Second Edwards Blogger Quits

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 14, 2007; 9:26 AM

The other shoe has dropped in the John Edwards blogger uproar.

One day after Amanda Marcotte said she was bailing from the Edwards presidential campaign amid criticism that her writings were anti-Catholic, the former senator's other hire from the blogosphere, Melissa McEwan, called it quits last night.

McEwan wrote that she made the decision, with the campaign's "reluctant support, because my remaining the focus of sustained ideological attacks was inevitably making me a liability to the campaign, and making me increasingly uncomfortable with my and my family's level of exposure."

Edwards had decided last week to retain Marcotte and McEwan even while saying he found some of their writing offensive. McEwan, who had called President Bush's conservative Christian supporters his "wingnut Christofascist base," apologized for "letting down my peers" in the liberal online world but said she had been the target of a campaign of "frightening ugliness."

"There will be some who clamor to claim victory for my resignation, but I caution them that in doing so, they are tacitly accepting responsibility for those who have deluged my blog and my inbox with vitriol and veiled threats," McEwan said.

Marcotte, who took more of the incoming fire, may never become a household name, but everyone in the blogosphere seems to be talking about her.

Well, check that. Everyone on the right side of the blogosphere seems to chattering on about the liberal blogger from Pandagon. My sense is that the lefty bloggers don't want to kick Marcotte when she's down, or would prefer to focus on the role of Bill Donohoe, the Catholic League official who went after her and who liberals say has his own long list of inflammatory comments.

(Sample: "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay? And I'm not afraid to say it." Said John Aravosis of Americablog: "This is the same man who calls gays 'queers.' ")

Still, some liberal bloggers are privately peeved that Marcotte continued to blog on Catholic subjects, even after signing on with Edwards.

Conservative bloggers with political ambitions have hardly been immune from criticism. Patrick Hynes of Ankle Biting Pundits got kicked around for praising John McCain without initially disclosing that he had signed with the McCain camp.

My sense is that candidates want the hipness infusion and netroots support that bloggers offer but would like to finesse being associated with online fire-breathers--in other words, they want it both ways. Edwards, as I've written, paid some bloggers to cover his announcement tour, and hired a TV crew to provide "behind-the-scenes" footage of the candidate. But the Edwards campaign has had almost nothing to say about this flap, often not returning calls or responding to e-mails. The Edwards blog has zip on l'affaire Amanda, making it seem rather sanitized.

Marcotte, for her part, runs excerpts of some vile and sexist e-mails she has gotten from her detractors. It's not a pretty picture.

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