Rick Davis plays POW card to defend hate speech
David Edwards and Andrew McLemore
Published: Sunday October 12, 2008

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"Kill him," "terrorist" and "off with his head" are a few of the outcries against Obama heard at McCain rallies last week.

And McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said it is Obama who needs to apologize.

After inflammatory speech at events for Republican presidential candidate John McCain made headlines this weekend, Democratic lawmaker John Lewis compared McCain to 1960s segregationist George Wallace.

Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday asked Davis if McCain and Palin bear any responsibility for their supporters calls of violence when attack ads and stump speeches call Obama a "liar" and a "terrorist."

This is how Davis responded: "Barack Obama should apologize to John McCain directly for the kinds of comments made by Joe Lewis yesterday and that should be the end of this sordid affair."

Lewis had criticized the "atmosphere of hate" he said McCain is creating in the election, referencing an infamous Alabama church bombing in 1963 that was blamed on Wallace's fiery rhetoric.

Davis called Lewis' comparison "outrageous" because McCain was undergoing oppression in a prison camp at the time of Wallace's hateful speeches.

"Where was John McCain when George Wallace was spreading his hate and segregationist policies at that time?" Davis said. "He was in a Vietnam prison camp serving his country with his civil rights also denied. Nobody knows sacrifice like John McCain does."

The Obama campaign thanked McCain this weekend after the Republican candidate rebuked a man who said he would be "scared... to bring a child up" if Obama was elected president.

McCain faced a booing audience for calling Obama a "decent person and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president."

But Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod said McCain should take responsibility for attack ads that "are continuing to drive" hate speech against the Democratic candidate.

Axelrod said politicians and editorial pages across the country "have condemned" the smear tactics of the McCain campaign.

"When you stand up and you say someone has been 'palling around with terrorists,' they don't see America the way we see it, you don't really know who he is and so on... that is not where we want to take politics in this country."

Axelrod added that the McCain campaign has resorted to character attacks because they realized the futility of trying to gain voter confidence about McCain's ability to handle the economic crisis.

"The economy does hang from their neck like the anchor on the Lucitania," Axelrod said.

This video is from Fox's Fox News Sunday, broadcast October 12, 2008.

Download video via RawReplay.com