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Home / US / A moment of McCain's 2008 run outlined his character and predicted Trump's rise

A moment of McCain's 2008 run outlined his character and predicted Trump's rise

It was both the most memorable moment of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and a glimpse into the future of the Republican Party and America's angry and divisive modern politics.

Played and repeated since the Senator's death on Saturday at the age of 81, the moment seems to mark the rise of the "Birther movement", the era of "alternative facts" and the presidency of Donald Trump less than a decade later prophesy.

At a high school about 30 miles south of Minneapolis, a blonde woman in a red shirt addresses McCain, who will be in the White House for the last weeks of his second failed race.

"I have to ask you a question," she says. "I do not think I can not trust Obama, I read about him and he is not … he's an Arab."

"No, Ma'am," replies McCain, shaking his head and you take the microphone off. "He's a decent family man and citizen, about whom I have disagreements on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign is all about."

In these past few weeks, McCain would try to make his campaign a topic, angering a party base that accused him of not harshly challenging Barack Obama's background or questioning his patriotism. When the campaign ended, she was dominated by her anger, which was sometimes fueled by the pre-populist populist McCain had chosen as his vice-mate ̵

1; then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

The party's next candidate, 2012 Mitt Romney, would conflict with the same dynamics. But in 2016, the Republicans in Trump would find a candidate who spoke to the fears of the woman in red, or even encouraged.

The department that produced the moment was not McCain's way to becoming President. Shortly after he had sanctioned his party's nomination, the senator proposed a series of nine debates with his Democratic opponent across the country. He suggested to aides, perhaps naively, that he and Obama would fly together for the first.

Ever wackling foreign affairs, McCain wanted a "campaign on politics," said Richard Fontaine, a senator's senior advisor.] He knew until October 2008, when he appeared with Palin in Minnesota, that his campaign was becoming something quite different.

"That was a crucial moment," recalls David Axelrod, senior strategist for the Obama campaign. "When Senator McCain opted for Palin, there was a Faust business.

" She talked harshly with the Republican Party's burgeoning base and pulled out some of the rawer forces that had gone down. [19659013] Axelrod recalled sitting in a hotel room and watching McCain take the microphone from the woman at the rally.

"John McCain said I was not like that. It's not what I want to expect from the Republican Party or my country, "Axelrod said." He did not just grab the microphone. He took control of his campaign. It was a brave thing to do.

McCain's actions on that day shaped the way he and his presidential election campaign are remembered, but they did little to stem the forces of anger and ethnonationalism that had been triggered by the 2008 economy, the crisis, the rise of social media and, to some extent, his own campaign for the presidency.

"He has done the right thing and deserves recognition," said Dan Schnur, Communications Advisor at McCain's 2000 Presidential Campaign. "But it was pretty clear in this Wait, that it would not be enough. It was a principled, noble point of view, but not enough. "

Barely a month had passed since McCain announced Palin as his runner-up at a rally in Dayton, Ohio." She's not from this area, and she's not from Washington, but you know her the same way Being impressed like me, "McCain said at the time, McCain had thought he would get a like-minded reformer instead of having" a culture warrior "who knows a new kind of republican identity politics, said Schnur.

Just three days before McCain's moment in Minnesota released his campaign an ad that Obama is attacking because of his ties to William Ayers, a founder, of a radical anti-Vietnam war group that no longer existed when Obama was still in elementary school.

"Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. , , Friends, "the ad began," but Obama tries to hide it. Why?

The advertising, combined with the growing likelihood of Obama's victory, had unleashed the flow of Republican rage that Palin was helping to fuel, shaking hands at a rally in Florida by telling them Obama was liked to "fool around" with "urban terrorists", causing one in the crowd to call out "Kill Him!"

the day before the Minnesota Rally McCain and Palin appeared together in Waukesha, Wisconsin To be shocked by supporters who yelled "Terrorist!" and "Off with head!" at the mere mention of Obama's name in relation to Ayers.

McCain was visibly uncomfortable with the Ayers Line of Attack on television and at rallies was immortalized in his name.

"I do not care about old disused terrorists," he said at the rally, suggesting instead that the real question was whether Obama was over there He had lied about the extent of his relationship with Ayers.

His discomfort was even more apparent the next day in Minnesota.

"We want you to remain a true American hero, [but] we want you to fight," a trailer railed. [19659026] "I will fight, but we will be respectful, I admire Senator Obama," McCain said to a choir of Buhs from the crowd.

Another man who said his wife was pregnant told McCain they were "scared, afraid of an Obama presidency, we do not want to raise our child in a country …" [run by] who works with local terrorists like William Ayers. "

McCain called his opponent" a decent person and a person you do not have to fear as president of the United States. "

More boos

Comment by Gayle Quinnell, 75, of Shakopee, Minnesota, who wore the red shirt and called Obama an Arab.

Following the rally, a CNN reporter tried to explain to Quinnell that Obama's father was a Muslim, but the candidate had always been a Christian.

"Yes, but he still has Muslim in him," she said.

A few days later Quinnell was parodied in a Saturday Night Live sketch by a mad McCain Palin fanatic who wandered through the Weekend Update set announcing that Obama was "50 percent Egyptian." He will turn the White House into a pyramid. Quinnell later told her she found it amusing.

Quinnell's daughter told reporters that her mother did not have access to the Internet and had read that Obama was visiting the library during a school visit Caring for Children with Intellectual Disabilities.

When McCain responded to Quinnell, polls showed that about 12 percent of Americans thought Obama was a Muslim, and by the end of 2015, when Trump stood for presidency, the number was ORC poll rose to about 30 percent of the population, with 45 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Trump supporters saying Obama was Muslim.

In the following years, Palin would become a Fox News and reality TV personality, Trump would first become a leading advocate of the "Birther" conspiracy, which was based on mistrust of Obama, wrongly claiming that he was not born in the US After all, Trump would beat Muslims, Latinos, and immigrants as he made his way to the Oval Office.

Quinnell is now 85 years old and still in Minnesota. One Sunday morning, she picked up the phone in her house. Asked what made her attend the rally ten years ago, she said, "I like Palin."

She then announced that it was too early in the morning to talk. She was tired. She hung up.

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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