The Secret Service is following up on media reports today that someone in the crowd at a McCain/Palin event suggested killing Barack Obama, according to Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley. The shout of "kill him" followed a Sarah Palin rant on Obama's relationship with radical Chicagoan Bill Ayers.
I wrote about this, this morning on Huffington Post, after I had read far too many reports about the violent, racist shouts coming from McCain rallies, egged on by the rhetoric of "Barracuda."
Certainly, I can't say John McCain and Sarah Palin are responsible for the specific words that come out of some nutcase supporters. However, I can and will blame them for setting the tenor here, and signaling what is and is not acceptable.
Let's be clear - McCain and Palin are using some language that tells supporters that Barack Obama hates America, supports bombing America, thinks we are killers, that we should fear him because he views America like a terrorist would. What's a supporter supposed to think that Palin and McCain want to hear back? "Bully for him! Huzzah!"?
No, it's hate speech, as hateful as anything overt. And it, not surprisingly, elicits a hateful, even violent, response. Violence and hate directed at Barack Obama.
And if the McCain campaign wants to say this isn't a big deal, I suggest that they contact the Secret Service, because the Secret Service is now treating the crowd reaction at McCain rallies to be a violent threat against a candidate for President of the United States.
Are you proud of your campaign, Senator McCain?
Update: Thanks for the recs, all. But more importantly, make sure your news outlet of choice is made well aware of this and demand coverage of it.