This morning in Watertown, South Dakota, Candidate Obama, needing only 17 pledged delegates in a total 120.5 delegates to clinch the nomination, responds to grandson Bush’s and John McSame’s ugly attacks yesterday.

Obama will not be swift-boated: “Those two are launching dishonest, divisive attacks…”

Standing ovations from the crowd:

BTW, McCain was for Hamas before he was against it.

On the bright side of this controversy, Chuck Todd – MSNBC – sees Bush’s attack as a giant gift to Obama.

When President Bush — thousands of miles away in Israel — decided to fire his thinly veiled shot at Obama yesterday, it was a giant gift to the Illinois senator and his campaign. Why?

One, it essentially kept Clinton on the sidelines just two days after her big West Virginia victory. Two, Obama’s opponent was no longer Clinton or McCain, but the man with the 27% job-approval rating. And three, it rallied Democrats to Obama’s side.

Even neutral Dems, like Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel and Harry Reid, quickly leapt to Obama’s defense. Some Democrats might be deeply divided right now. Pro-choice women are angry at NARAL’s endorsement of Obama; Clinton supporters are upset that Obama is looking like the eventual nominee; and some African Americans are unhappy with the Clintons. But what’s the best way to unify them all? Give them an excuse to turn their attention to Bush.

And this will all play out another day — and will likely extend into the weekend — as Obama will respond this afternoon to Bush at his rally with Tom Daschle in South Dakota, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports. Obama will react to both what he considers Bush’s politicization of foreign policy and the substance of Bush’s attack.

The GOP is deficient on the issues, are like chickens who have lost their heads. On every policy issue McSame is tied to Bush. McSame is vulnerable. But this is the GOP and we are assured they’ll play dirty. Always.

The repubs can’t beat Obama on the issues, so they’ve resorted to setting up for the attacks and not just Obama, the candidate. They stooped ever lower to attack his wife; Michelle is fair game, or stoop lower still as did Huckabee.  

Will the kids be next?

All the evidence underscores that the GOP, thanks to brand Bush, is down for the count.

TNR’s Norm Scheiber observes:

How You Know the GOP Is Really Disoriented

They stop referring to Democrats as “the Democrat Party” and add that long lost “ic.” As in this from today’s Harris and VandeHei piece in the Politico:

    The Republican infrastructure is crumbling. Making matters worse, Democrats are erecting a pretty impressive network of donors, think tanks and activist groups that is exploiting the GOP’s structural weakness. The GOP “needs to realize what the opposition is and how formidable it is,” said former GOP leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). “The Democratic Party is organized chaos, but it is so much better than what we are doing.” It will take no less than three to five years to fix, smart Republicans estimate.

And DeLay practically invented “Democrat Party”…

Never fear, though. Some GOPers still know which way is up. Recommendation number 6 in the Politico piece should sound pretty familiar:

    Fan the fear: Ignore the critics, Republican wise men say — there is still no better way to win than to stir up concerns about Democratic patriotism and their commitment to national security and killing terrorists. It often remains the best call in the GOP playbook, especially with McCain atop the ticket.

    Republican officials privately urge lawmakers to whack their opponents whenever they can for worrying more about coddling terrorist suspects than condemning them, failing to support U.S. troops, exhibiting weakness in dealing with dictators, and rushing to a quick Iraq exit that could put U.S. servicemen and women at risk. Polls still show GOP strength on national security and fighting terrorism — at least when compared with their lousy numbers on domestic issues.

Fan the fear won’t work this round. There’s a limit to how many times you can cry “wolf, wolf, WMDs, orange alert, bin forgotten just sent us a new audio!”  

Disoriented is an understatement – the GOP gave up the war-mongering, fear card yesterday-by voting “present” on the $162.5 billion proposal to fund the wars they killed the bill

When those around us lose their heads, let’s protect ours. We’re getting ready. Bring them on. Lots of hard work ahead but the prize will be ours.

Just imagine:

500,000 African-Americans in Georgia are not yet registered to vote.

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