- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama Wednesday morning accused his Republican rival’s campaign of attempting to drum up “phony outrage” over his comment the previous day about “lipstick on a pig.”

Mr. Obama, speaking to a small group in Norfolk, Virginia about his education policy, said Sen. John McCain seized on his riff about lipstick to provide “catnip” and a “made up controversy” for the news media. He said his remark was “innocent” and not directed at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

“The McCain campaign would much rather have the story about phony and foolish diversions than about the future. This happens every election cycle,” Mr. Obama said.

He said the country faces an energy crisis, education problems, economic hardship and two wars, “and this is what they want to talk about.”

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“This is what they want to spend two of the last 55 days talking about,” he said. “You know who ends up losing at the end of the day, it’s not the Democratic candidate, it’s not the Republican candidate, it’s you, the American people. Because then we go another year or another 4 years or another 8 years without addressing the issues that matter to you.”

He added, “Enough.”

“I don’t care what they say about me, but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics,” he said, to applause. “These are serious times and they call for a serious debate about where we need to take the nation.”

Tuesday evening in Lebanon Virginia, Mr. Obama had blasted Mr. McCain for claiming the mantle of change and said he actually is just like President Bush.

“You can put lipstick on a pig; it’s still a pig,” Mr. Obama said. Within an hour of the remark, a new “Palin Truth Squad” said Mr. Obama had called the vice presidential nominee a “pig,” even though Mr. McCain had previously used the same phrase to talk about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care plan.

Earlier in the day, Mr. McCain released a new ad using the lipstick comment and saying Mr. Obama was trying to “smear” Mrs. Palin.

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