John Andrews

I absolutely don't believe Obama was jabbing at Sarah Palin with his "lipstick on a pig" remark the other day, and I hope she and McCain laugh it off or shrug it off.  Repay him with grace for his gracious refusal last week to drag Bristol into the campaign.  Send him a gift box of lipsticks from Avon and move on.

I'll bet that around the Illinois Senate where Obama served, as around the Colorado Senate where I served, two of the cliches to describe a futile spin effort were that you can try to put lipstick on a pig or rouge on a corpse, but you'll fool no one.  Young Obie probably absorbed both in his vocabulary when Sarah was unknown beyond Wasilla.  Don't you know he wishes now that his preferred cosmetic for mocking his opponents' claim of change had been rouge.

If the remark wasn't a slur, though, it was still a gaffe, a big and easily avoidable one.  Which gives more evidence that Obama is badly off his game right now, rattled by the Palin phenomenon and the dramatic momentum shift since his Invesco Field acceptance speech here in Denver. (How long ago that already seems!) 

Any candidate thinking clearly on his feet, as you simply have to do at every moment in the big leagues, would have done a self-edit when "lipstick" and "pig" presented themselves in the same sentence and instantly substituted -- rather than added, as he did, too late -- the smelly fish reference or something else with no double entendre.  Barack did this to himself because he's obviously not thinking clearly at this season of unexpected adversity.

You can hardly blame the poor guy.  It's tough out there all of a sudden. Exhibit A would be the New York Times front-page story last Sunday: "Rival Tickets are Redrawing Battlegrounds.  Palin Helps GOP Put More States in Play."  It said in part:

"Fresh from the Republican convention, Senator John McCain's campaign sees evidence that his choice of Gov.Sarah Palin as his running mate is energizing conservatives in the battleground of Ohio while improving its chances in Pennsylvania and several Western states that Senator Barack Obama has been counting on, [including] Nevada, New Mexico [and] Colorado."

Exhibit B, corroborating this as far as my own state is concerned, would be the 13,000 who turned out for McPalin in Colorado Springs on Sept. 6.  With any other running mate, Mac would have drawn maybe thirteen hundred.

John Andrews

John Andrews is former president of the Colorado Senate and the author of "Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century"