McCain Shows Disdain at Debate: Calls Obama 'That One'


During a discussion about energy, McCain punctuates a contrast with Obama by referring to him as "that one," while once again not looking in his opponent's direction (merely jabbing a finger across his chest). That's not going to win McCain any Miss Congeniality points. Nor will it reassure any voters who believe McCain is improperly trying to capitalize on Obama's "otherness."



This goes beyond refusing to look at Obama in the first debate. With this slightly dehumanizing phrase, McCain may have just played into the emerging narrative of Obama-hate that has been sprouting at McCain-Palin rallies.



Darren Davis, a professor at Notre Dame who specializes in role of race in politics, sent a comment about McCain's "that one" line to the Huffington Post. "It speaks volumes about how McCain feels personally about Obama. Whomever said the town hall format helps McCain is dead wrong," Davis wrote.



A few minutes later, Obama spokesman Bill Burton placed his foot on the pedal ever so slightly. In an email blast to reporters, he asks: "Did John McCain just refer to Obama as 'that one'?" No other commentary followed, nor did any mention of race. But expect the post-debate analysis to get a little focused on whether McCain just made a regrettable faux pas.


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