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Posted by on May 19, 2008 in Media, Politics | 9 comments

Tennessee Republican Senator Corker Agrees With Obama: Leave His Wife Alone

Democratic Presidential nomination wannabe Senator Barack Obama has just gotten an unlikely ally in his demand that the Tennessee GOP “leave my wife alone”: Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker has made it known he agrees with Obama.

Given the nature of campaign 2008, the reaction to Corker over fiery debate over the Republican web ad is likely to lead to another debate: Is Corker really sincere? Or is he just posturing?

Regardless, as Republican bloggers, conservative talk and cable show hosts say Michelle Obama is fair game Corker’s reaction stands out, as the New York Times’ blog The Caucus notes in a quote it got from the Nashville Post’s lively blog. Post Politics’ blogger A.J. Kleinheider is the one who asked for, got and posted the comment [We failed to specify that in our earlier post. We regret the error…]:

The office of Senator Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee, has weighed in today, siding with Senator Barack Obama’s objections to the state’s G.O.P. Web campaign against Michelle Obama.

To recap, the officialdom of the Tennessee G.O.P. posted a Web spot that mines remarks Mrs. Obama made in February that “first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” The ad repeats footage of her speaking those words, interspersed with comments from Tennesseans, talking about how they’ve always been proud to be an American.

The blog has an embed of the ad, a typical political ad designed to show over and over a foot-in-mouth or unwise comment a candidate or — these days — someone close to the candidate said, to try and politically hang that candidate for what he or she said or what…by association..the associate said (which means that the candidate must be dangerous).

This kind of ad gets tons of publicity since due to the controversy it’s aired for free on television, covered in blogs, run on You Tube, and the You Tubes are run on blogs — so the message gets out extensively. Virtually for free.

According to The Caucus, Mr. Corker’s chief of staff, Todd Womack, demanded that his boss’ state party remove the ad:

After the Republican National Committee damaged our campaign with their infamous ‘Call Me’ ad — which we immediately denounced — we have strongly encouraged the national party and state parties to absolutely refrain from getting involved in negative personal campaigning, and we have asked the state party to remove their You Tube ad from their Web site.

Republicans will be in much better shape if we spend our time focused on issues like reducing federal spending, lowering the cost of health care and creating a coherent energy policy.

The Tennessee Republican party has made little pretense of doing a no-holds-barred campaign that will grab onto hot button issues.

For instance, earlier this year the party sent out a photo of Obama dressed in African garb. That photo allowed some voters to assume he was dressed like how they felt a Muslim dressed or, if they knew better, further underscored his African (i.e. black) roots.

What does this mean?

Obama can expect A LOT more of this. Saying “lay off my wife” means his political foes (in the GOP, talk radio, cable radio and blogs) will most certainly use “the Michelle issue” extensively, and look for more (and get it if they find it). He has shown it gets to him so they’ll try to get to him more until he overreacts or is damaged by it.

21st century campaigns more and more focus on ways to accentuate personalities, demonize candidates, use guilt by association (if Obama or McCain’s dog bit a neighbor, watch out), or set up straw man arguments (“There are those who say…” when those may not be saying that at all..).

If there were only a few real issues to talk about, it might be different…