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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

Bill Cunningham got punked. Or at least, that how the story's been sold.

Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham was booked last Tuesday to warm up the McCain crowd at a rally in Cincinnati. True to his 700 WLW radio chops, Cunningham incited the crowd with a good ole, pull no punches, rip of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, using the same screed he uses five days a week on his radio show.

Some of his remarks included calling Barack Obama a "hack, Chicago-style Daly politician." He prophesied, "At some point in the near future the media, the stooges from the New York Times, CBS (The Clinton Broadcasting System), NBC (The Nobody But Clinton Network), The All Bill Clinton Channel (ABC), and the Clinton News Network at some point is going to peel the bark off Barack Hussein Obama..."

I don't know if you heard, but Obama's middle name is "Hussein," and in case you didn't, Bill Cunningham will remind you a few thousand times a day. Anyone within a hundred miles of WLW's signal knows that. If McCain and his staff weren't aware that this is who Cunningham is, then there's a pretty good chance they probably don't know that to win in November they'll need a solid conservative base. And they can't be that dumb.

And that's the point. They'd have to have known about Cunningham and that he wouldn't have performed any differently than he did, no matter how hard they try to feign shock. If you book Andrew Dice Clay for a Bar Mitzvah, you can't say you expected nice-guy Jerry Seinfeld.

McCain and his staff knew exactly what Cunningham would do. They used him for all he was worth, and then when he was all done doing what they wanted him to do, they threw him under the Straight Talk bus.


Not exactly.

See, that would be the interpretation of a political rookie. This was a far more brilliant tactic than what appears on the surface.

Both McCain and Cunningham had to be in on it. Look at the results: The crowd got what they wanted: Cunningham at the top of his game. McCain got what he wanted -- a psyched crowd and a "look what a honorable guy I am to condemn this person I don't know for insulting my honorable opponents" moment.

And look what Cunningham got: national publicity and a fan base who now love him more than ever. And really, what's not to love? He's like a pig in 500 station radio syndication.

Cunningham's been everywhere. Hannity radio and TV, the Clinton News Network and in every national newspaper he wouldn't read. Bill's the talk of the town. I know a lot of people will say the Cunningham is just a crazy loudmouth. Yeah, crazy like Roger Aile's network

I'm just sayin' that Democrats better be ready come the Fall. These Republicans aren't as dumb as they try to make you think. Remember, Hannity spent the last six months making you think he wanted Hillary to lose. Tell me he didn't want to face Obama all along. It's not like reminding the folks that Hillary's middle name was Rodham would keep her out of the White House.

These guys are just settin' up the Dems just like they did in 2000 and 2004. You think they're getting pummeled and they're playin' rope-a-dope. Don't believe me, but if McCain wins in November, don't be surprised if the day after innauguration McCain shows up on Cunninghams show -- to give him am ambassadorship.

Award-winning television writer and author of Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (, Steve Young, is a former talk show host, writes ad finitum on talk radio. His "All The News That's Fit To Spoof" appears in L.A. Daily News opeds every Sunday (

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Albion Monitor   February 28, 2008   (

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