Late last week, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign took aim at Sen. John McCain, painting him as old and a luddite.
The ad mocks McCain for not knowing how to use a computer or send an e-mail.
Problem, the reason McCain doesn't use a computer is due to the fact that the most ubiquitous interface for said computer -- a keyboard -- causes him pain to use because of the torture he suffered at the hands of the North Vietnamese. From Forbes magazine:
In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate's savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. "She's a whiz on the keyboard, and I'm so laborious," McCain admits.
A simple Google search also turns up this piece from the Boston Globe:
McCain gets emotional at the mention of military families needing food stamps or veterans lacking health care. The outrage comes from inside: McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes. Friends marvel at McCain's encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He's an avid fan - Ted Williams is his hero - but he can't raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.
So, which is the more important basis for selecting the next president of the United States? A 72-year-old who can't use a keyboard? Or a 44-year-old who can't Google?
But the disappointment for those of you few who still hope and pray for an honest, unbiased press is this apparent retraction of the aforementioned Globe story.
The McCain campaign itself did not take issue with the Obama ad, and spokesmen for the Arizona senator did not return calls seeking comment.
McCain, who has referred to himself as a computer "illiterate," has never cited his war injuries as the reason why he doesn't use e-mail or never learned other computer skills.
For example, when asked by Politico.com earlier this year what type of computer he uses, McCain responded: "I am an illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all the assistance that I can get." In other interviews, he has said he never saw the need to use e-mail because of his staff support.
Earlier, in a March 2006 interview with Fortune magazine, McCain said his work style didn't require computer usage. But he did not cite his injuries.
"I read my e-mails, but I don't write any," McCain said. "I'm a Neanderthal - I don't even type. I do have rudimentary capabilities to call up some websites, like the New York Times online, that sort of stuff. No laptop. No PalmPilot. I prefer my schedule on notecards, which I keep in my jacket pocket."
Of course, the media and Democrats bash him for citing his injuries, and then his failure to cite his injuries is then an excuse to bash him.
One thing's for sure, the Globe can't be trusted. Either they were wrong in 2000 or they're wrong now. In 2000, McCain was running against George W. Bush and McCain was the "lesser evil." Now they've picked their man and want to attack McCain.
That may be good politics, but it's bad journalism.
By the way, Bill Clinton was a famous luddite, never using email. But that's ok, because he is a Democrat.
I read somewhere that Obama writes out his speeches long-hand. Given that, he probably isn't very computer literate either.
[...] Last week, I pointed out that the Boston Globe had seemingly retracted 8-year-old reporting on Sen. John McCain’s physical disabilities due to wounds suffered at the hands of the North Vietnamese in order not to contradict a new ad by Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign portraying McCain as a luddite. [...]