John Mark Reynolds offers a wise perspective on Obama’s blunder. Excerpt:
Listen to the audio. The crowd took Obama to be speaking of Palin . . . and made it about Palin by their reaction. They thought he meant Palin as did some in the press. Senator Obama either did not notice (too locked into his own thoughts) or like many speakers felt good about the big local reaction. He went with the crowd flow . . . and an innocent remark turned toxic.
The problem is that Obama allowed it to remain toxic. Obama is not aware of the invisible audience watching on video. He locks in on his interlocutor (see his interview with O’Reilly) and the crowd present. This is a strong skill in little league politics, but can be a fatal weakness in national politics.
That is not good campaigning, but it is not the worst crime in the world. It is, however, how gaffes are made (see poor Ford on captive nations in 1976 for an example). You did not mean to say something, but you were betrayed by a bad formulation of words or by the audience. If you want to be president, then you MUST monitor your every word.
Read the whole thing. Reynolds goes on to offer some thoughts on how this sort of behavior might hurt Obama in the debates, and correctly notes that McCain is not immune to “blurting” off-message comments to his own detriment.