We’ve been having a fascinating dialog with readers in response to last night’s post about those exchanges John McCain had with those rabid supporters in Minnesota. I want to post some of your emails. But before that I want to go back to this question of just what that female McCain supporter said to him before he snatched the microphone away from her.
As I said there were conflicting reports about whether the woman, Gayle Quinnell, said Obama was an “Arab” or an “Arab terrorist.” I’ve now seen reports that suggest that she said the latter but either the mic was cut or she didn’t have the mic in range. In any case, the citizen journalism site theUptake.org has video of an interview with the woman just after the rally. It’s done with a cell phone camera. But uptake.org is a known quantity site. And CNN’s Dana Bash and NBC’s Adam Aigner appear in the video. So with those caveats, I think we can be confident of the provenance of the video.
You can see the video I’ve embedded below. The gist is that Quinnell apparently did say “Arab terrorist.” (ed.note: It would be more accurate to say that she insisted he was one in the interview. It’s unclear from interview whether she actually used the second word with McCain.) She got the idea from a pamphlet she got not from the McCain campaign but from a fellow volunteer at the local McCain headquarters, where she’s a volunteer. She’s been sending the pamphlet to people in her area. And she thinks that McCain really knows that Obama’s Arab but didn’t want to get into it with her on camera. (You can read a transcript at the Uptake.org site.)
Now, this video and Quinnell I think kind of speak for themselves. But what a number of readers have pointed out about the first video (where she’s speaking to McCain) is this telling moment after McCain says, “No, Ma’am” the first time. Quinnell says ‘no?’ But the tone is the key. She’s surprised. Apparently genuinely surprised. Almost like, wait, I got something wrong? The reply really captures everything that’s going on here.