Fair or not, Obama's doing it. And Newsweek reports an anonymous Secret Service official is none too happy Obama brought up rumors of an unfounded death threat made against him at a McCain-Palin rally during the last presidential debate.
NEWSWEEK: "All the public reports suggested," Obama said, that people shouted "things like 'terrorist' and 'kill him'." Making a death threat against a presidential candidate can be a crime. But even before Obama cited "reports" of the threats at the debate, the U.S. Secret Service had told media outlets, including NEWSWEEK, that it was unable to corroborate accounts of the "kill him" remarks—and according to a law-enforcement official, who asked for anonymity when discussing a political matter, the Obama campaign knew as much. Now some officials are disgruntled that Obama gave added credence to the threat by mentioning it in front of 60 million viewers. At this point in the campaign, said one, candidates will "say anything to make a particular point."Secret Service confirms they've heard people yell "Tell him" at McCain-Palin rallies, but not "kill him." Dana Milbank of the Washington Post says he believes he heard "kill him" and has said "tell him" wouldn't make sense in the context of the rally.
I wasn't at the rally, but I can think of several occasion, in the run-up to the debate when "tell him" would make complete sense. During that time there was a huge push by GOP supporters for McCain to "tell him," meaning Obama, about Ayers, ACORN and all the rest.
Making a death threat on a candidate is a serious crime. People shouldn't report such things unless they are CERTAIN they heard it and make a good faith effort to determine who the source of it is. Also, in this day and age, most reporters carry small recording devices that can capture anything reasonably within earshot. The fact no reporters can produce audio of this and the Secret Service can't either makes me think this whole rumor is really suspect.