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The Humor Deficit

An Arizona blog called Rum, Romanism and Rebellion, run by a former vice chairman of the state's Democratic Party, unearthed a 1986 article in the Tucson Citizen in which McCain was reported to have said the following:

"Did you hear the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die? When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, 'Where is that marvelous ape?' "

Now it's spreading across the Net, including the Hotline. HuffPost's Sam Stein tracked down the reporter of the 1986 story, Norma Coile:

" 'I'm not sure exactly what the wording was of the joke, but something was said. Some joke involving a rape and ape was said. Enough women repeated it to me at the time and the McCain campaign had a non-denial denial,' said Coile, now with the Arizona Daily Star. 'It came after his "Seizure World" joke, in which he referred to the [retirement community] Leisure World as Seizure World.' "

Americablog's John Aravosis chimes in: "Hey, it was a youthful indiscretion. I mean, McCain was only 49 years old at the time."

A bad joke may be just a bad joke, but McCain does have a history of making offensive cracks.So far, at least, the MSM have stayed away from the story. (Tody, of course, it would instantly be on YouTube.) Would that be the case if Obama was reported to have made a similar crack?

Following up on yesterday's scooplet in this space--that Katie, Brian and Charlie are going on Barack's Excellent Adventure abroad--I get some reaction for the print version:

"Obama has 'proven adept at generating excitement,' says David Folkenflik, media correspondent for National Public Radio. He said the anchors hope 'a little bit of that excitement will rub off on their newscasts if they can convey an American phenomenon abroad, if that's what it turns out to be. Senator McCain is not as magnetic a figure in that way.'

"Jim Geraghty, a columnist for National Review Online, said Obama's paucity of foreign travel as a presidential candidate makes the trip a natural draw for news organizations, while 'McCain has been around forever, and he's probably been to all these places before.' But, he says, 'the networks will be acting as a PR wing for the Obama campaign if they treat any of these photo ops as truly newsworthy breakthroughs.' "

Time calls it "an audition on the world stage."

Atlantic's Marc Ambinder ponders the challenge for Mac:

"It's hard to imagine that the McCain campaign won't be watching every single statement uttered by Obama very closely. But what should they do? A frontal attack on Obama's experience while he's in harm's way would strike many as tasteless, but not providing a response would be political malpractice. Alternatively, Britain is not a war zone. It's easier to rebut Obama when he's visiting the Queen than when he's visiting American troops.

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