I took some flak last week for suggesting that reports about the supposed death threats directed at Sen. Obama by McCain-Palin supporters at several political rallies (and subsequently cited by Obama during the third debate!) were fabricated or at least bogus. So here's Newsweek fessing up:
During a heated moment in his final presidential debate with Sen. John McCain, Sen. Barack Obama noted the anger of some supporters at rallies for McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. "All the public reports suggested," Obama said, that people shouted "things like 'terrorist' and 'kill him'." Making a death threat against a presidential candidate can be a crime. But even before Obama cited "reports" of the threats at the debate, the U.S. Secret Service had told media outlets, including NEWSWEEK, that it was unable to corroborate accounts of the "kill him" remarks—and according to a law-enforcement official, who asked for anonymity when discussing a political matter, the Obama campaign knew as much. Now some officials are disgruntled that Obama gave added credence to the threat by mentioning it in front of 60 million viewers. At this point in the campaign, said one, candidates will "say anything to make a particular point." [Emphasis added.]
I'm sitting here wondering what the difference is between Pres. Clinton looking into a camera and falsely claiming to sixty million Americans, "I did not have sex with that woman," and Sen. Obama looking into a camera and falsely claiming to sixty million Americans that McCain-Palin supporters were shouting "Kill him!" at rallies. Both men knew their statements were false — or at the very least coldly calculated to mislead voters — and both men did it for the political benefit of the speaker.