The Corner

Obama, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Washington Monument, Plus Britney and Paris

I know it’s been commented on elsewhere on the Web, but this exchange from MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” is quite striking. New York Times columnist Bob Herbert was on to explain why he thinks the McCain “Celebrity” ad is racist. “The first thing you see are a couple of images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, right? And we see an image of Barack Obama right after that,” Herbert explained. And then he continued: “Do you remember any other startling images right there at the beginning? All right. There is an image right there in that very beginning of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and there is an image of the Washington Monument. Look at the beginning of that ad again, and you tell me why those two phallic symbols are placed there — POW — right at the very beginning of that ad.”

The other people on the show didn’t get it. “You didn’t see them?” Herbert said.

“Really?” said Scarborough.

“Isn’t that the Victory Column where he made his speech?” asked Jonathan Capehart and Willie Geist, referring to the structure actually portrayed in the ad.

“And also the — well, it looked like the Leaning Tower,” Herbert answered. “But it’s definitely a phallic symbol.”

Obama’s defenders on the left get pretty defensive when they’re accused of venturing far afield in their quest to find derogatory messages in GOP ads. But we’re in new territory now.

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