CHARLES GIBSON (Off-camera) Next we're going to turn to presidential politics and a campaign strategy that was once suggested to Hillary Clinton by a top advisor in her primary campaign against Barack Obama. The idea was to question Obama's authenticity as an American. She rejected that strategy. But there are indications that John McCain may be adopting it now. So we turn to our senior political correspondent, Jake Tapper. Jake?Wow. So because a Democrat wanted to attack Obama as foreign, and because McCain says he wants to listen to Harleys, not foreigners, and has a picture of himself as a POW, and that means he's criticizing Obama for being a foreigner? I don't think much of McCain, but according to Gibson/Tapper, virtually anything he says is an underhand attack on Obama.
JAKE TAPPER (Off-camera) Good evening, Charlie. Well, Senator Barack Obama this week is on vacation with his family in Hawaii, the state where he was born and where the grandmother who largely raised him still lives. Some of Obama's opponents have debated how much they want to draw attention his unusual background, his unusual roots. A Kenyan father, a childhood largely spent in Hawaii and Indonesia.
(Voiceover) As Senator Barack Obama vacations with his family in Hawaii, a controversial memo has surfaced about his roots there. In a March 2007 memo, obtained by the "Atlantic" magazine, Mark Penn, the top strategist for Obama's then rival Senator Hillary Clinton wrote that the campaign should draw attention to Obama's heritage. Obama's "boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii exposes a very weakness for him - his roots to basic American value and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not as his center fundamentally American in his thinking and values. Let's explicitly own American in our program, the speeches and the values. He doesn't." Many Democrats are disgusted.
BOB SHRUM (FORMER DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST): It's an appeal to stereotypes. It's an appeal to prejudice. I think it's ugly. And I think if Hillary Clinton had done that, she would permanently besmirch her reputation, her legacy and her place in American politics.
JAKE TAPPER: (Voiceover) Some Democrats say that John McCain has tried to subtly portray Obama as not quite American enough.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: Thank you.
JAKE TAPPER (Voiceover) Playing up Obama's popularity abroad.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Not long ago, a couple of hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent. I'll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day.
JAKE TAPPER (Voiceover) And then there was this.
ANNOUNCER (POLITICAL AD) John McCain, the American president Americans have been waiting for.
JAKE TAPPER (Voiceover) A line many saw as implying something not American about Obama.
Tuesday, August 12
Anything McCain says is an underhand attack on Obama
From last night's ABC news: