Obama under fire for ‘lipstick on a pig’ comment
September 10, 2008
The Republican campaign called Obama’s analogy a “disgusting” and sexist comment clearly aimed at vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
But the Obama campaign lobbed back accusations of dishonesty and a “phony lecture on gender sensitivity” seeing as presidential hopeful John McCain had used the same expression when describing Hillary Clinton’s healthcare proposal last year.
The row began when Obama told a rally: “The other side, suddenly, they’re saying ‘we’re for change too.’ Now think about it, these are the same folks that have been in charge for the last eight years.
“You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. You can wrap up an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It’s still going to stink after eight years. We’ve had enough,” he exclaimed to a standing ovation.
In accepting the party’s vice presidential nomination, Alaska Governor Palin joked at the Republican convention last week that the only difference between a hockey mom like herself and a pitbull was “lipstick.”
The McCain campaign said this was “just the latest in a series” of offensive comments the Obama campaign has lobbed at Palin.
Obama uttered what “I can only deem to be disgusting comments, comparing our vice presidential nominee, Governor Palin, to a pig,” former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift said in a conference call with reporters.
Swift, chair of the newly-formed Palin Truth Squad, demanded Obama apologize for the comment which she likened to childish name-calling.
But Obama campaign senior advisor Anita Dunn said: “Enough is enough. The McCain campaign’s attack tonight is a pathetic attempt to play the gender card about the use of a common analogy,
“This phony lecture on gender sensitivity is the height of cynicism and lays bare the increasingly dishonorable campaign John McCain has chosen to run.”
When asked why she was so certain that the comment was aimed at Palin – it is an expression so common it is the title of a book by a former Pentagon spokeswoman –Swift said it was an obvious reference to Palin’s much-quoted line that the only difference between hockey moms and pitbulls was the lipstick.
“It seemed to me a gendered comment. There’s only one woman in the race,” an incensed Swift told reporters.
“As far as I know, she’s the only one of the four – the presidential and vice presidential candidates – who wears lipstick.”
Swift said she hoped Obama would have learned “how to respectfully engage in a debate” during his contentious primary fight with Hillary Clinton and listed several offensive comments issued by members of the Obama campaign.
She noted that Democratic vice presidential pick Joe Biden had called Palin “good looking,” strategist David Axelrod had said Palin knew how to do what she’s told and that a member of Obama’s finance committee had questioned whether she was capable of being vice president given that she had five children, one of who has Down’s Syndrome.
A Chicago Tribune article dated October 12 2007 quoted McCain as saying “I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” McCain of Clinton’s healthcare proposal.