Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.
The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.
The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.
But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.
The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.
Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"
Why? Some people would do and say anything to win an election. Particularly Sarah Palin, who tirades about William Ayers - were not approved or authorized by the McCain campaign. There were her just "going Rogue!". Gettin' all Mavericky.
And it's not like more than a few people took this crap seriously.
Let me just repeat that there was not just one , but TWO PLOTS to kill Obama prior to the election, that were both foiled - and those were the only ones. out there. Not only was Obama and his family put directly at risk by Palin's comments - so was William Ayers, who is now a 60-years-old professor at the University of Chicago.
Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."
Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.
Just remember that Sarah Palin remains the favored person to lead the GOP in the future by 64% That she is still Governor of Alaska, and might very likely find herself in the U.S. Senate, meanwhile Michele Bachmann who wanted an investigation of congress for "anti-Americanism" was re-elected.
My voicemail filled up with hate messages. They were mostly from men, all venting and sweating and breathing heavily. A few threats: "Watch out!" and "You deserve to be shot." And some e-mails, like this one I got from email@example.com: "I’m coming to get you and when I do, I’ll water-board you."
The police lieutenant who came to copy down those threats deadpanned that he hoped the guy who was going to shoot me got there before the guy who was going to water-board me, since it would be most foul to be tortured and then shot. (We have been pals ever since he was first assigned to investigate threats made against me in 1987, after I was hired as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.)
The Palin-MCcain campaign was filled with vicious lies, lies which have spread throu-out the nation and just like Sarah herself who didn't know which countries were in NAFTA, or that South Africa is a Country - not a "state" like South Carolina, many of these people still don't know that Barack Obama is NOT a Muslim. (But you can't tell that to 25% of Texas) Those lies were then repeated and amplified by Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly to their millions listeners. They think the country is now in the hands of some kind of Black Radical Terrorist. After the Clinton Chronicles, put out by Jerry Falwell, made people believe the Bill Clinton was a drug dealer and murderer, a belief that contributed to Waco, Oklahoma City and the Bombing at the to Atlanta Olympics we can't afford to take this stuff lightly - despite what Palin says now, that is was "Just a rough and tumble campaign" - the fact remains and that's this was not "just politics."
It was HATE SPEECH!
And none of us can afford to pretend otherwise. Chances are that Obama and his family will be just fine and none of these Palinized Wack-Jobs out there will get off a realistic shot at him, but he's not the one I'm worried about - it's many of the rest of us who may wind being of collateral damage to this misguided rage and terror.
May God have mercy on us all.