Fox News graphic falsely claimed "Obama campaign disse[d] Palin for small town origins"

››› ››› ANDREW WALZER & DIANNA PARKER

Purporting to describe the response by Sen. Barack Obama's campaign to Sen. John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate, a Fox News graphic stated: "Obama Campaign Disses Palin for Small Town Origins." In fact, the Obama campaign challenged Palin's experience, not her "small town origins."

A Fox News on-screen graphic purporting to describe the response by Sen. Barack Obama's campaign to Sen. John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate falsely stated: "Obama Campaign Disses Palin for Small Town Origins." The graphic appeared on the August 29 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, just as Fox News chief political correspondent Carl Cameron stated that "the McCain campaign is suggesting" that the Obama campaign's response to the Palin pick "appear[ed] to sound dismissive of middle-American, small-town voters." In fact, responding to McCain's selection of Palin, the Obama campaign challenged Palin's experience, not her "small town origins." According to MSNBC blog First Read, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said: "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."

Earlier on Happening Now, Fox News contributor Karl Rove cited Palin's experience as mayor of an "admittedly ... small town" in asserting that the Obama campaign's statement was "petty, and small, and foolish":

JON SCOTT (co-anchor): Let's check in with Fox News contributor Karl Rove, the man who helped put President Bush in the White House two times. Karl, let me read you that statement again from the Obama campaign -- let me get my campaigns straight here. Let me read you part of that statement and ask you how you would try to counteract what they are saying. The Obama campaign says, "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency." How does the McCain campaign react to that, or respond to that, Karl?

ROVE: I think they ignore it. That is petty, and small, and foolish on the part of the Obama campaign. They're better than that. You know, look, that's like saying, "They picked a former actor to be president," or "picked a former peanut farmer who was a state senator from rural southwestern Georgia." I mean, she's the governor of Alaska. She has had executive experience. She's been a mayor, admittedly of a small town, but active in her state's affairs as chairman of an important commission. This is small. They ought to just let the stage be hers today, and not smart on the Obama campaign's part.

Yet Rove said something very different when discussing Obama's potential vice-presidential choices on the August 10 edition of CBS' Face the Nation. As purported evidence that Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine isn't "capable of being president of the United States," Rove asserted: "He [Kaine] was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. ... It's not a big town."

From the August 10 edition of CBS' Face the Nation:

BOB SCHIEFFER (host): You have said yourself in the past that Obama probably should pick a Red State governor, somebody just like Tim Kaine that we just heard just a minute ago from Virginia. Governor Kaine seems to thint that Democrats really can carry Virginia this time. Do you think --

ROVE: Yeah.

SCHIEFFER: -- that state's going to be in play?

ROVE: I think it's going to be in play, but let me clarify. I didn't say that I thought he ought to. I said that I thought he probably would pick a Red State Democrat, because I think he's going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice. He's going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president. That is to say, he's going to pick somebody that he thinks will, on the margin, help him in a state like Indiana, or Missouri, or Virginia. He's not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities as president. With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years. He's been able, but undistinguished.

I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it's smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; North Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It's not a big town. So, if you were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, "You know what? I'm really not first and foremost concerned with, 'Is this person capable of being president of the United States?' What I'm concerned about is 'Can he bring me the electoral votes of the state of Virginia?' "

From the August 29 edition of Fox News' Happening Now:

SCOTT: Let's check in with Fox News contributor Karl Rove, the man who helped put President Bush in the White House two times. Karl, let me read you that statement again from the Obama campaign -- let me get my campaigns straight here. Let me read you part of that statement and ask you how you would try to counteract what they are saying. The Obama campaign says, "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency." How does the McCain campaign react to that, or respond to that, Karl?

ROVE: I think they ignore it. That is petty, and small, and foolish on the part of the Obama campaign. They're better than that. You know, look, that's like saying, "They picked a former actor to be president," or "picked a former peanut farmer who was a state senator from rural southwestern Georgia." I mean, she's the governor of Alaska. She has had executive experience. She's been a mayor, admittedly of a small town, but active in her state's affairs as chairman of an important commission. This is small. They ought to just let the stage be hers today, and not smart on the Obama campaign's part.

[...]

SCOTT: Perhaps you can see, Karl, why the Obama campaign is kind of putting down the choice of Sarah Palin. You heard that statement that they've released? You must have it on your BlackBerry, I'm guessing.

CAMERON: Oh, yes. Oh, absolutely. And one of the things that the McCain -- the McCain campaign is suggesting is that, in their reaction -- so negative and dismissive of Sarah Palin -- that the Obama campaign may have made a tactical error, in part, downplaying and appearing to sound dismissive of middle-American, small-town voters.

Sarah Palin comes to the ticket with a very, very expressed intention by the McCainiacs of bolstering his appeal in the battleground swing states, particularly with women, obviously, and blue collar voters. Sarah Palin is known as a solid conservative, but she keeps her religion, she keeps some of the social politics fairly suppressed.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Karl Rove
Show/Publication
Happening Now
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
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