Is McCain getting smeared in SC AGAIN?

One of the most shameful moments in recent South Carolina history was the anonymous smear campaign against John McCain conducted via phone "push polls" in 2000. It was particularly malicious, low and vile, spreading racist lies about an innocent child. Read this account to remind you:

    In South Carolina, Bush Republicans were facing an opponent who was
popular for his straight talk and Vietnam war record. They knew that if
McCain won in South Carolina, he would likely win the nomination. With
few substantive differences between Bush and McCain, the campaign was
bound to turn personal. The situation was ripe for a smear.

didn’t take much research to turn up a seemingly innocuous fact about
the McCains: John and his wife, Cindy, have an adopted daughter named
Bridget. Cindy found Bridget at Mother Theresa’s orphanage in
Bangladesh, brought her to the United States for medical treatment, and
the family ultimately adopted her. Bridget has dark skin.

opponents used "push polling" to suggest that McCain’s Bangladeshi born
daughter was his own, illegitimate black child. In push polling, a
voter gets a call, ostensibly from a polling company, asking which
candidate the voter supports. In this case, if the "pollster"
determined that the person was a McCain supporter, he made statements
designed to create doubt about the senator.
    Thus, the "pollsters" asked McCain supporters if they would be more or
less likely to vote for McCain if they knew he had fathered an
illegitimate child who was black. In the conservative, race-conscious
South, that’s not a minor charge. We had no idea who made the phone
calls, who paid for them, or how many calls were made. Effective and
anonymous: the perfect smear campaign.

That account was written in 2004 as a warning not to let it happen again. This morning, right after I got up to do a phone interview with C-SPAN about our endorsement of Sen. McCain, I saw this overnight e-mail from the McCain campaign:

volunteers making telephone calls for the McCain campaign report that
some voters recently received negative information about Senator
McCain. While we do not yet have conclusive proof, we are concerned
that this may be the beginning of a smear campaign.

you receive any malicious messages, letters, phone calls, e-mails,
fliers or any other form of "negative" information about John McCain,
please contact our McCain Truth Hotline directly at 803.477.6987 or email us at
as quickly as possible. (Note: If the attack is made over the
telephone, either by a caller or by a recorded message, please save the
recording and take note of the CALLER ID phone number for use as evidence of these unethical and possibly illegal campaign tactics.)

you for helping protect Senator McCain from false attacks during these
last days leading up to our January 19 Republican Primary.

I certainly hope that this is a case of the McCain folks overreacting out of their perfectly understandable sensitivity — which is base in bitter experience. What happened in 2000 wasn’t just a painful experience for one man and his family — it’s widely believed to have given the S.C. primary to Bush (which, if it did, is in itself a dark stain on the honor of S.C. voters). If that analysis is correct, those vicious whispers had a profound effect on U.S. history.

If it’s starting to happen again, decent people all over our state should rise up to confront the lies, and repudiate the liars in the strongest terms. But is it starting to happen again? Have you received calls that fit this description.

24 thoughts on “Is McCain getting smeared in SC AGAIN?

  1. bud

    If McCain is being smeared he has to share some of the responsibility for it. He failed to properly address the smear in 2000 then, in a hopelessly partisan way, embraced the man who did the smearing.

  2. Bill Hinkle

    John McCain deserves a smeer or two.
    His big tough talk with our young peoples
    lives and the rest of us footing the bill
    makes him crazy in my mind.
    He wants to invade the world with America’s
    credit card that is overdrawn. Let him pay
    for the wars with his paycheck and leave
    me out of his idiotic ideas.
    America needs to wake up before this guy
    bankrupts us for good.

  3. Shaun Dakin

    These calls are an epidemic and are invading the privacy of All American Voters.
    Our members are taking a stand and saying enough is enough at the National Political Do Not Contact Registry at
    Here is a quote from a member this morning:
    “I find it very frustrating… I tend to get calls at the WORST time. I have a one year old daughter, and it NEVER fails that the phone will ring when I put her down for a nap or for bed. Also my vote is PRIVATE… so who do you think you are calling with a survey to find out who I am voting for!!! Stop calling me.”
    Shaun Dakin
    CEO and Founder

  4. Thomas Paine

    “I find it very frustrating… I tend to get calls at the WORST time. I have a one year old daughter, and it NEVER fails that the phone will ring when I put her down for a nap or for bed. Also my vote is PRIVATE… so who do you think you are calling with a survey to find out who I am voting for!!! Stop calling me.”
    Shaun Dakin
    CEO and Founder
    Dear Shaun!
    I am the founder and CEO of the political robo smear communcation of American. I find that you are a wimp and a crybaby with your group about political Robo phone calls. Are you members so lazy they can’t read the caller ID to not answer the phone. Are your members so dang cheap that they can’t get a cell phone to take care of this simple abuse problem your group has?
    I am making note in my computer file to make sure not only that we will pour on more phone smear calls to your members, but will make sure that your mail box is stuff full of candiate smear tracts, and don’t worry about how we are going to stuff your inbox with e-mail smears in the future…
    Yours for better free speech in America
    Dudley D. Bush
    CEO and Chairman
    Smear Inc

  5. Shaun Dakin

    Thomas Paine:
    Thanks for your perspective.
    A caller ID does not stop the phone from ringing and therefore waking up a child.
    Cell phone numbers can be called by politicians. If you register to vote with your cell phone number, politicians can an will call you at will.
    Shaun Dakin

  6. Watcher

    Sounds like the boy that cried wolf…in one unsubstantiated claim McCain claims the high ground and banishes his opponents to the low ground.
    Sounds a bit like…a dirty trick…

  7. Doug Ross

    Let’s see if Senator McCain is as tough as he claims to be. Defend your family, Senator. Don’t just prove how much you can take.
    Name names. And don’t use your PR hacks to do the job for you. Let’s see if you truly are a different type of politician than your multi-decade political career would suggest.

  8. Estabrooks

    Restoring the Middle Class, prosperity and quality jobs in the United States
    You must have a viable strategy that will be inherently financially supported and carried forward by the “invisible hand of economic globalization”.
    The US is declining as the global economic leader, only because the Fed Gov does not have a viable strategy. The US became the Economic Leader of the World only by the supported hard work of technically creative individuals, engineers and scientists, inventors, who led the world in INNOVATION (Greenspan has listed INNOVATION as the missing ingredient in the current US strategy, that previously was in place, and the Intellectual Property and Patents, built this country to be the world leader).
    As a graduate engineer and small entity inventor, I have started ventures and provided quality jobs, however, the large entities, like the old “robber barons” have managed to rob me of my money and Intellectual Property. I need to retrieve my Intellectual Property to benefit US quality jobs.
    The current laws, gov, large entities, venture capitalists, and powers of influence, consider what actually built this US, now equals high risk, and strongly discourage and make unpopular, any financial support for qualified individual technologists, inventors, scientists, and engineers. Studies at MIT have proven that these qualified individuals working independently have, always created the most significant inventions and new manufacturing with quality jobs.
    Restoring the Middle Class, prosperity and quality jobs in the US will only happen when you create Support Programs and restore tax shelters for financial support for individual qualified engineers, technologists, inventors, and start-ups. In this way, the current 80% employment that is provided by small entities would generate a wealthy middle class, instead of a group of “hamburger flippers”. This will also solve the problem of math and science leadership of young people, and encourage neglected 40% of high IQ students to pursue math and science.
    David A. Estabrooks, ScM

  9. John

    I have gotten what feel like 2 classic push polls in the last week. One attacking McCain, one attacking Mitt’s faith.
    Nothing new here in SC politics, the home of Lee Atwater

  10. Mark

    It seems you have become a PUPPET for John McCain. Your bias is so apparent it is laughable. Now, let me guess, every blog post from now on will be about McCain, right? From your posts alone, all of us KNOW who you will be voting for. What a biased operation.

  11. Lee Muller

    The biggest problem for John McCain is the truth. McCain cannot escape his record.
    * Supports amnesty for 30,000,000 illegal aliens.
    * Supports welfare, free education, and drivers licenses for illegals, who are not even legal residents of any state.
    * Supports tax amnesty for illegal alien tax evaders.
    * Supports unlimited outsourcing and H1-B visas for low-wage tech workers from India and China, in order to suppress technology wage costs for domestic firms.
    * Supports gun registration, waiting periods, restoration of the so-called “assault weapons ban”.
    * Voted with Democrats for 50% income tax increase on lower-income workers, to take effect in 2009.
    * Opposes reform of Social Security by privatizing it and converting it from a welfare program into individual savings accounts.
    * Opposes restoration of simple, lower Reagan tax brackets

  12. Mark C. Eades

    As John McCain’s profile rises among his Republican rivals, his close and deep relationships with lobbyists are certain to haunt him despite his carefully-crafted image as an “independent” and a “maverick.” In an election year charged with anger at Washington insiders, McCain is the ultimate insider, with more lobbyists working on his staff, advising him, or raising funds for his campaign than any of his rivals in either party. As detailed in the Washington Post (see below), McCain campaign manager Rick Davis is a former lobbyist who has represented major telecom interests, with which McCain’s dealings as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee have drawn particular concern (These include actions by McCain in 2003-2004 favoring Cablevision Systems Corporation while soliciting $200,000 in contributions from Cablevision for his “Reform Institute.”). McCain’s senior adviser is Charles R. Black Jr. of BKSH & Associates, which has also represented telecom interests as well as drug companies and defense contractors, among others. As early as last March, The Hill (see below) reported that McCain’s aggressive courting of K Street had won him first place in lobbyist support among prospective 2008 candidates, a distinction still held by McCain at the end of December according to the Washington Post. While most candidates deal with lobbyists to some degree, McCain outdeals them all.
    Washington Post (12/31/07):
    The Hill (3/7/07):

  13. Mike's America

    Brad: I’m sure I do not need to remind a professional journalist about the problem of using “IF” to describe what could, or could NOT be a problem.
    IF you know it’s happening…tell us.
    IF you don’t know whether it’s happening, it is irresponsible to suggest it might be.
    I got the warning email from McCain HQ too. But I have yet to receive anything that could be described as a smear against any of the candidates, let alone McCain.
    Let’s try not to use the word “IF” unless we are sure.
    Don’t want to be known as the editor who cried “WOLF” do you?

  14. bud

    The Hormuz straight incident is something we should carefully consider during this election year. It is very disturbing to me that a few Iranian speed boats riding around in broad daylight are perceived by the merchants of fear as some kind of threat to America. If the damn things were really threatening to the American ships then why didn’t they just blast them out of the water? It would seem to be a very simple thing to do, just aim a few machine guns at them and fire away. So why all the fuss?
    This differs considerably from the stealthy sneak attack on the Cole. An American warship in broad daylight should be able to defend itself very easily. If the Iranians really intended to do us harm wouldn’t they have done this under the cover of darkness? Now I ask you folks out there who are in fear of the Iranian masses coming to get us isn’t this just about the worst possible thing they could do right now? Why provoke the might of the American military when it’s in a perfect environment to defend itself? Think about it folks, that makes no sense.
    This is exactly the type of incident that should disqualify trigger-happy candidates like John McCain from consideration for president. We need someone with a bit more restraint. Otherwise we may end up with a few more thousand dead Americans for no reason.

  15. Gary

    Why do all these McCain attacks sound more like recycling of bile from a political machine than genuine, individual thought?
    Doesn’t it make you wonder why the Republican machinery is being so nasty? Maybe somebody feels threatened ( and it worked so well the last time!)

  16. bud

    Here is a thought for deciding who to vote for in the coming election:
    Let’s focus on real problems, not imagined ones. In particular we are not really threatened by either Mexican immigrants, whether legal or illegal, nor Islamic terrorists.
    First the Mexicans. Mexicans come into the U.S. primarily to work. Their labor helps keep prices of everything down while their wages are generally spent in the communities. This is commerce working the way it’s supposed to. Why all the hysteria over this it’s beyond me.
    Second, let’s quite focusing so much attention on the very minimal threat from Islamic terrorists. Yes, they did kill thousands of Americans on 9-11 in an attack that was probably preventable if a competent president had been in charge. But at the end of the day Islamic terrorists have claimed a miniscule number of American lives over the past 30 years. Our brute force approach to solving this problem has not only made it worse but it’s cost thousands of American lives in the process. If we simply bring our troops home from the Middle-East and focus our attention on diplomacy and trade this problem, small to begin with, will be greatly diminished.
    The real problems are the one that are largely ignored, especially by the GOP. The ongoing health care crisis in this country is responsible for perhaps 5 years in shortened life expectancy compared to other nations. Yet we continue to dither about as if the biggest problem is making sure the insurance companies continue to make money.
    Another huge problem is the impending decline in oil availability. Within a few years we will have to replace oil with something or our way of life will collapse and with it a likely decline in the health and prosperity of the average American.
    Other problems include crime, drunk drivers and economic inequities. Rather than focusing our attention and wealth on phantom problems I strongly suggest we look at real problems that affect the health and welfare of Americans. If you honestly look at the real problems of the country you reach the obvious conclusion that you must vote for whomever wins the Democratic nomination. The GOP, with it’s fear tactics, has simply lost it’s way.

  17. Lee Muller

    800,000 of the illegal Mexicans came across to commit crimes, according to the Dept of Justice. Many of them are repeat offenders. Just last week in Richland County, we had 6 illegal Mexicans involved in murders. Some are still not captured.
    Many illegal Mexicans came to get free delivery of their “anchor babies”, which entitles them to welfare, Food Stamps, and a stay in the USA with the Instant American Citizen they created.
    Since the GAO estimates the cost of social services to illegals from Mexico to exceed $40 BILLION last year, a lot of them must have come here to mooch, not work.
    I find it insulting to see the employers of illegal workers say they have no choice, especially when many rural counties in SC have unemployment rates of 15 to 25%. What the construction, landscaping and tourism spokesmen are saying is that the unemployed blacks in the Pee Dee are either unfit to work or don’t want to work. Then they need to be specific about this, so we can set about making our citizens employable, rather than writing them off and replacing them with cheaper illegal workers.

  18. Tom's Answering Service

    Thomas Paine:
    Thanks for your perspective.*Shaun Dakin
    You are welcome, however some perspectives can be consider dangerous if one is viewing his rear end.
    A caller ID does not stop the phone from ringing and therefore waking up a child.*Shaun Dakin
    It appears that you have not taken a Dr Phil course on child raising.
    1. You can turn down the ringer on the answering machine
    2. You can stuff ear plugs in your child ears
    3. You can turn your child over on it’s belly and give it a Huckabee huggy Bear along with some warm milk.
    4. You can hire a full time Nanny at Government expense from the ” Leave No Child Behind program” to answer the phone.
    5. Or you can put your child in the NFL football draft pool and hope for the best in the 14 th round that the Atlanta Falcons will pick it, which should remove your Child to Atlanta
    6. And finally, Don’t pay your phone bill and simply forget that communcation is not important in politics anymore since most of it is BS like your group.
    7. Divore your wife and let her deal with phone problem with the child
    Cell phone numbers can be called by politicians. If you register to vote with your cell phone number, politicians can an will call you at will.*Shaun Dakin
    Centainly politicans will call you if your name is on a donation list! What do you expect? The fool is going to refund your last donation because you belong to some government terrorist watch list that your neighbor put you on since your child crys all the time if the phone rings.
    Shaun Dakin
    Thanks for the inquirey but do not answer me anymore on the net, since I have put you on the no-reponse e-mail list.
    Yours for better pop culture majority issues that bug the Fox network.
    Tom and his good buddy Ben Franklin

  19. C Shirley

    says our manufacturing jobs are “gone for good”. No way
    Jose. Huckabee says we need a strong manufacturing base for our
    national security and for our economy. Remember WWII?
    Mike Huckabee will protect our jobs and create more.
    Huckabee will make America Energy Independent. He’ll
    fix our roads and get us back on track.
    Please, go out and vote for Mike Huckabee on Saturday.

  20. C Shirley

    You have no right to smear people to help your candidate McCain. You’re doing as bad as what you accuse others of.
    You have no problem when the media goes after Huckabee for his faith. And you have no problem when old prune-face Thompson lies about Huckabee’s record.
    Huckabee is the smartest and most honest candidate in the field on either side.

  21. Joe

    McCain has stated that he believes there is no hope for all auto workers over 40. His plan for Michigan is for all autoworkers to go back to school. You work a 10 hour shift and then 4 hours at school. Yea that’s a life! What about just building more competitive cars? The same with South Carolina’s textile industry. If McCain does not know what to do he simply looks old and says – Find another job like a Call Center!!!!!
    McCain’s new slogan ‘The Candidate that has written you off!”
    Huckabee ecomonic FairTax plan encourages Americans to not buy anything new and that is exactly what they will do to avoid a 30% Fairtax on everything we buy new. My wife will figure it out fast. Buy tomatoes at a retail store and pay a 30% Fairtax plus 6% sales tax on the retail price or avoid the retail store mark up and buy from the local farmers markets at wholesale. Also, no one will buy a new car when you are faced with not only a state sales tax, if your state has one, but a 30% FairTax which for the average family car would be about $8000-$10000 add on tax for a new van. Also, think of the textile industry or any industry that makes retail products besides grocery store foods. All of you had better get new jobs now!
    Huckabee even recommends that all US Citizens can save taxes under his plan by buying used cars. Read his Economic webpage on his ‘un’ FairTax proposal which really is the old National Sales Tax that has been rejected for 20 or so years.
    Huckabee’s Economy website:
    “The FairTax will replace the Internal Revenue Code with a consumption
    tax…….. We’ll be taxed on what we decide to buy, not what we happen
    to earn…. The tax will apply only to new goods, so we can reduce our
    taxes further by buying a used car or computer.”
    So Huckabee is running in Michigan on an economic platform of not buying Detroit built new cars. If elected no middle class or lower citizen nationwide will ever buy a new car again. If I buy a 1 year old car I save about $10000 on the price PLUS $8000-$10000 on Huckabee’s FairTax. Hum! This is hard to figure out? What do I do? I know – First I will immediately buy Ebay stock and make a killing on its rise to $1000 per share and I will also short sell Ford and GM stock and also make a killing as they fall to $1 per share. And I will always buy at least a 1 year old or older car. All Americans will do the same which means a deep recession for Detroit and pink slips for auto workers and for all auto dealer salemen nationwide. Sounds like he’s the candidate for Michigan to get behind? And every South Carolina Auto Dealership and their salesmen I guess should take McCain’s ecomonic plan and go back to trade tech or also become a Call Center employee and ring that Bell!
    Huckabee likes to attack others with slogans so here is his slogan for Michigan taxpayers that vote for him:
    A vote for Huckabee is a vote for ‘the President that will lay you off.’
    The 2008 election is not about War or Religion. ‘Its the Ecomony Stupid’. Have McCain or Huckabee had any significant experience in a national for-profit business? We know they both have significant experience in spending others money.
    Its your choice Michigan and South Carolina – Pink Slips with McCain and Huckabee or ecomonic growth with a proven business generator – Romney.
    Joe – a republican for prosperity that benfits the people and not the politicians summer homes.

  22. Darth Vader

    Huckabee is the smartest and most honest candidate in the field on either side.* C Shirley
    Thanks! Things have been slow in the Empire business and I am thrilled that you have bought back the dark side to both sides since it is control by me and Brother Mike
    May the force of Mike be with you!
    ps.. Where did you get the idea that Brother Mike is smart since he is from Arkansas?

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