Media picks on conservative radio host who used same tactics as HillaryJohn McCain was in Cincinnati today for a rally and was introduced by local conservative talk phenomenon Bill Cunningham. This is how First Read rendered Cunningham's introduction:
Bill Cunningham, who I am told is a radio host here, repeatedly referred to Obama as Barack Hussein Obama -- at least three times. (Hussein is, as most know, Obama's middle name.)
Cunningham's tone was derisive on Obama's positions, and he also spoke very critically of mainstream media accusing the collective media of trying to get Democrats elected.
From The Cincinnati Enquirer:
He repeatedly referred to Obama using his middle name -- Hussein -- and said that Obama was a product of the "Chicago-Daley mob.'' McCain was not on stage when these remarks were made but was told of them later.
I just finished listening to the so-called offending remarks, and Cunningham talked more about Tony Rezko and Barack Obama's ties to the Daley Machine than he mentioned his middle name. As Cunningham himself said on the air this afternoon, the press has a different standard for him than it would were he a liberal or a Democrat, because much of what Cunningham said are also things that Hillary Clinton has said about Obama-yet we don't see the national press trying to run Hillary through the mud for saying essentially the same thing that Cunningham did. John McCain denounced Cunningham's remarks without even being present in the room to hear them (other local Cincinnati Republicans who were at the rally appeared on Cunningham's show this afternoon and said they saw nothing wrong with the remarks and called in to support the popular chat host).
Having once lived in Cincinnati for two years, and during that time became a daily devotee of Willie's show (and a regular at his Western Hills bar and restaurant), one thing I can say with certainty is that if you don't want controversy and right-wing speech, don't invite Cunningham to speak at your rally. I've never agreed completely with the man, but he is what he is-and in addition to being a popular conservative talk show host, he is also a very good lawyer and tends to word things in such a way as to avoid any legal trouble.
McCain later claimed that he did not know Cunningham and had never met him-the latter of which is false (the two have met on three separate occasions), and I believe the former likely is as well. Cunningham's ratings are the highest talk radio ratings in the Cincinnati area-he dwarfs Rush Limbaugh there-and he is a very close second to Limbaugh in Ohio and Kentucky Statewide. There is no way that at least a few of the people around McCain did not know who Bill Cunningham is. At least one caller to Cunningham's program this afternoon theorized that McCain or his people were very much aware of the kind of shtick Cunningham would use and were deliberately trying to throw him under the bus.
I'm not sure how true that is, but I do know that at a time when John McCain needs desperately to unite the conservative movement in his favor, he doesn't need to be using popular local conservatives (who have endorsed him) in major metropolitan areas with high numbers of Republicans and then running them down in the national press.
NOTE: Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory (D) an Obama supporter, has come out in support of Cunningham, saying "the national media do not know you, but we do, and we love you."