From lipsticks to mudslicks in US election
From The Times: Tom Baldwin and Tim Reid in Washington
Barack Obama spent much of the day defending himself against charges of sexism after a speech decrying Republican efforts to present themselves as agents of change. “You know, you can put lipstick on a pig,” he said on Tuesday to loud cheers and laughter, “but it’s still a pig.”
Aides have spent 24 hours pointing out that “lipstick on a pig” is a phrase commonly deployed in politics, and have cited no less than five examples of Mr McCain himself using it. They said that the outcry was a “pathetic effort to play the gender card”. Some Democrats concede privately that Mr Obama’s choice of words was crass at a time when Mrs Palin’s lipstick joke was being replayed endlessly on news channels.
Her arrival at Fairbanks Airport was given the sort of treatment usually reserved for the Pope - and rarely, if ever, for a vice-presidential pick. Cable TV networks breathlessly reported scenes from the empty tarmac as they waited for her plane to touch down.
But Joe Biden, Mr Obama’s running-mate, was accused of having “sunk to a new low” after referring to Mrs Palin’s fifth child, born in April with Down’s syndrome, when he asked at a rally: “If you care about [children with special needs], why don’t you support stem cell research?”
"She’s easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America, and quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me," he said. "I mean that sincerely, she’s first rate, so let’s get that straight."
The Clinton camp has urged Mr Obama to concentrate its fire on Mr McCain and avoid alienating women by launching attacks on Mrs Palin. Today, the Democratic nominee will end months of tension with the former president by sitting down with him for lunch – and possibly some advice.