Chalk it up to the trickle-down effect of the recent mudslinging or simply the desperation of watching John McCain's prospects dwindle, but the crowds at McCain-Palin events are getting kind of out of control recently. Yesterday someone shouted out "Terrorist!" when McCain asked rhetorically, "Who is Barack Obama?" At another rally, when Palin mentioned Obama's relationship with William Ayers, someone yelled out "Kill him!" — though it's unclear whether that was directed at Obama or Ayers. And today at another Palin event, someone in the audience shouted "Treason!" after Palin told the crowd that Obama said "that our troops in Afghanistan are just 'air-raiding villages and killing civilians.'" Basically, these rallies are turning into a sinister form of $20,000 Pyramid: "This is what we call it when a presidential candidate hates American troops." "Treason!" "Okay, and this is what you call a presidential candidate who hates America." "A terrorist!" "Okay, and this is something you do with a terrorist." "Umm … Kill him!" Bzzzz. Time's up.
It's not all fun and games, however, for the journalists covering the events, like the ones met with obscenities and racial epithets at the Palin rally in Clearwater yesterday, as reported in the Washington Post. Maybe it's a blessing, then, that the press covering Palin were forbidden to roam outside their designated area to talk with supporters, so as to prevent "negative things" from being written. With audiences like these, can you really blame them? The mind reels at what priceless nuggets of wisdom reporters could gather if the people in these crowds were given the chance to express themselves with a full sentence.
Update: Radar reports that the Secret Service has contacted Post reporter Dana Milbank to investigate the threat he heard from the crowd.
Unleashed, Palin Makes a Pit Bull Look Tame [WP]
Press kept under a watchful eye [St. Petersburg Times]