A woman asks Sen. John McCain at a South Carolina event Nov. 12, “How do we beat the bitch?” (WFXT-TV)

A single word has taken the campaign for the presidency to a new level, as a woman at a South Carolina political event for Sen. John McCain asked the Arizona Republican, “How do we beat the bitch?”

The question was an apparent reference to New York Democrat Hillary Clinton and drew an instant outburst of laughter from those attending the event, as seen on video posted at Breitbart.tv.

“May I give the translation?” McCain clowned as he began his response. “That’s an excellent question. I respect Senator Clinton. I respect anyone who gets the nomination of the Democrat Party.”

“There was a poll yesterday,” he continued, “that shows me three points ahead of Senator Clinton in a head-to-head matchup. I respect Mrs. Clinton.”

A spokesman for Sen. Clinton declined to comment on McCain’s response. But, according to the New York Times, some of her advisers said they were surprised McCain had not defused the moment more artfully, given the possibility it might stir sympathy or outrage on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf.

America Online is polling its users about the issue, asking, “What do you think of John McCain’s handling of the question about his rival?”

With more than 131,000 responses at press time, 67 percent say McCain did a good job of answering, while 33 percent said a poor job.

More than 3,000 comments have been posted on AOL, including:

  • Hillary decided to play the game, so she has to cowboy up. The B-word is very small compared to the stuff she will have to face if she hopes to win the race.

  • Let’s grow up and lose the PC police. I believe John McCain handled the situation very well. … This campaign needs to be about REAL issues, don’t let cr– like this sidetrack any thoughts you have toward either of these candidates.

  • A bitch is a female dog. You should not refer to a woman as such. Dogs are loyal kind creatures at heart who only enrich lives, and make people happy.

  • The woman who asked that question should be ashamed of herself, and is a disgrace to the gender of female. McCain was so afraid of losing votes that his response was not just poor but shameful. Even if Senator Clinton does not get my vote, McCain has surely lost even my consideration.

  • Only a true bitch would even think of asking a question like that. It really shows America that the Republicans can’t win on their own merits that they have to resort to childish, schoolyard games like name-calling.

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