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Was “that one” the defining moment of the debate?

This morning, all the web sites and blogs I’m perusing are still flabbergasted over Grandpa McCain calling Barack Obama “that one” at last night’s presidential debate.

It was certainly rude and dismissive. But was it racist? A lot of pundits and commenters think it might have been. Watch the clip:

I’m not sure if McCain’s “that one” had anything to do with race. I think McCain was doing everything he could to avoid using an obscenity. Remember this is the man who called his own wife a “c-nt” in front of three news reporters. I think McCain resents Obama for being a young whippersnapper who is clearly kicking his ass in the polls. The comment, to me, has more to do with Obama’s youthfulness and his brazen nerve to come into this race and wipe the floor with his elder – a Navy man, no less!

What are your thoughts? I really want to hear everyone’s different reactions. It was such an awkward but important moment.

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9 thoughts on “Was “that one” the defining moment of the debate?

  1. It was definitely racist. I think McCain did a good job trying to hide his disdain, but whatever is in the heart will come out of the mouth. What McCain hasn’t realized is that BO is not a punk and he’s not scared of JSM. This election is a wrap! Obama/Biden 08′

  2. I didn’t think anything of it at all. “that one,” as in “that one over there” is a normal turn of phrase where and when I come from. It’s perfectly normal in my circles for people to say “I want to do X, but ‘that one’ wants to do this instead.” We use it irrespective of race, gender or age.

    Personally, when people start complaining primarily about accent, idiom or similar things I pretty much figure that they really didn’t have a substantive argument against what those accents, idioms or similar things were used to convey and are just hunting for a way to discredit the speaker and his message.

    Kind of like the “fist bump” crap, or people ranting about Palin’s north western US language.

  3. In and of itself I would think it rude and showing contempt, but looking at the larger picture and the disturbing behaviour of supporters at mccain/palin rally’s (racial obscenities directed towards news media at events-obama not being one of us claims, called a terrorist and calls to kill him) I would say it is hardly surprising that it might be viewed as having a racist undertone. I don’t know if it does, but I do know that hate radio and this campaign has fueled a nasty undertone that feeds into racists fears and views.
    Just my humble opinion as an independent voter

  4. I can see where you are coming from jonolan, but I think the context has relevance and it just doesn’t seem McCain followed his usual senatorial deference when referring or talking about other senators. It came across as contemptuous, not as person frustrated with a pal or family member who wouldn’t go along with what they wanted to do.

    If politicians want to connect to the mainstream, then using colloquial phrases that comes across as rude to some and okay to others isn’t going to work.

  5. It was dismissive and rude, but I doubt it was racist.

  6. Jafabrit,

    I would say that both campaigns have “fueled a nasty undertone that feeds into racists fears and views.” Obama’s “make you fear me” and “Oh, did I mention he was Black?” comments / applause lines were apparently seen by many of his followers as a “dog whistle” call for denouncing just about anything said against him as being racist – or the new meaningless term, “racially tinged.” People like franknitty41 are part of this problem. McCain was – as Cafe Des Artistes states – “dismissive and rude,” a point I can agree with. But franknitty41 immediately decides and pronounces that it was racist. It never occurs to some of the Obama followers that someone can be “dismissive and rude” to an individual based on their dislike for that individual; it must be a collective disregard based upon race if the object of their scorn is a minority.

    Why is this? I believe it is partially because racism is such a better charge to level against someone than rudeness is, and partially because they’re supporting Obama partially because he identifies as Black.

  7. Kevin Croitz on said:

    He isnt going to be so dismissive and rude come election time, I’d love to be a fly on the wall, when he realizes he’s going to lose. This country needs to wake up and realize we are all Americans, and we all have value. Why does it seem that some of the most religious of people don’t value or love all of the people, when they should? Kevin

  8. Deb D. on said:

    I don’t think it was racist. I do think it was disrespectful, as others have basically said. When I look at the whole picture of how dismissive and disrespectful McCain has been toward Obama (not looking at him in the first debate, refusing to shake his hand in this one), I can see how others might jump to the racist conclusion.

    There was also that moment – and again, I don’t think it was intentionally racist, but it was certainly poor judgment – when McCain turned to the African-American man and said, “But you know, one of the real catalysts, really the match that lit this fire was Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I’ll bet you, you may never even have heard of them before this crisis.” I don’t see the point in saying that second sentence at all, and he certainly shouldn’t have said it to a young black man.

  9. No Question! when things getting bitter, truth come out…remember, truth never die!

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