The latest gaffe by the Obama campaign is an ad/video.

An AP article quotes the ad:

“1982, John McCain goes to Washington,” an announcer says over chirpy elevator music. “Things have changed in the last 26 years, but McCain hasn’t.

He admits he still doesn’t know how to use a computer, can’t send an e-mail, still doesn’t understand the economy, and favors two hundred billion in new tax cuts for corporations, but almost nothing for the middle class”…

The Obama campaign insists that ad ridicules McCain, not for his age per se but for his long experience, implying he has no new ideas, and ridicules McCain for being out of touch, and uses the internet meme as a way to illustrate this.

Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said the campaign was not making an issue of the 72-year-old McCain’s age, but the time he’s spent in Washington.

“Our economy wouldn’t survive without the Internet, and cyber-security continues to represent one our most serious national security threats,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s extraordinary that someone who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn’t know how to send an e-mail.”

McCain has said he relies on his wife and staff to work the computer for him and that he doesn’t use e-mail.

Fair enough. Here in Asia, the elderly are respected for their wisdom, but in the US, they are not. So when one wants to grab the youth vote, presumably ridiculing someone’s age is fine. It probably means he is less likely to get my husband Lolo’s vote, but Lolo is a life long Republican and probably wouldn’t vote for him anyway.

Bloggers however, instantly investigated the story, using a little tool known to many of us as a google search bar.

This secret tool, which apparently is unknown to the Mainstream Media and the Democratic National Committee, allowed bloggers to find out if there had been any news stories written about McCain’s internet ability. And the bad news for the Obama campaign is that they found out the real reason why McCain doesn’t do email.

At National Review’s the Corner, Jonah Goldberg, wrote:

The reason he doesn’t send email is that he can’t use a keyboard because of the relentless beatings he received from the Viet Cong in service to our country. From the Boston Globe (March 4, 2000):

McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain’s severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes….


It’s on Drudge, albeit low down on the side, since Drudge is mainly linking about Hurricane Ike.

The right wing blogosphere is having a “blogburst”, and Instapundit has links to other blogs covering the story, and links to an old Slate article about McCain’s 2000 campaign internet site and to a similar Forbes article from the year 2000 which explains why McCain made a remark that his wife does his emails:

In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate’s savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. “She’s a whiz on the keyboard, and I’m so laborious,” McCain admits.

Way to go, fellahs.

Obama needs to take lessons from Joe Biden on what to do when his foot is firmly stuck in his mouth. Joe just shrugs, laughs sheepishly and says sorry; he then usually rephrases what he really meant to say…and all is forgiven. Given the number of gaffes that Joe makes, it’s amazing that he is still in politics: but people figure he didn’t really mean it because of the way he apologizes.

Obama, however, is brilliant. And one of the problem of brilliant people who know everything is that they don’t know how to back down when they are wrong or things come out wrong.

If Obama, when confronted with the Republicans saying that “lipstick on a pig” was an insult, had merely said: Sorry, I was just using an old saying and didn’t realize at the time it would be misinterpreted as an insult”, he’d be in the clear.

So one wonders how the Obama Campaign will try to wiggle out of this obvious gaffe…


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural  Philippines. She writes about human rights in Africa at MakaipaBlog.

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