In MSM circles, "swiftboating" is shorthand for false attacks on Democrats, even though John O'Neill and other members of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth stand adamantly behind their allegations about John Kerry's war record.
In an interview of Barack Obama conducted yesterday and aired on this morning's Today, Matt Lauer employed the "swiftboating" code to ask whether the candidate is prepared for the Republican onslaught. For good measure the NBC anchor wondered if Obama is ready for Republican racism.
Lauer, introducing the issue, stated that "Senator Clinton has questioned whether he can withstand negative attacks from Republicans in the fall."
LAUER: Have you stopped to think what the Obama version of Swiftboating might be in this campaign cycle if you get to the general election? What they did to John Kerry: what's that version going to be with Barack Obama?
BARACK OBAMA: Oh, I think we can already anticipate because we've already seen it. First of all, I've had to go up against the Clinton machine. It's not as if they're playing tiddlywinks, right?
LAUER: Right; it's hardball.
OBAMA: Every day they've got a press conference accusing me of this or that or the other. So we've been battle-tested during the course of this primary. But we've also seen the scurrilous emails that are going out, suggesting that I'm a Muslim and that I don't pledge allegiance to the flag.
OBAMA: So I think there will probably be some of that, but it may not come explicitly from the Republican National Committee, but I think that we'll probably see some of that stuff underground.
LAUER: How about race -- in its purest sense?
OBAMA: I don't think that you're going to see explicit racial appeals. I actually think there are people in the Republican party who would be offended by that.
So Obama thinks some Republicans would be offended by blatantly racist appeals. Thanks! He continued.
OBAMA: I don't think the American people would tolerate that. But I do think that you'll see exaggerations of my positions, that make me as some wild-eyed liberal.
Like falsely painting you as the most liberal member of the Senate? Oh, wait.