country. Americans should be forced to take the same immigration test we naturalized citizens have to take before they are allowed to vote. I'd love to see the results.

Talk about out of touch. What does lipstick, Tina Fey, Todd, or even his book have to do with helping the tens of thousands of American people who are losing their homes and jobs?

Eight is enough!

No need to be puzzled anymore, take a look at this..
The real McCain...

Questioning Obama's patriotism.
Hm, sounds like an attempt to revive McCarthyism.



",,,Think IQ of average reader..."

Better yet .... think of the IQ of the author of this article.

Agreed, Reader. The entire filthy media establishment is absolutely gleeful now that McCain is launching his slime machine. They love a blood bath, no matter what it does to the country.

don't you start that word salad stuff. let there be some literacy somewhere continuing, also.

@ obama is not:

You really believe that Obama's Harvard education was funded by "A RADICAL MUSLIM GROUP WITH SAUDIS HELP "? Moreover you believe it's been kept a secret by a conspiracy of, (I'm only guessing here but I'd bet,) 10,000 journalists?

Good news buddy. You can take off your tinfoil hat, because even if the aliens do show up I doubt they'd take your damaged @$$.

Ayers is not in jail for anything, is he? He is a prof at U of Illinois. A prominent lady invited Obama to lunch to ask if he would chair a committee on Educational Reform for which the Chicago received $50 million grant from Anneburg Foundation. He said he would if she would be Vice Chair. Ayers was on the committee as he had done research on education in his role as Prof. They attended these meetings, with others, including a Rabbi who lived across the street from Obama and down the street from Ayers. The Rabbi later launched Obama's state campaign with a coffee in his home; Ayers also had a get together at his home for the campaign; as did many other associates. Ayers, at some point, donated $200 to his campaign. Other than running into each other in the neighborhood, there is no "long term relationship" or "palling around". All of these things about Obama have been explored and clarified in the almost 2 years he has been on the scene, even by his colleagues in his own Party.

It is amazing that some empty headed Sarah Come Lately brings it all up again during the agonal stage of her dying campaign and falling star. She cannot speak intelligently on any issue, including energy, and is a joke, but she can start with the smears and sleaze, when, she is under investigation in Alaska for abuse of power and has a history of cronyism, failure to report taxes on her per diem income she charged for working from home, back taxes, on her and Todd's "middle class" life of $1.3+ million dollar portfolio with her 1/2 million dollar home, to boot. McCain has so much dirt in his life (yes, I read that 10 page article in Rolling Stones today). He is just what he has appeared to me throughout this campaign.

How foolish for these two people to "turn this page" and go into this chapter while so many Americans are in dire straits. They have no respect for themselves, but, more importantly, they have NO respect for the American people.

Last act of a desperate campaign that knows that it is on the losing end of this election.

You can tell by the hate and sputtering how the libs fear Governor Palin. They revile her even more than they do President Bush. It is good to see them so dumbfounded and confused that their only answer is a tv comedienne who looks like her. There is almost no real policy difference expressed, only disdain because they know most people agree with Palin and the lefties know their message stays in the same socialist circles forever without change..only repetition. The scam on America is over.

Hopefully nothing will happen to Mr. Ayers, but, concerning the possibility of a lawsuit here, isn't the smear that Sarah Palin did to Mr. Ayers on the national stage enough to have a jury award millions to him paid by Sarah Palin and her people.

I believe she has defamed the character of an innocent man.

Way to go, Gov. Palin. Call him out on every lie he's conjured up to deceive the American people. Unfortunately, we only have a month left.

Oh, yeh, when I want fact based in depth investigative reporting, I immediately think of Rolling Stone magazine.

No way, we will not be sold lemons again ...a la Bush ..Chenney.God forbid.
McCain is BAD news for America.Palin is pale and she will soon fade back into obscurity where she came the dead woods and ice of the country of the blind, a one eyed preson is indeed King.sarah will be booted out of office after she has exposed her shallowness and emptiness.What a joke....she is an insult to all common sensed Americans.

Are Americans stupid or just, say conservatives-I LIVE IN ALASKA and I'm so dishonered by this woman...This state is full of people who dont need witch doctors or spend their time in bed with their husbands partner,,,,,,,,,,,This lady can't even believe in evoluton and thinks large reptiles roamed the earth just 4 thousand years ago......And of course I decided to be GAY......Th at is why I ask to be less a person the the a$$ wholes that think she is great......This is not about party this is about the 10,000 people a day losing their home......This is about people who cant be protected from terroists because they are weeding the garden....This is about those who wanted WALL STREET to go unchecked along with CIA, DOJ, or some lame GOV........or the vp we have now who made tons of money from a misguided WAR????

Is anyone really interested in the "truth"? How did Palin daughter have enough unsupervised, unaccounted for time to get pregnant? Does Palin advocate drinking (Joe six pack) and equate that to being a responsible mother (soccer mom)? Does McCain advocate domestic violence or is beating your spouse the same as a failed marriage? Are prescription drug addicts okay, especially those that steal from their own charity to obtain the drugs?

Now, that is truly the "truth", but no one is saying it? Let's either stick to the issues in the country or the "truth" in the country. I am fine either way.

The thing everyone should remember is when you hear Obama and Biden speak they generally attack the opponent on the issue or policy defects. They tend to stay away from venomous personal attacks and that should be commended. The Republicans seem to think name calling or making groundless immaterial accusations define the opponent all the while not realizing they are the ones being judged on the merits of their conduct.


You know what's scary to me? The number of Palin supporters who talk about how scared "lefties" are/ or should be of Palin. The number of blog posts and comments I've read where they use threats of physical violence against "lefties" - like "shaved and shot." You people like to talk about anyone left of center as being a terrorist, but threatening people with violence is what terrorism IS, and in your cases, it is fascist terrorist and THAT is down-right scary, gosh darn-it.

All our enemies around the world loves the
republican Party. Look what they did to our
beautiful country.

Sarah Six-Pack.....Just what this country needs in this scarrry post-bush depression era... LOL

You can tell by the hate and sputtering how the conservatives fear Senator Obama. They revile him even more than they do the Clintons. It is good to see them so dumbfounded and confused that their only answer is a sleazy smear campaign. There is almost no real policy difference expressed, only disdain because they know most people agree with Obama and the righties know their message stays in the same fascist circles forever without change..only repetition. The scam on America is over.

I'm not an American so I'm looking at the whole election as a bystander. Please help me to understand something. Which is more important? To vote for the best person for the job or to vote along party line. Personally I find it sad when the best person for a job is overlooked, due to the fact that the other candidates do a better job at marketing themselves and running others down. I think that future moderators should ensure the candidates give concrete answers instead of allowing them to beat around the bush and side stepping the questions.

Sometimes in a democracy, the people's will turns into the means of their destruction. The most glaring example in modern times of a democracy leading to the destruction of a nation is Germany when they voted for Adolf Hitler, which resulted in their cities being bombed into rubble, their country being dismembered, and their women all being raped by rampaging Russian troops. A more current example would be the Palestinians voting Hamas into office and launching a civil war, followed by dismemberment between the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

If McCain wins this election, you Americans have a pretty good chance of putting Sarah Palin in the Oval Office, which following the disaster that was George Bush, could very will put the final nail in the coffin of America's place as the leader of the Free World. If that happens, you people will only have yourselves to blame. And your plight will only elicit contempt from the rest of humanity.

That comment at the end about Ayers was funny. Good job LAT.

"...most people agree with Palin"? All joking aside, the only person full of hate and sputtering lies is Palin and her GOP. With lies about war and now complete failure on the economy, you'd think the GOP would opt out of such an aggressive "holier than though" flag-waving Rovesque campaign strategy. If they truly want to do something right for America, how about suspend McCain's campaign indefinitely and acknowledge the Bush/Cheney years as disastrous and despicable?

Palin, who cares? If the ticket should win she will resign within the first 6 months. You think MaCain wants that idiot hanging around.

OMG. How can you say the Mr. William Ayers is an innocent man? He freely admits to bombing both the Capitol building and the Pentagon. He was not convicted due to an over eager prosecution who's activities got the case thrown out. Just cause you are not convicted does not mean you are not guilty. By the way he also admits that he would have not problem doing "it" again if he felt the "need". I would have to say that by his own statements he is a domestic terrorist. As much as Ted Kaczynski or Timothy McVeigh. The only difference is he gets to walk around outside with the rest of us. The us that he would kill if he felt like it.

The Republicans are diverting attentions away from the main issues like Economy, Health care, Education, ... and tried to scare the voters with William Ayers, Rev. Wright,.. The Republicans fooled us in 2000 and 2004. Don't let them fool you again. Stay focus on the issues and see what they can offer.

It's real funny that the ones that have the most to hide always cry the loudest.
Friday is just a few short days away lets see how fast Sara drops then.
Cry baby, Cry! your 15 days of fame are running out.

As a literate liberal, I don't fear Governor Palin. In fact, I want to see more Sarah Palin. I don't want to listen to her rattle off q-cards from Steve or Karl. I want to hear her own words and ideas. I want to hear what she has to say about her personal links to religous extremists. I want to hear her own words defending her positions against women and children. I want to hear her explain why she cut funding for special needs children. But the real Sarah Palin refuses to stand up. She's too busy lobbing dirty snowballs over her snow fort's wall. Come out Sarah. Come out, come out what ever you are!

I don't underestimate her executive experience. What I fear is, given the chance, what she will do as executive on the United States. If it's what she has done in Wasilla, we're all screwed!

To all of you who think that Obama is so clean, then you need to look at the REAL TRUTH that has been vetted and is what you can depend on. It is under Anyone But After spending time reading this, and you can still vote for him, then be prepared to "reap what you sow" because life will never be the same.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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