Imagine if an official John McCain staffer had said this to a Muslim member of Congress. From today’s NY Times:
As Senator Barack Obama courted voters in Iowa last December, Representative Keith Ellison, the country’s first Muslim congressman, stepped forward eagerly to help.
Mr. Ellison believed that Mr. Obama’s message of unity resonated deeply with American Muslims. He volunteered to speak on Mr. Obama’s behalf at a mosque in Cedar Rapids, one of the nation’s oldest Muslim enclaves. But before the rally could take place, aides to Mr. Obama asked Mr. Ellison to cancel the trip because it might stir controversy. Another aide appeared at Mr. Ellison’s Washington office to explain.
“I will never forget the quote,” Mr. Ellison said, leaning forward in his chair as he recalled the aide’s words. “He said, ‘We have a very tightly wrapped message.’ ”
What’s not clear in the article is when Rep. Ellison spoke with the Times. I wonder if this is something the Times has been sitting on since the Iowas caucuses and only now decided readers had a need-to-know based on the treatment of the headscarf wearing women who were turned away at the Obama rally in Detroit last week? I guess knowing that Sen. Obama’s staff was uncomfortable with having vocal Muslim support (for a Republican, the phrase would be closer to “discriminates against Muslims,” no?) wasn’t important enough to mention before now. Good thing we have the editors of the NY Times to tell us what’s important, or else we’d have to figure out all this stuff for ourselves.