Throw the flag against: Carly Fiorina and the McCain campaign.
Call: Pass interference.
What happened: Fiorina, a top McCain adviser and senior officer on the Republican National Committee, called a news conference Wednesday to complain that the media's questioning of Sarah Palin's experience is "sexist." She charged that nobody has "been concerned enough to ask the question" about Barack Obama's lack of experience.
Why that's wrong: The news media have been questioning Obama's depth of experience since the first day of his campaign.
Covering Obama's very first trip to New Hampshire in 2006, for example, McClatchy noted that, "if Obama exudes a JFK-like charisma for some, he doesn't share Kennedy's 14 years of pre-presidential experience in Congress."
At one of the first Democratic debates way back in April 2007, McClatchy noted that Obama failed to list Israel as a top U.S. ally, a news story that Fiorina's own Republican National Committee used in news releases to point out Obama's lack of experience in foreign policy.
Last fall, the news media continued to raise questions about Obama' experience, including those raised by Democratic voters. "A lot of people think he's too inexperienced to be president," said one article last September. '"It's not his time," said Cindy Forbes of Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. "He's not experienced enough. He'll be president some day, but not now."'
A quick search of newspapers that contribute to the McClatchy-Tribune News Service found 89 references to Obama and the word inexperience. A Google media-wide news search found nearly 10,000 such references.
It also came up repeatedly in Democratic primary debates. In August 2007, for example, ABC's George Stephanopoulos reminded Joe Biden that he'd said he didn't think Obama was ready to be president. "I stand by the statement," Biden said.
And Hillary Clinton hammered Obama as inexperienced for months, culminating in her famous ad implying that he wasn't experienced enough to handle a crisis at 3 a.m.
Penalty: Set the McCain campaign's credibility back 10 yards.
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