Was McCain’’s usage of ”That One” for Obama a racial slur?

October 9th, 2008 - 1:46 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Oct.9 (ANI): Republican presidential candidate John McCain uttered two words that could turn out to be the only ones people remember from Tuesday night’’s presidential debate — That one.
Halfway through the town-hall-style debate, McCain, discussing a bill before the Senate in 2005, said: “There was an energy bill on the floor of the Senate loaded down with goodies, billions for the oil companies, and it was sponsored by Bush and Cheney,” turning the tables on the Obama camp’’s continuous attempts to link the Republican candidate to the unpopular president and vice president.
“You know who voted for it? You might never know. That one,” he said, pointing to Obama. “You know who voted against it? Me.”
According to Fox News, the GOP candidate’’s dismissive manner in saying that one generated much talk afterward about what McCain meant. For some, it was nothing more than McCain pointing at his opponent and saying that Obama was the one who voted with Bush. But for others, the expression represented something sinister: a suggestion that Obama is not like the rest.
That undertone wasn”t lost on critics who have watched the McCain campaign attack Obama’’s associates and relationships, rather than his policies in the last week.
One group, the Center for Social Inclusion — a nonpartisan organization funded in part by the Ford Foundation — claims the phrase was racially charged.
The racial undertones were subtle but unmistakable,” CSI Director Maya Wiley said in a statement released Wednesday.
“To my knowledge, I have never heard that used as a common phrase before,”said University of California-Berkeley linguistics professor George Lakoff.
“The phrase was meant to say, ”You and I are in the same area, but he’’s the outsider. It’’s the political equivalent of what (Sarah) Palin said the other day, which is, ”He’’s not one of us, he added.
University of Richmond Director of Debate Kevin Kuswa said that one probably grabbed the collective conscience because it was one of the very few “unfamiliar lines from the debate.”
Kuswa said that because of the town-hall format, the candidates were merely repeating their talking points.
Kuswa added that individuals have homed in on the phrase because they can seize no other “defining gaffe” or “moment of total awkwardness in the presidential debates thus far.”
The Republican National Committee also tried to have a little fun with the comment, calling that one the “most memorable line” of the debate and saying it plans to make use of the phrase in the coming days.
Obama campaign aides called the phrase “odd” and said it depicted the Arizona senator as “angry.” One aide characterized the phrase as McCain’’s “get off my lawn moment.”
“It reminds you that McCain is sort of angry and agitated. He looked uncomfortable,” said Obama Communications Director Robert Gibbs. (ANI)

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