A Double Standard on Political Slurs?

An incident where Hillary Clinton was called a "bitch" in front of John McCain has gotten far more attention than when someone laid into "Bush the bastard" at a Hillary event.

Is there a double standard on "slurs" of "bitch" Hillary Clinton and "bastard" Bush?

This past weekend, a woman at a Hillary Clinton town-hall meeting in Bridgeton, Missouri made a populist rant against "Bush the bastard" and a rumored U.S.-Mexico-Canada union, noted Glenn Thrush in a blog post at the Chicago Tribune. According to Thrush, Hillary smiled and said nothing as the crowd roared in approval.

The rest of the media, including the Times, has yet to make a big deal about it, even though last November it talked up a confrontation in South Carolina when Republican John McCain was asked "How do we beat the bitch?" (Hillary Clinton being said bitch).

So far, the Times has referred to the "Bush the bastard" incident once, a mild reference tacked to the end of a front-page story Monday by Adam Nagourney in which hedidn't use the word but labeled ita "profanity" ("Vulgarity" might have been closer):

At Mrs. Clinton's campaign event in Missouri, a woman used a profanity in describing Mr. Bush as she accused him of signing a secret agreement to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada into a new country. Mrs. Clinton did not respond to the cursing; she appeared to grin slightly at first as the crowd cheered, and her face went blank before assuring the questioner that her fears about the merger were ill-placed.

"Let me say I've heard that story and there's not a lot of truth to it," she said. "If I am president, if I discover there is such an agreement, it'll be gone in a bird-dog minute."

The Republican National Committee quickly sent around a news report noting that she said nothing when the woman swore about the president.

By contrast, when John McCain was asked (in an incident caught on tape) "How do we beat the bitch?" at a public forum in Hilton Head, S.C. last November, it was characterized as a "slur" in the headline of a November 16 story on how Hillary Clinton was exploiting the comment with a fundraising pitch.

Marc Santora also did a full story on it November 14: "Pointed Question Puts McCain In a Tight Spot," in which Santora called the question "blunt and harsh." It was mentioned in two other stories and two columns.