Americans Mull Obama’s ‘Lipstick on a Pig’ Comment

By Susan Jones | September 10, 2008 | 6:37 AM EDT

Many people think Sen. Barack Obama was making a sly reference to Sen. John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin.

( - “Boar War!” the New York Post headline screamed on Wednesday, a reference to Sen. Barack Obama’s comment on Tuesday that “You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig.”
Obama was questioning Sen. John McCain’s commitment to “change,” but many people think he was making a sly reference to Sen. John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin.
In her speech at the Republican National Convention -- and later on the campaign trail -- Palin has joked about lipstick being the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom. 

Although Obama delivered his “lipstick on a pig remark” with a straight face, the crowd in rural Lebanon, Va., got the joke and erupted in laughter.
Regardless of how Obama intended the comment, it provided new fodder for media outlets on Wednesday, with some people accusing Obama of calling Palin a pig.
Here’s what Obama said. “You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It's still going to stink, after eight years. We've had enough of the same old thing."
According to press reports, Obama has used the phrase previously in regard to President Bush’s Iraq policy, and McCain himself has used the phrase on several occasions -- once, when talking about Sen. Hillary Clinton’s health care plan, The Washington Post noted.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift, a Republican, came to Palin’s defense on Tuesday.
According to The Boston Globe, Swift told reporters on a conference call that Obama's comment was "disgraceful" and that "he owes Governor Palin an apology."
Sarah Palin is “the only one of the four presidential or vice presidential candidates who wears lipstick," Swift noted. She accused the Obama campaign of taking the “low road.
According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, white women have shifted in large numbers to John McCain since he named Sarah Palin as his running mate.

‘The next Dick Cheney’
The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, is calling Sarah Palin “the next Cheney.”
On Tuesday, the DNC relauched its TheNextCheney Web site, part of an effort to link the Palin, a relative newcomer, to a vice president who’s been a Washington insider for years.
"Between offering more of the same lies and distortions on the campaign trail and sharing more of the same ethics problems, John McCain's running mate is proving to be the next Dick Cheney," said DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney.
The DNC has insisted all along that a McCain presidency would be equivalent to a third term for President George W. Bush.