Congressman says McCain sowing 'seeds of hatred'
There has been increasing alarm over the past week over the hateful rhetoric being used by attendees at McCain/Palin rallies. Attendees have been heard to scream out "terrorist!" and "kill him!" at Sarah Palin's rallies, and analysts are saying the language the two are using, particularly Sarah Palin, is encouraging this mob-like behavior.
Democratic congressman John Lewis, a veteran civil rights leader, accused Republican John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin on Saturday of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division" and said it reminded him of the segregationist era of Alabama Gov. George Wallace.
McCain, trailing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in the polls in an increasingly tense campaign, quickly hit back, branding Lewis's remarks "shocking and beyond the pale" and calling on Obama to immediately repudiate them.
The Obama campaign said while Lewis was right to condemn "hateful rhetoric" the Illinois senator did not believe McCain or his policy criticism were comparable to Wallace or his segregationist policies as governor of Alabama in the 1960s.
The issue of race has mostly been an undercurrent in the presidential contest between McCain and Obama, who would be America's first black president, and it remains unknown how much of a factor it will play in the Nov. 4 vote.