The Manchurian Candidate Mystery

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 6 2012 10:15 AM

The Manchurian Candidate Mystery

CONCORD, N.H. -- YouTube's been with us for 5 years, and yet no one's figured out how to verify what comes out of it. The current test case: NHLiberty4Paul. On January 4, that username was taken by a new YouTube user, who uploaded one video, and nothing else. The video is a remarkably offensive piece of crap about whether or not Jon Huntsman is a "Manchurian candidate." Huntsman is caricatured as Chairman Mao. His adopted daughters are pictured, without commentary, to imply... I don't know, but they're meant to imply something.

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There's no evidence that this is tied to the Paul campaign in any way, or even tied to a grassroots Paul supporter. But it's an awfully good issue for Huntsman to attack. "The Paul campaign and their supporters should condemn it," Huntsman spox Tim Miller said yesterday. At this college forum, a student asked the candidate about the video, telling him that "supporters of Ron Paul have put out a video speaking Chinese and portraying you as Chairman Mao." (She sort of meandered from here into a question about how hard it was for moderates to campaign and win.)

"As to the Ron Paul video, it's just stupid," said Huntsman. "What I object to is photos of my adopted daughters, and suggesting there is something cynical there."

Who wouldn't object? Then again -- who knows whether an actual Paul supporter did this, or whether someone hwo wanted to make Paul look bad did it? Huntsman's the one getting cartoonishly, racistly mocked, but Paul's the one being connected to the mockery without evidence.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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