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Nuttiest Rumor


Obama: Muslim Manchurian Candidate
An e-mail that came into wide circulation in January 2007 claimed that Obama is a Muslim (he’s a Christian) who was sworn into the Senate on the Koran (he wasn’t) and who won’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance (he will!). It goes on to suggest that Obama is a vessel for Muslims who want to bring America down from the inside of the White House. Two staffers on Clinton’s campaign resigned in December 2007 for forwarding the e-mails, but no one knows who wrote the message or suspects any candidate's campaign of being involved. Obama’s team moved swiftly to debunk the e-mail’s claims. Meanwhile, Obama himself has addressed the smears. “In the Internet age, there are going to be lies that are spread all over the place,” he said on January 15, 2007, in Nevada. “I have been victimized by these lies. Fortunately the American people are, I think, smarter than most folks give them credit for.” Maybe, maybe not: A CBS News poll in August 2007 found that most people didn’t know what Obama’s religion was and that 7 percent thought he was Muslim.

McCain: Communist Collaborator; Traditional Manchurian Candidate
Gerard Kiley, the head (and possibly sole member) of a group called Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain, has recently slandered McCain, accusing him of abandoning POWs in Vietnam, collaborating with his Communist captors, and possibly being brainwashed by those same captors. McCain’s status as a war hero, of course, is pretty much undisputed. But he has faced similar accusations, from another Vietnam vet, Ted Sampley, since the early nineties. (McCain's aide Mark Salter even got into a fight with Sampley in 1992.) Kiley and Sampley typically ramp up their activities when McCain runs for president. In January 2000, during McCain's first presidential campaign, Michael Isikoff reported in Newsweek that Sampley , “an ex-Green Beret who runs a Web site denouncing McCain as the Manchurian Candidate, says he's distributing his material to the senator's rivals.” This campaign season, the smears have appeared in fliers in South Carolina and were recently mailed, by Kiley with Sampley's help, to about 80 newspapers. How bad has it gotten? Even John Kerry’s tormentors, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, have come out against the crusade.


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