Barack Obama, September, 2007:
I think that both General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are capable people who have been given an impossible assignment,” Sen. Barack Obama said yesterday in a telephone interview. “George Bush has given a mission to General Petraeus, and he has done his best to try to figure out how to put lipstick on a pig.”
John McCain, October, 2007:
While he said he had not studied Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s health-care plan, he said it was “eerily reminiscent” of the failed plan she offered as first lady in the early 1990s.
“I think they put some lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” he said of her proposal.
Barack Obama, yesterday:
The other side, suddenly, they’re saying ‘we’re for change too.’ Now think about it, these are the same folks that have been in charge for the last eight years,” the Illinois senator told a crowd of 2,400 people in Lebanon, Virginia.
“You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig.
In all of these instances, “pig” as a negative adjective was directed towards concepts or plans, not towards the individual. [Not that it’s pleasant to be accused of attempting to carry out the specified action.]
Sarah Palin’s comment about hockey moms, pitbulls and lipstick is what made Obama’s most recent lipstick on pig comment … er, stick a bit more than the prior two. Was it intended as a sexist insult? No. Was it a not-so-clever effort to play on Palin’s lipstick comment? Yes. Is the McCain/Palin campaign making hay of it in dramatic fashion? You bet.
(Of course, this lipstick-on-pig round-up would not be complete without everybody’s favorite, cited by the Ocean State Republican – the one uttered right here in Rhode Island during the 2004 state budget process by a charged up but constitutionally confused House Majority Leader.)
Would an Obama/Clinton campaign have been in equally high dudgeon if John McCain had made a similar comment about Dem VP candidate Hillary Clinton? Presumably. Are these tit-for-tat exchanges between the two campaigns productive? Probably not. Are they disproportionately damaging to one campaign? That’s above my pay grade.