"John McCain says he's about change too, and so I guess his whole angle
is,'Watch out George Bush -- except for economic policy, health care policy,
tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove-style politics --
we're really going to shake things up in Washington.'
"That's not change. That's just calling something the same thing
something different. You know you can put lipstick on a pig, but
it's still a pig. You know you can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called
change, it's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough of the same
First up is as stated here the context in which Barak Obama used the phrase was purely about McCain's change being an ineffective cover up to Bush's policies for the last eight years.
Next having seen the full statement you could side with the Republican camp who say "Obama was referring to Gov. Sarah Palin. It's obviously disrespectful and offensive.Who has been talking about lipstick lately? It was obvious."
Thirdly it's like that last song you hear in the morning before getting into work, you know the one, that one you can't get out of your heard no matter how bad it is. But somehow later on you can't help humming along of making some oblique reference to it.
Finally while a google search for Lipstick on a pig brings up 490,000 searches try adding Iraq and you get 190,000 searches alone. The phrase has been used by many American commentators on many different issues, including both Presidential candidates in the past on more than one occasion. Therefore while not as common as goggling it is an idiom in both Barack Obama and John McCain. John Edwards used it similarly to Obama to talk down Bushes job creation strategy in 2004 and Dick Cheney also used it that year.
So over to you, you decide.