Which one, John McCain?
"That one," in reference to Barack Obama, might be the most talked about sound byte from any election or primary debate this year.
But what does one mean when one refers to another as "that one"? The media, blogs and presidential campaigns have a splattering of ideas:
At the New York Times, Maureen Dowd says if John McCain loses the election, these sorts of mudpies are to blame. "That one" being a cross between "The One" and "That Woman."
Consummate political blogger Andrew Sullivan characterizes "that one" as: "Nasty, uncivil and not even effective."
At the Washington Post, Tom Shales writes that it was a "seemingly demeaning, nasty references to Obama." This made McCain look like a "Scrooge."
Diddy is furious, saying he'd like to go to the polls right now. "This is 2008, not 1962!" he exclaims.
At Slate, John Dickerson wrote that the expression feels antiquated. "I have relatives-older relatives-who use this expression."
The Washington blogger Wonkette goes, "HEY-O, McCain points at Obama and says "THAT ONE," as in "THAT ONE [supported it]" or "THAT ONE [is on all of your welfare!]"
At the Atlantic, James Fallows says, "'That one.' Difficult to discuss. Unwise for Obama or his campaign ever to mention themselves. But creates an impression that may be impossible to erase."
As for the campaigns, Obama's put the question to reporters, "Did John McCain refer to Obama as ‘that one'?" While Charlie Black of the McCain says, ""I'd have to go back and look at it. It appears to me that the Obama campaign decided before the debate that they would come in the spin room and instead of debating the issues they would say ‘John McCain is erratic.'"
Elderly befuddling, dismissive insult, erratic temper or just plain racist, "that one" was not a good look for McCain.