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  In South Carolina, the Campaign Mud Arrived Before Santa
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Last EditedArmyDem  Jan 17, 2008 08:39am
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MediaNewspaper - New York Times
News DateThursday, January 17, 2008 02:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy LESLIE WAYNE
Published: January 17, 2008

COLUMBIA, S.C. — On the bloody political battlefields of South Carolina, where memories of the brutal attacks on Senator John McCain in 2000 are still fresh, there are already signs of nasty and false attacks against other candidates as the presidential campaigns descend on this state.

Mudslinging in South Carolina began even before Christmas. Nearly 4,000 South Carolinians received bogus Christmas cards purporting to be from Mitt Romney that endorsed polygamy and talked about the “exceedingly fair and white” Virgin Mary.

All the cards were postmarked from South Carolina, but featured a photograph of the Boston Public Garden and said, falsely, that they were being sent by a Mormon temple in Boston.

Then there was PhoneyFred.org, a Web site that featured pictures of Fred D. Thompson in frilly clothes and said that he was “once a pro-choice skirt chaser.” That site was later taken down, after protests from the Thompson campaign.

At the moment, e-mail is flooding into South Carolina — after having appeared in Iowa and New Hampshire — alleging that Senator Barack Obama is Muslim, which he is not, and questioning his patriotism, based on a photograph in which he does not have his hand over his heart as the national anthem is being played.

South Carolina has had a long, and infamous, tradition of hardball political attacks, involving scurrilous allegations and whispering campaigns that, while false, are hard to disprove and politically damaging. With the Republican primary coming on Saturday and the Democratic primary seven days later, mud is in full swing.
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