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Obama's "confused" = Mccain's "special Interests"

Last week I pointed out--and, for my troubles, received a swift pummeling from our commenters--that McCain's "special interest" charge against Obama was a subtle allusion to Obama's race.

Having done that, it's only fair that I mention the Obama campaign's use of the word "confused" in reference to John McCain. Like they did today, for example, when discussing McCain's comment that it's "not too important" when our troops come home. According to Ben Smith, both John Kerry and Obama aide Susan Rice used the word on a media call:

"He confuses who Iran is training, he confuses what the makeup of Al Qaedais, he confuses the history going back to 682 of what has happened to Sunni and Shia," Kerry said.

Rice cited a "pattern of confusing the basic facts and reality that pertain to Iraq."

When pressed, Kerry and Rice both insisted their choice of words had nothing to do with McCain's age. And, as with "special interests," it's basically impossible to prove otherwise, since there's a perfectly legitimate interpretation in this context. Having said that, it would shock me if the word choice wasn't intended to conjure images of a doddering old man.

--Noam Scheiber