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Palin's Latest Smear

The McCain campaign has been running misleading commercials using a portion of of an Obama quote -- "just air-raiding villages and killing civilians" -- to sow doubts about Obama's patriotism. Today, Sarah Palin took the deception a step farther, accusing Obama of having said that American soldiers "target [italics mine] and kill civilians in Afghanistan." NBC's First Read reports Palin's quote without correcting it.

What Obama actually said was this: "We've got to get the job done there, and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there." The point was clear and obvious. Without enough troops on the ground, we're reduced to using too many airstrikes, which creates more civilian casualties and damages our standing. No sane person would disagree. And to claim that Obama charged troops with targeting civilians is a straightforward lie.

--Jonathan Chait