Online readers were understandably perturbed today when a link to a prominent Charlotte citizen’s endorsement of Barack Obama suddenly stopped working — and took them to another Charlotte citizen’s endorsement of John McCain.

As of 11:15 a.m., the link problem had been fixed, though comments and accompanying art were still mixed up.

On Oct. 6, the Charlotte Observer had published a column by former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl Jr. in which he said Obama is “whom we need now” to straighten out the country’s financial problems.

But this morning, Oct. 14, the link to McColl’s column led to another by Charlottean Mark Erwin, a former ambassador under President Clinton, titled “Why John McCain would make the best president.”

The Indy called David Enna, site manager for the, who said the link switch was a technical error. “There was no conspiracy,” Enna said. “It has to do with the slugging of the stories.”

A “slug” is newspaper jargon for a short name given to stories as they move through production. Enna said editorial page editors gave the same slug to both stories, which caused the second story to override the first. He said the problem has happened before. “It’s a really, really dumb thing. I’ve told them over and over not to do it,” he said.