The head of the nation's biggest labor federation is joining the chorus of voices warning about the increasingly angry crowds coming to John McCain's campaign events.
At rallies this week, McCain's criticisms of Democrat Barack Obama have been met with shouts of "terrorist," "liar," and other harsh words.
"Sen. John McCain, Gov. Sarah Palin and the leadership of the Republican party have a fundamental moral responsibility to denounce the violent rhetoric that has pervaded recent McCain and Palin political rallies," said John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, which has endorsed Obama. "When rally attendees shout out such attacks as 'terrorist' or 'kill him' about Sen. Barack Obama, when they are cheered on by crowds incited by McCain-Palin rhetoric -- it is chilling that McCain and Palin do nothing to object.
"In a world where unspeakable violence is too often promulgated by extremists, it is no small or trivial matter to call someone a terrorist -- or to incite potentially dangerous individuals toward violence," Sweeney said in a statement. "John McCain, Sarah Palin and Republican leaders are walking a very thin line in pretending not to hear the hateful invectives spewed at their rallies. McCain should end this line of attack in the strongest possible terms. Anything less puts McCain in the same camp as the racists and extremists who are bringing their angry rhetoric to his campaign events."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.