Forget Sticks, Stones; Her Words Are Bullets

Palin's Obama rhetoric fans racist flames
By Jess Kilby,  Newser User
Posted Oct 12, 2008 9:12 AM CDT
Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks at a campaign rally in Johnstown, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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(Newser) – The McCain campaign has crossed the line from negative campaigning to “inciting vigilantism” with racist tactics that should raise alarms about Barack Obama’s safety, writes Frank Rich in the New York Times. Particularly troubling is Sarah Palin’s repeated linking of Obama to “terrorists” and her refusal to quell the frenzy—and cries of “kill him!”—her rhetoric incites at rallies.

Rich shares Joe Biden’s concern that a VP candidate “would not just stop midsentence and turn and condemn that.” Staying silent means pouring “gas on the fires,” Rich writes, noting that McCain has focused on his opponent’s ethnicity and spurious political connections with increasing desperation since Obama began pulling ahead. "Doing nothing," he warns, "is not an option."