Talking Points Memo's latest attempt to play the race card

A new McCain ad titled “Fans Club” mocks several Barack Obama supporters for making fawning remarks about their leader: A girl says he (Obama) has “soft eyes”. Another man confesses: “I almost felt like crying” when Obama gave him an autograph.

The last such supporter featured in the ad says, “hot chicks dig Obama”.

Predictably, TPM’s young reporter Eric Kleefeld saw this last statement as an opportunity to play the race card, composing a blog entry today in which he claimed that the McCain web ad “proclaimed” that “hot chicks dig Obama.”

But as you will find out once you actually view the thing, the ad makes no such proclamation. It is the Obama supporter who proclaims, 1 minute and 1 second into the ad: “hot chicks digs Obama.” Again, the ad mocks the enthusiasm displayed in these statements by Obama supporters, which are portrayed as over-the-top, including the statement in question (hot chicks dig Obama).

No, Kleefeld. That man is not a web ad. He’s an Obama supporter.

But that’s not all. Kleefeld could not resist the temptation to follow Marshall’s lead and compare virtually everything coming from the McCain camp to the racist Harold Ford ad in Tennessee. He said,

How long until “Barack, call me” ends up in a McCain paid TV ad?

Eric Kleefeld and his boss Josh Marshall are willing to cherry-pick the tiniest soundbite and convert it into one entire story intended to smear the opposition.

I can’t help but wonder: are they dumb? Or just pretending?