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For Obama and McCain, the Bitter and the Sweet

Associated Press Chairman Dean Singleton, seated, was very sorry for commingling the names of the candidate and the terrorist.
Associated Press Chairman Dean Singleton, seated, was very sorry for commingling the names of the candidate and the terrorist. (By Charles Dharapak -- Associated Press)

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By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

So much for the liberal media.

John McCain and Barack Obama both appeared before the nation's newspaper editors yesterday. The putative Republican presidential nominee was given a box of doughnuts and a standing ovation. The likely Democratic nominee was likened to a terrorist.

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At a luncheon for the editors hosted by the Associated Press, AP Chairman Dean Singleton quizzed Obama about whether he would send more troops to Afghanistan, where "Obama bin Laden is still at large?"

"I think that was Osama bin Laden," the candidate answered.

"If I did that, I'm so sorry!" Singleton said.

"This," Obama told the editors, is "part of the exercise that I've been going through over the last 15 months."

Bitter, are we?

The past few days have left a bad taste in the mouth of the Democratic front-runner. In his worst gaffe of the campaign, he asserted (in San Francisco!) that Middle Americans have turned to God and guns and against immigrants because they are "bitter" about their economic lot.

That let Hillary Clinton and McCain portray Obama as a member of the effete elite, alongside John Kerry (Turnbull & Asser shirts) and John Edwards ($400 haircuts). Regular gal Clinton (Wellesley '69, Yale Law '73, family income $109 million since her husband left the White House) even made the point by tossing back a shot of Crown Royal at a bar in Indiana on Saturday night.

To shed the elitist label and regain his common-man credentials, Obama picked an inauspicious venue -- the annual gathering of the media elite, the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The result is likely to make the Democrat even more bitter. On the same day, the two media darlings of the presidential election cycle came to address their base -- and McCain easily bested his likely opponent.

McCain's moderators, the AP's Ron Fournier and Liz Sidoti, greeted McCain with a box of Dunkin' Donuts. "We spend quite a bit of time with you on the back of the Straight Talk Express asking you questions, and what we've decided to do today was invite everyone else along on the ride," Sidoti explained. "We even brought you your favorite treat."

McCain opened the offering. "Oh, yes, with sprinkles!" he said.


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