Barack Obama (D-Rezko) is currently running a very big ad campaign on the “internets”, as George Bush calls it. The ads rightfully proclaim WATCH BARACK – Then AND Now. Hillary Clinton supporters agree, let’s watch Barack then and now.

Barack in 2002 said one thing about Iraq when he was running for Senate in a practically opponent-less race (nutjob Alan Keyes who lived in Virginia was the Ripublican) then voted differently than his flowery words when he arrived in the Senate and had to cast actual votes not just hide behind a microphone.

Barack sold himself as a community organizer when running for office but when he was elected by the community his attentions were devoted to the most corrupt elements in Chicago. The community found itself literally in the cold.

Barack in Illinois voted present on pro-choice issues but now sells himself as a pro-choice kind of guy.

Barack, (he thinks he is Hillary now, using only his first name), is also advertising in Iowa and every early primary state. According to TPM, Barack has an ad running in Iowa –

The ad, entitled “Take It Back,” ad uses footage from his declaration speech this past February, in which he told the crowd, “I know that I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington. But I’ve been there long enough to know, the ways of Washington must change.” The narrator then talks about Obama’s work on ethics reform, and his refusal of PAC money in his campaign — bolstering his ongoing efforts to make government reform a centerpiece of his campaign.

Here is Barack NOW when running for office, displaying his flowery language once again

Here is Barack THEN running away from the media asking questions about corruption, displaying something else

Which Barack will we see in 2008 when his friend of 17 years, the slumlord and now indicted Antoin “Tony” Rezko, is prosecuted by Patrick Fitzgerald’s office for corruption in February 2008?


Chelsea Restoration

There was no Bill Clinton, no Hillary Clinton, no Clinton at all running for president in 2000 or in 2004. If the Non-Clinton Democratic candidate for president in 2000 or 2004 had been inaugurated, Naderites and PINOs could not indulge their lame “Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton” whine in 2007. But the facts do not stop the Gore hating Naderites of 2000 and assorted self-interested PINOs, from mindlessly repeating the desperate canard we debunked months ago, of a “Clinton Dynasty”.

But, cue the Naderites and PINOs. They have a new Clinton conspiracy to tout. Soon we predict, Naderites and PINOs will commence a sing-song mantra that it is 12 year old Chelsea who has been ceaselessly conspiring and plotting, lo these many years, with shrewd cold calculated cunning and unyielding persistent ambition, to restore unto herself the title of FIRST DAUGHTER.

Let no one doubt – Chelsea will be First Daughter – again! Democracy trembles.

The source of this gestating conspiracy is a New York Times article about Chelsea Clinton.

Asked which parent Chelsea Clinton most resembles, friends tick through the mother-daughter similarities. There is the habit of pre-empting questions by asking lots of them. The passionate interest in health care. The tendency to sound a bit scripted when talking about policy, even in private. The way both borrowed on family contacts to establish post-White House careers, but won over skeptical colleagues with their diligence and enthusiasm.

While funloving, Chelsea is not known to cavort around town with bottles of Jim Beam and packs of Winston cigarettes on the dashboard. Chelsea is much more industrious.

When Mrs. Clinton ran for the Senate, her 20-year-old daughter crisscrossed New York State by her side. Now, at 27, Ms. Clinton is still clapping and beaming on her parents’ behalf. She accompanied them recently on trips to Aspen, Colo., Germany and Israel. Her fund-raising efforts helped bring in more than $20 million for her father’s foundation. [snip]

“It’s ‘The Truman Show,’ ” said Jill Kargman, a friend of Ms. Clinton’s, citing the movie about a character whose entire life is a reality television program.

But like Truman, who eventually breaks free, Ms. Clinton now has her own life: a hedge fund job, a serious boyfriend, a tight circle of friends, and a permanent place setting on the New York party circuit. Lately, Ms. Clinton has been able to have her celebrity and control it, too, enjoying the perks but fewer of the drawbacks she used to suffer, from jokes about her looks to tabloid speculation about a canceled wedding or secret honeymoon. She retains a publicist, but mainly to fend off publicity; she and her parents turned down interview requests for this article, as they have for countless others on the subject.

The Hillary Clinton “Sopranos” video foreshadowed the emergence of an up to now invisible Chelsea.

Now Ms. Clinton must decide whether to surrender some of her privacy to help her mother, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. So far, Ms. Clinton is more a character than a presence in the campaign, which aims to portray Senator Clinton as a strong yet nurturing force, a friend to women and children and a symbol of progress from one generation to the next. Voters hear stories about Ms. Clinton’s childhood Christmas ornaments, fondness for “Goodnight Moon,” even her crib. The campaign’s “Sopranos” parody video included a joke about parallel parking that compared her to Meadow, that television family’s loyal daughter.

Campaign officials would not say when — or even if — Ms. Clinton would appear on the trail. “Even though President and Senator Clinton are public figures, their daughter is not,” Howard Wolfson, the campaign spokesman, said in a statement. “While Chelsea Clinton has attended events for her mom and will be supporting her parents in their political and philanthropic endeavors, she will continue to focus on her own professional and personal interests as a private person.”

Chelsea is a wonderful daughter. Like her parents she already has an interesting history.

Ms. Clinton began college interested in medicine, which would have taken her away from her parents’ orbit, into long years of hospital training. Instead, after graduating with honors from Stanford University in June 2001, Ms. Clinton enrolled at Oxford University, which her father attended as a Rhodes scholar. She arrived just after Sept. 11, and quickly banded with other Americans traumatized by the attacks. Three decades earlier, Mr. Clinton and his Oxford friends had reckoned with America’s role in Vietnam; Ms. Clinton’s group struggled over what Sept. 11 meant for their generation.

Ms. Clinton shared her answer in an earnest essay a few months later in Talk magazine “For most young Americans I know, ‘serving’ in the broadest sense now seems like the only thing to do,” she wrote. “Is banking what’s important right now?”

Her words are reminiscent of a younger Hillary Clinton, who, as the campaign frequently reminds voters, chose children’s advocacy over corporate work after law school.

Call the conspiracy stenographers, this will keep them going for years. What sounds good and lovely to us, to the Naderites will be signs of the Illuminati and messages straight from the DaVinci Code.

Many interviews with Ms. Clinton’s friends followed the same pattern: requests not to be identified in the article, followed by warm descriptions of Ms. Clinton, then moments of anxiety that she would find out about the praise. Still, in more than a dozen interviews, a consensus portrait emerged, that of a sincere, serious woman who, consciously or not, has picked up a few politicianlike habits.

Often taking positions similar to those of her parents, Ms. Clinton discusses policy more than politics, and easily summons statistics — the number of uninsured in this category, the cost of expanding coverage in that one — to support her arguments.

Uh, Oh, here we go.

More recently, Senator Clinton has called her daughter one of her two “greatest advisers,” along with her husband.

If Chelsea Clinton returns to the White House, her role, or lack thereof, could be a clue to her own ambitions. She is biding her time, say friends, who toss out possibilities: A life in finance? The Clinton Foundation, which could pass from one generation to the next? Or, would Ms. Clinton run for office herself?

Get the smelling salts! Naderites and PINOs by the bushel are about to turn purple then swoon.

It is a topic of constant speculation in Ms. Clinton’s circles. When Ms. Kargman first heard her deliver a speech at a ballet benefit, a few years ago, she wondered if she was watching the future first female president. “She is going to go all the way,” she thought to herself.

To the public, Ms. Clinton has given just the barest hint of that sort of impulse. In her essay about Sept. 11, she wrote that she felt “a new urgency to play a part in America’s future.” She did not know where life would take her, she said, but one thing was certain. “I will somehow serve my country,” she promised.


Carolina In My Mind

Update II: We added a graph of South Carolina polls.
Update: An assessment from The Hotline: “We would be “naive” to think that her battle with Obama is just aimed at primary voters. The bigger goal is to set her up as an acceptable Commander-in-Chief. Talk to any Dem strategist and they’ll tell you that GOPers’ ability to paint Dems as weak on security and terrorism is still their greatest fear.”

We noted last week that Barack Obama’s desperate attack on Hillary Clinton and his flipping and flopping could be reduced to 2 words: South Carolina. We noted in that article how Obama’s entire campaign strategy is based on victory in the South Carolina primary.

We noted in Barack Obama Flops, Then Flips – Part III, that Obama was doing very badly in the South Carolina polls both immediately pre-debate and immediately post-debate.

We stated that Obama’s desperate attack on Hillary was due to his failing campaign in South Carolina despite the fact that Obama is outspending Hillary 3 to 1 in South Carolina. So, how is Obama doing in South Carolina?
South Carolina polls

The polls tell the story that Hillary is beating Obama badly in South Carolina. What is the anecdotal evidence and what do knowledgeable political observers say about the South Carolina political situation?

Clinton brought the house down Saturday during a campaign stop at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Performing Arts Center as the first 2008 presidential candidate to visit Beaufort.

“Her message was right on,” said Hilton Head Island Democrat Jack Keable, 72, after Clinton’s 40-minute speech. “Something needs to be done to change the country back to the way it used to be.”

Clinton won over the crowd of more than 500 supporters seated in the auditorium and the roughly 300 people in overflow seating who watched the speech from closed-circuit televisions set up just outside the auditorium.

South Carolina’s The State:

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is sailing right along toward the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

No one is in place to stop her.

Clinton has dominated the four debates conducted thus far featuring the eight Democratic presidential hopefuls.

“Once again she stood out,” Francis Marion University political scientist Neal Thigpen said of Clinton’s performance in Monday night’s Charleston debate.

Experts have praised Clinton’s overall performance, calling it smooth and warm, reflecting a deep knowledge of the issues. [snip]
Clinton’s poll numbers have strengthened and gone up after each debate. Voters have been impressed with her intellect and cool demeanor. She doesn’t get rattled easily.

InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion, an Atlanta-based polling firm, questioned more than 500 S.C. Democratic voters the day after Monday’s debate. It showed Clinton crushing Obama 43 percent to 28 percent.

Matt Towery, president of InsiderAdvantage, said earlier surveys showed Obama in the lead. The change occurred as more black voters decided on Clinton.

“It does appear that, at this point, she has a pretty good lead,” agreed Carol Khare Fowler, chairwoman of the S.C. Democratic Party. “I don’t doubt she is ahead.” [snip]

After Monday night’s debate and Clinton’s widening lead over Obama in the polls, some began to wonder whether the Democratic race isn’t over.

Many Democrats are saying Obama must make his move soon or be caught up in the Clinton sweep.

Well, Obama made his move, he flopped.

By Friday, even the Washington Post took notice of Hillary’s surging support:

The candidacy of the 45-year-old Obama elicits genuine excitement in a state where blacks comprise about half of the primary electorate. Yet coupled with that emotion is a strong degree of skepticism about the freshman senator’s experience and whether he can win.

Obama also is up against the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner who enjoys strong support in the black community and is married to former President Clinton, who is wildly popular in the community. [snip]

Ashley Torrence, a 27-year-old college instructor in Greenville, S.C., is torn between voting for Obama and Clinton, and considers her vote crucial because either candidate could smash barriers. Torrence has talked to Clinton and was disappointed when all she got from her encounter with Obama was a handshake.

“I wanted to ask him how he had planned to combat the feeling that unfortunately a lot of people have about just not being ready for a black male to be president and particularly a lot of people with old South mentality,” she said. “How is he going to deal with that? Because you can’t campaign as though it doesn’t exist.” [snip]

Obama’s plea was directed not only at voters, who will participate in the Jan. 29 primary, but Democratic state Sen. Robert Ford of Charleston. Ford garnered headlines when he said he was backing Clinton in part because he was skeptical that Obama could win the presidency and feared that his nomination could hurt other Democratic candidates.

“Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose _ because he’s black and he’s top of the ticket. We’d lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything,” said Ford, who is black. [snip]

But the AP interviews suggested the view is prevalent among blacks, along with concerns across racial lines about whether Obama has enough experience to be president. Greenville County Democratic Party chairman Andy Arnold hears it frequently among blacks, who are supporting Clinton in greater numbers in recent polls.

“A lot of the African-Americans are with Hillary because I think they don’t believe white America is ready for a black president,” said Arnold, who is white and uncommitted in the race. “They want to win and so in a way, I think it is a barrier to him. And it may be more so in the South where the remnants of the old South are still in the older folks mind. They just can’t believe in their right mind that white folks will elect a black man president, so let’s not put ourselves through that agony.” [snip]

The Obama campaign argues that doubts about whether a black man can be elected is not widespread. They cite a Winthrop Poll of South Carolinians in May in which 79 percent of respondents said they think the country will be ready for a black president in the next 12 years. However, the poll did not ask whether they would be ready in 2008.

Did Obama’s desperate attack on Hillary calling her Bush/Cheney lite help Obama? The New York Daily
editorial today answers the question

Barack Obama made a soft-skulled statement in last week’s debate. He said he would meet one-on-one with dictators – including Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and nuclear saber-rattler Kim Jong Il – without preconditions in his first year in office. Hillary Clinton rightly pronounced him naive.

Now we have Exhibit B that something is awry in the Obama camp. Rather than explain under what circumstances he would, in fact, sit down with tyrants, Obama has labeled Clinton’s strategy – to conduct robust diplomacy while remaining wary of being used for propaganda purposes – “Bush-Cheney lite.” What?

The latest polls show Obama gained no traction with Axelrod’s desperate “Battle of the Bulge” type assault. The Battle of Charleston is over.

Several months from now, with soft music playing in the background, when Obama and Axelrod and Plouffe are having some drinks and having some smokes, thinking about what might have been – they can look back to last week and pinpoint the moment their campaign was utterly lost.


Casualties: Barack Obama And The Battle Of Charleston

Barack Obama does not seem to know what condition his precondition is in. Late Friday, we thought the matter was settled when Obama made a declarative statement regarding his intent to hold meetings with Holocaust deniers and other rogue leaders: “My theory is you do and you do it without preconditions.”

Of course, that statement contradicted previous denials of such intent by his staff. Obama himself had pre-contradicted himself when, on the Sunday before the debate – regarding any meeting with President Chavez, Obama stated that such meeting would be “under certain conditions”

Confused yet? As we wrote, we and everyone else, thought the matter was settled when Obama made his “you do it without preconditions” statement late on Friday the 27th. However, the Obama campaign fooled us all. By Saturday, it looks like Obama flipped and flopped — yet again.

Here’s what happened according to the Des Moines Register. On Saturday, July 28 former Iowa Governor and current Hillary supporter Tom Vilsack “held a phone conference with national reporters, saying he is disappointed with Barack Obama and noted several instances of what Vilsack said were discrepancies in Obama’s recent statements.”

“Vilsack specifically noted a column in the Miami Herald this week. That column quoted Obama as saying he would meet with Venezuala President Hugo Chavez “under certain conditions.”

That’s significant because it goes to the heart of the spat between Obama and Clinton, making it appear as if Obama agrees with Clinton despite his recent comments.

“I would hope the senator would clarify his comments as to whether or not he is for preconditions or not and would cease and desist from distorting the record and comments of senator Clinton.”

Soon thereafter, surprise, surprise:

Obama’s Iowa Press Secretary Tommy Vietor responded, saying Obama never set preconditions off the table: “He never said he would invite dictators over for a cup of coffee and he said he wouldn’t let these dictators use him as a propaganda tool,” Vietor said. “What he did say was that he would be willing to meet with them.”


Is it time for Obama to Blame The Staff again?


Aftermath: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Battle of Charleston

 Update II:  Just so noone misses it (Obama supporters seem to be confused about Obama’s position too) in the long post below, Obama did say today, in Iowa the following: “Some of you noticed that this week I got into a debate with one of my colleagues who is also running for the presidency. The debate was about whether or not we talk to world leaders even when you don’t like them. My theory is you do and you do it without preconditions.” — Keep digging that hole, Obama. 


Update: Congratulations to our very own commenter “Domma”. Domma bought to our attention the article by Andres Oppenheimer in the Miami Herald at 8:00 p.m. on July 26. We posted a story quoting the Miami Herald article in early afternoon on the 27th (as well as in this post) and other websites followed. Politico wrote their story quoting the Miami Herald at 4:55 p.m and TPM wrote their story late on Friday.

Today, HillaryHub has the story Headlined on the front page. The headlines at HillaryHub link to an ABC News story that goes like this:

It turns out that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was for pre-conditions before he was against them.

In a pre-debate interview with a columnist for the Miami Herald, Obama said that he would meet with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez but he stipulated that he would only do so “under certain conditions.” [snip]

But once he reached the Democratic presidential debate, his position seemed to change.

Asked if he would be willing to meet separately “without precondition” during the first year of his administration with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea, Obama said, “I would.”

In the days since the debate, Obama has argued that Clinton’s foreign policy approach smacks of “Bush-Cheney lite” even though the position he is attacking Clinton for holding, seems to be one that he himself held in his pre-debate interview with the Miami Herald.

Thanks Domma. Checkmate on Obama.


Wisps of smoke are languidly rising from the crater once known as the Obama presidential campaign.

The Battle of Charleston, which started at the CNN/Youtube debate has ended. Senator Hillary Clinton emerges with a strategic and tactical victory to add to her already formidable assets. Obama emerges with a shattered campaign message, the loss of huge segments of the American electorate in key big states, and the surrender of the national security issue to Ripublicans in any general election campaign he would lead.

At the debate Obama flopped with his answer to this question:

In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

Immediately after the debate the Obama campaign mastermind David Axelrod repudiated Obama’s answer. Obama of course had pre-repudiated his own answer the day before in an interview with the Miami Herald when he stated that any meeting with President Chavez would be “under certain conditions” (Hillary’s well thought out debate answer) .

The next morning Obama fired the first attack against Hillary in order to cover up his massive mistake. Hillary countered in response to a reporter’s question that Obama’s answer was “naive and frankly irresponsible”. Obama, too inexperienced to even know when he is in a losing fight, pulled a George Bush and doubled down his losing bet by ignorning reality and implying Hillary is “Bush Cheney lite”.

Obama’s supporters cheered when their dog barked. These supporters were so happy to finally see signs of life coming from their languid candidate.

Of course these same supporters cheered when the Obama campaign (via a roomate of Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt) oozed out a vile videotape portraying Hillary as “Big Brother”. These same supporters cheered when the Obama campaign oozed out anonymous memos unfairly attacking President Bill Clinton (utilizing right wing smear machine the Drudge Report) with an already debunked smear and tagging Hillary as “(D-Punjab)”. The tears of joy by these supporters turned to tears of remorse when these vile tactics were exposed and Obama’s poll numbers sunk further.

Today, after flopping then flipping out, Obama has officially flipped and flopped on the “preconditions” question and we have our final answer from Obama himself (in an appearance that demonstrates he knows little about agriculture too):

“Some of you noticed that this week I got into a debate with one of my colleagues who is also running for the presidency. The debate was about whether or not we talk to world leaders even when you don’t like them. My theory is you do and you do it without preconditions.”

Obama in his Charleston debate answer cited John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan as Presidents who spoke with their enemies. This is true. Hillary too wishes to reverse the Bush years and actually have some diplomacy. Obama is too inexperienced to realize that what passes for diplomacy these days is not diplomacy. Secretary Rice is not a diplomat. The State Department (like FEMA) is not functioning.

Hillary wants to bring back diplomacy. Hillary wants a functioning State Department. Hillary wants the type of diplomacy Bill Clinton initiated when he met with enemies of the United States in mutual respect and after proper preparation. The type of diplomacy Bill Clinton initiated when he brought together the United Kingdom and the Irish political factions to bring about the lasting peace enjoyed in Ireland today. The type of diplomacy which engaged the Middle East and though it failed (due to the shortsightedness of Arafat who recognized his own failure when he eventually accepted the accords Bill Clinton had worked so hard to achieve) made the United States a respected world influence.

Obama needs to take a refresher course in “international relations”. Ronald Reagan met with his enemies, after many preconditions and years of preparation, in his second term. And Kennedy? Here is what JFK thought (from the 1960 debates):

MR. SPIVAK: Mr. Vice President, according to news dispatches Soviet Premier Khrushchev said today that Prime Minister Macmillan had assured him that there would be a summit conference next year after the presidential elections. Have you given any cause for such assurance, and do you consider it desirable or even possible that there would be a summit conference next year if Mr. Khrushchev persists in the conditions he’s laid down?

MR. NIXON: No, of course I haven’t talked to Prime Minister Macmillan. It would not be appropriate for me to do so. The President is still going to be president for the next four months and he, of course, is the only one who could commit this country in this period. As far as a summit conference is concerned, I want to make my position absolutely clear. I would be willing as president to meet with Mr. Khrushchev or any other world leader if it would serve the cause of peace. I would not be able wou- would be willing to meet with him however, unless there were preparations for that conference which would give us some reasonable certainty – some reasonable certainty – that you were going to have some success. We must not build up the hopes of the world and then dash them as was the case in Paris. There, Mr. Khrushchev came to that conference determined to break it up. He was going to break it up because he would – knew that he wasn’t going to get his way on Berlin and on the other key matters with which he was concerned at the Paris Conference. Now, if we’re going to have another summit conference, there must be negotiations at the diplomatic level – the ambassadors, the Secretaries of State, and others at that level – prior to that time, which will delineate the issues and which will prepare the way for the heads of state to meet and make some progress. Otherwise, if we find the heads of state meeting and not making progress, we will find that the cause of peace will have been hurt rather than helped. So under these circumstances, I, therefore, strongly urge and I will strongly hold, if I have the opportunity to urge or to hold – this position: that any summit conference would be gone into only after the most careful preparation and only after Mr. Khrushchev – after his disgraceful conduct at Paris, after his disgraceful conduct at the United Nations – gave some assurance that he really wanted to sit down and talk and to accomplish something and not just to make propaganda.

MR. McGEE: Senator Kennedy.

I have no disagreement with the Vice President’s position on that. It – my view is the same as his. Let me say there is only one uh – point I would add. That before we go into the summit, before we ever meet again, I think it’s important that the United States build its strength; that it build its military strength as well as its own economic strength. If we negotiate from a position where the power balance or wave is moving away from us, it’s extremely difficult to reach a successful decision on Berlin as well as the other questions. Now the next president of the United States in his first year is going to be confronted with a very serious question on our defense of Berlin, our commitment to Berlin. It’s going to be a test of our nerve and will. It’s going to be a test of our strength. And because we’re going to move in sixty-one and two, partly because we have not maintained our strength with sufficient vigor in the last years, I believe that before we meet that crisis, that the next president of the United States should send a message to Congress asking for a revitalization of our military strength, because come spring or late in the winter we’re going to be face to face with the most serious Berlin crisis since l949 or fifty. On the question of the summit, I agree with the position of Mr. Nixon. I would not meet Mr. Khrushchev unless there were some agreements at the secondary level – foreign ministers or ambassadors – which would indicate that the meeting would have some hope of success, or a useful exchange of ideas.

Obama has stumbled on national security issues before. When Brian Williams asked at a prior debate what Obama would do

“Senator Obama, if, God forbid a thousand times, while we were gathered here tonight, we learned that two American cities have been hit simultaneously by terrorists and we further learned, beyond the shadow of a doubt it had been the work of Al Qaida, how would you change the U.S. military stance overseas as a result?”

Obama responded with “Well, the first thing we’d have to do is make sure that we’ve got an effective emergency response, something that this administration failed to do when we had a hurricane in New Orleans.”

Hillary’s response was again to the point and correct and decisive and yes, presidential:

“Well, again, having been a senator during 9/11, I understand very well the extraordinary horror of that kind of an attack and the impact that it has, far beyond those that are directly affected.

I think a president must move as swiftly as is prudent to retaliate.

If we are attacked, and we can determine who is behind that attack, and if there are nations that supported or gave material aid to those who attacked us, I believe we should quickly respond.”

The Des Moines Register reported on the Aftermath of the Battle of Charleston:

Barack Obama’s message of hope – along with his promise to run a clean presidential campaign – could be jeopardized by comments such as calling Hillary Clinton “Bush-Cheney Lite,” several Iowa political experts warned today.

“It puts him in a box, because now it sort of paints him, anytime he attacks, that he’s not being the candidate of hope,” said Cary Covington, an associate professor of political science at the University of Iowa. [snip]

Bardwell added, however, that the more Obama uses such tactics, the harder it will be for him to continue to claim he is running a clean campaign.

“I think as his campaign wears on he is going to get increasingly locked up in fights like this and it will become harder and harder for him to say he’s running a new kind of campaign that doesn’t engage in those types of fights,” Bardwell said.

Ana Marie Cox at Time magazine is blunt:

Perhaps the most remarkable thing in this debate is the tacit agreement on both sides that comparing Hillary to Bush/Cheney is new lowest of the low. I think Republican candidates would agree as well.

Also, free advice to Obama: You’re losing this round. Stand down. [snip]

The stark difference between the two lies almost exclusively in how they answered the question and, obviously, in how they’ve conducted themselves in the aftermath. Obama’s team has tried a variety of spins in the last week, ranging from “she actually agrees with me” to the tragically hyperbolic “Bush/Cheney light.” The Clinton team has been forceful but consistent in simply pointing out how Obama’s answer betrays a lack of experience — as does his “evolving” spin.

I can almost already read the comments this will provoke, namely, that it’s the policy and not the publicity that should matter. But at some point, you have to judge the potential president he/she might be with the candidate he/she currently is. Barack may make a fine president. What about his candidacy tells us that?

Ripublican Rich Lowry sounds the warning about Hillary’s firepower to his Ripublican friends:

Hillary Clinton has led in almost every national poll among the Democratic presidential candidates, usually by double digits. She has turned in a solid, self-assured performance in all the debates, has revved up an impressive organization and hasn’t made a major mistake under the glare of a media that magnify everything she does.

Clinton is the underestimated front-runner. How much will-he-or-won’t-he commentary has been devoted to almost-certainly-won’t Al Gore, and how many glossy pages and adoring column inches to Barack Obama, as she continues her steady march toward the nomination?

Conservative commentators like me have especially tended to discount her. We have argued that she’d never dare to run for Senate in New York; that if she ran, she’d be a terrible candidate; and that if she really ran for president, she would collapse under the weight of her own dullness and high negatives. Alas and alack, it is instead incontrovertible that — in her own way — she’s a talented politician who has a clear path to the Democratic presidential nomination and to the presidency. [snip]

She was ready for the question, unsurprisingly. Her campaign operation is like something out of “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” It knows how to attack and parry and do it efficiently. It is inconceivable that she would ever be embarrassed by her campaign the way Obama has been by his a few times this year — and if she were, someone would probably get fired.

Obama has generated a lot of excitement. Maybe he will end up swamping Clinton, or she’ll be done in by some unforeseeable issue or gaffe, or her high negatives will convince Democrats that someone else is a safer bet to get elected next year. But it doesn’t look likely when Clinton has run a nearly flawless campaign and has done more than any other Democrat to show she’s ready to be president.

I will never support her, but nor will I ever again underestimate her.

Obama will continue his presidential run. He has now retreated to his final sole asset: money. Obama has much earlier than he wanted to begun to advertise. Obama is advertising extensively on the internet. Obama has expanded his advertising into all the early primary states. All that advertising, all that spent money will not do him any good. The Obama campaign has cratered.


Barack Obama Flops, Then Flips – Part III

Jut Jaw

Trying to piece together the events of the past 48 hours, we were at first stymied. We had no idea what Obama was saying. We think we finally have it figured out; at least until Obama opens his mouth again:

Hillary’s consistent position: We must have diplomacy but not foolishness.

Obama’s position, shifting and convoluted: We must have diplomacy and foolishness.

Here are the forensics: At the debate, Obama stated that YES he would (“I would.”) meet 1) separately; 2) without precondition; 3) during the first year; 4) in Washington or anywhere else; 5) with leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea.

Immediately after the debate however Obama’s chief mastermind David Axelrod (according to right wing journalist Byron York) declared Obama’s debate statement of “I would” – inoperative.

Sen. Barack Obama’s closest political adviser, David Axelrod, wants you to know that Obama did not say what he appeared to say at Monday night’s Democratic debate here in Charleston. [snip]

But after the debate, speaking to reporters in the spin room, Axelrod claimed Obama didn’t mean any such meetings would actually take place.

“He said that he would be willing to talk,” Axelrod explained. “And what he meant was, as a government, he’d be willing and eager to initiate those kinds of talks, just as during the Cold War there were low-level discussions and mid-level discussions between us and the Soviet Union and so on. So he was not promising summits with all of those leaders.”

Axelrod said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who took sharp issue with Obama on the question, was “trying to make a distinction without a difference.” If Axelrod seemed a bit sensitive about the issue, it was because Clinton, when she was asked about meeting Ahmadinejad, et al, showed a much firmer grasp of what a president should and should not do when dealing with rogue states. [snip]

Early the next morning, on Tuesday, the Obama campaign began circulating press releases attacking Hillary, then posed with outrage when Hillary responded to a question and rightly stated that Obama’s debate answer was naive and irresponsible.

In an interview the day before the debate with Andres Oppenheimer of the Miami Herald Obama had a different answer:

A day later, at the CNN-YouTube Democratic Debate, Obama raised eyebrows nationwide when he responded affirmatively to a question on whether he would be willing to meet — without preconditions — in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.


In our interview, the senator from Illinois had been a bit more cautious. When I asked him whether he would meet with Chávez, he had said, “Under certain conditions, I always believe in talking. Sometimes it’s more important to talk to your enemies than to your friends.”

So it went. Obama fluctuated his views, at one point repudiating “cup of coffee meetings” then eventually the Politico noted

Obama took another whack at Hillary today on the war, and seems to be trying a different tack.

On debate night, the spin was that he hadn’t actually said anything different from Hillary.

“Axelrod said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who took sharp issue with Obama on the question, was ‘trying to make a distinction without a difference,'” Byron York reported.

Today, Obama suggested that he was actually articulating a different policy.

The last screw connecting, a now unhinged Obama, attached to reality fell away as Obama ranted away in an open air speech with the implication that Hillary was “Bush-Cheney lite”. Hillary responded in an adult but amused manner and reminded Obama about his “new politics” slogan. Hillary then returned to her winning fight with the Bush/Cheney Pentagon. “Watching today’s Clinton-Obama spat play out on CNN right now, it’s impossible not to note how well Clinton has positioned herself to rebut the accusation that she’s “Bush-Cheney Lite.

The immediate political implications for Obama were fairly clear. Obama’s entire campaign premise was allegedly that he wanted to get people together and get away from political fights. The idea lodged in Obama’s head was that this was the way to attract independents and lead to victory. That six months pose has officially disappeared.

The other implication for Obama is the loss of voters who want an intelligent and professional foreign policy – missing in the entire 7 years of the Bush administration. Obama, like Bush, proclaimed that he, not lifelong diplomats knew best. Obama added, in a speech at the inaptly named Concord, New Hampshire: “I’m not afraid of losing the PR war to dictators.” Obama, like Bush, might not be worried about how his amateur “international relations” activity damages the United States and the world, but most Americans do not want to get further into the mess we are already in. The problem is not that professional diplomats and diplomacy have failed in the last 7 years, the problem is that the professionals have been banned for the past 7 years.

Other implications running against Obama were the loss of Cuban and Jewish voters in Florida. The more ominous implication, as detailed by David Corn in The Nation magazine was the probable swiftboat type ads with

Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro, Bashar al-Assad, and Hugo Chavez all strolling into the White House, and a grinning Barack Obama greeting them with a friendly “Welcome, boys; what do you want to talk about?”

If Obama gets close to the Democratic presidential nomination, pro-Hillary Clinton forces could air such an ad. If he wins the nomination, the Republicans could hammer him with such a spot.

And the junior senator from Illinois will not have much of a defense.

What caused this flopping and flipping from Obama and his campaign? Two words: South Carolina.

Obama’s entire strategy for any potential victory is South Carolina.

An insufficiently discussed article appeared this week in Politico. Some excerpts follow which provide the script Axelrod gave Obama to follow.

Awash in money and publicity but behind in the polls, Barack Obama, advisers say, is planning a classic insurgent’s campaign to wrest the Democratic nomination from Hillary Rodham Clinton — one that relies on a surge of momentum from early-state victories and faces a make-or-break test in the South Carolina primary. [snip]

Because nothing is working to move Obama’s poll numbers up, and due to the fast and intelligent footwork of the Hillary campaign team, Obama has been forced to drop his lace veil of “new politics” and attack Hillary explicitly.

The upbeat message, Obama advisers say, won’t prevent the candidate from stepping up both veiled and explicit contrasts with Clinton, who he hopes to portray as an old-hat conventional politician whose varied positions on the Iraq war reflect calculation rather than leadership.

The desperation of the Obama campaign became apparent as immediately pre-debate and immediately post-debate South Carolina polls showed Hillary gaining on Obama in the Obama MUST WIN state of South Carolina.

Obama’s need to transcend conventional politics is evident by looking at the practical hurdles to his nomination. He boasts best-selling books and magazine cover spreads and — most relevant to his 2008 ambitions — is winning the fundraising race in both total dollars and with a record number of contributors.

But bundles of cash and good buzz have not eroded what most national polls show as a durable double-digit lead for Clinton, built largely around her nearly two-to-one advantage with Democratic women. [snip]

Obama strategists say for now they are not running a national campaign but are depending on what senior adviser David Axelrod calls “a sequential series” of victories.

This is why Obama is already on the air with television ads in Iowa and New Hampshire and so far is out-spending Clinton in every early state.

Here is the desperation in stark dollars and cents. Obama is now airing ads in South Carolina too.

The trend includes more than twice as much spending in Iowa ($1.6 million to Clinton’s $839,000) and nearly three times as much in South Carolina ($350,000 to $120,000) in the first half of this year.

The South Carolina Democratic primary electorate is usually more than half African-American, and Obama advisers predict these voters will back one of their own to give him an essential victory a week before Super Tuesday.

History suggests the hazards of this momentum-based approach. Nearly every Democratic nominating contest for the past 40 years has featured some variation on the same script: reform candidates trying to use grass-roots energy and media momentum to beat rivals with more traditional profiles and, usually, more support from the party establishment. [snip]

As we noted, Obama overreached in his panic after flopping in the South Carolina debate and abandoned his studied cool to cross the line in a frenzied “draw blood” hunger after months of denying his hostility. The cheers from his dispirited supporters urging their dog to bark added to the frenzied Obama response.

Obama’s goal is to draw contrasts with Clinton without drawing blood. “There is a difference between contrasting and attacking,” Belcher said. Obama is relying on his oratory to portray himself as the aspirational candidate — “we’re more interested in looking forward, not in looking backward,” [snip]

Belcher flatly predicts: “We are going to outright win South Carolina.”

Democrats debated in the Palmetto State Monday night. A July CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll finds Clinton leading with 39 percent and Obama at 25 percent. Other polling in June showed Obama leading.

Again, Obama is trying everything and yet nothing is working. South Carolina is slipping away no matter how much time, effort, surrogates or money he sends to South Carolina. [Hint: They’re Just Not That Into You.]

Again, Obama wanted to start his advertising much later in the year but because of his series of debate flops he had to move up the timetable. Obama is now advertising in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina as well as on as many websites as possible.

Obama’s greatest challenge in winning South Carolina is wooing black women, who are swaying between him and Clinton. “When you talk about the broken politics of Washington, the people who are most affected by it are single women, working moms,” Axelrod said.

Obama’s wife, Michelle, has already visited South Carolina several times. The campaign sees her as a key means to reach black women. By late summer or early autumn, Wade said the Obama campaign will be advertising in South Carolina, as well.

But Obama’s campaign staff is aware that if they do not appear to contest the earlier electoral challenges, from Nevada to New Hampshire, they may lack the momentum to win South Carolina.

Faced with rescheduled Florida primary, now on the same date as the South Carolina primary, Obama’s desperation has increased. He has lost Florida. South Carolina looms as an even more necessary state to win as before the debate. But South Carolina too is slipping, or has slipped away.

Obama is throwing everything he has into his flagging campaign. But Americans do not want Bush type inexperience and jaw jutting arrogance.

[Note: Hillary is now less than 800 people short of her Million Supporters goal]


Barack Obama Flops, Then Flips – Part II

It’s Christmas in July. We’ll bring the presents. Part III of the continuing story of Obama’s Flop and flipping out coming real soon – if we can keep pace with the exponential rate of the Obama collapse.

For Obama, like his mentor Joe Lieberman, attacking fellow Democrats who have been on the front lines fighting for progressive values – for decades – comes easy. When it comes to Ripublicans, Obama loves to “reach across the aisle.” Today’s fast moving events require a further recap. Let’s do it via video.

Here is Obama, with his “new politics” straight from the Chicago fields of mud:

Hillary, taking a few moments from her fight with the Bush Pentagon, reminded Obama of his now clearly failed claim to be “new politics”. Unlike Obama, ranting, Hillary remains rational.

SEN. CLINTON: “Well, this is getting kind of silly. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but I’ve never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney, certainly. We have to ask, what’s ever happened to the politics of hope?

“I have been saying consistently for a number of years now, we have to end the Bush era of ignoring problems, ignoring enemies and adversaries. And I have been absolutely clear that we’ve got to return to robust and effective diplomacy. But I don’t want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing into meetings with the likes of Chavez and Castro and Ahmadinejad.”

Here at Big Pink we are not surprised by Obama’s Chicago Mud Politics.

Here is THE question and the replies by Obama, then Hillary, then Edwards:


Barack Obama Flops, Then Flips – Part I

Barack Obama is flipping out. He flopped in the South Carolina debate. He flopped in the new South Carolina poll. Instead of taking his losses on the chin, Obama is sticking his chin out and insisting he is right.

Is this any way to run a campaign?

Let’s recap.

Obama was asked this question at the South Carolina debate:

In 1982, Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?

The components to the question were 1) meet separately; 2) without precondition; 3) during the first year; 4) In Washington or anywhere else; 5) with leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea. Obama answered the question with “I would.”

John Edwards, sensibly following Hillary’s lead answered the question by saying: “Yes, and I think actually Senator Clinton’s right though. Before that meeting takes place, we need to do the work, the diplomacy, to make sure that that meeting’s not going to be used for propaganda purposes, will not be used to just beat down the United States of America in the world community.”

In an interview with right wing journalist Byron York immediately after the debate, Joe Biden also agreed with our Hillary:

Afterward, other candidates echoed Clinton’s criticism. Sen. Joseph Biden, who has emerged as the clear-eyed antiwar realist in the Democratic race, told National Review Online that the idea of a president meeting with Ahmadinejad, Chavez, and others was “naïve.” “World leaders should not meet with other world leaders unless they know what the agenda is, so you don’t end up being used,” Biden said. “When I went to meet with Milosevic before the war, the condition I met with him was that no press would be available, I’d only meet him in his office late at night, and I wouldn’t dignify being seen with him.”

Instead of exhibiting good judgment and common sense by retreating from his position, Obama has dug in his heels. With a Bush-like defiant posture, Obama continues, contrary to all evidence, to insist he is right. The flop has him flipped.

What is the current Obama campaign defense for his flop debate answer? It is odd. It is unhinged. It is detached from reality. But make no mistake, it is the party line defense because Obama himself has prattled it. Here it is:

“Look, one thing I’m very confident about is my judgment in foreign policy is, I believe, better than anyone else in this race, Republican or Democrat. “And I don’t base that simply on the fact that I was right on the war in Iraq. But if you look at how I approached the problem. What I was drawing on was a set of experiences that come from a life of living overseas, having family overseas, being able to see the world through the eyes of people outside our borders.”

Just how flipped out is the above response? Obama seriously thinks that because he lived in Indonesia when he was 6 years old (he was there until he was 10) somehow makes him presidential timber? Because he has family overseas he is presidential timber? That agreeing, without preconditions, to meet with dubious (to say the least) world leaders demonstrates quality judgment? Maybe Obama thinks Hawaii, where he lived as a young man, is a foreign country. How else to explain living overseas as a pre-teen signals a future claim to occupancy of the Oval office?

[So ridiculous are the claims of superior judgment in foreign policy by Obama that they actually managed to breathe some life into the corpse which is the McCain campaign: McCain took exception to remarks in which Obama asserted his foreign policy judgment was superior to any of the candidates in the race, Republican or Democrat, partly because he has lived overseas and had a multicultural upbringing. “Well, I also think I’m the most qualified to run the decathlon because I watch sports on television all the time,” the Arizona senator said with sarcasm between stops in this leadoff primary state.]

But there is another aspect of the Obama narrative that is so untethered to reality it is laughable:

Asked about his foreign policy credentials on ABC News’ “Good Morning America” in January, Obama said his “experience in foreign policy is probably more diverse than most others in the field. I mean, I’m somebody who has actually lived overseas, somebody who has studied overseas. You know, I majored in international relations.”

Well, that certainly makes us feel at ease. He took classes in “international relations.” That’s the ticket to the Oval office. Next Obama will be saying he was a cheerleader at his school too.

The Obama strategy then is to somehow sell to Americans as a compelling narrative, his “experience” as a 6 year old living overseas, family members overseas, and his classroom studies as qualifications for election to the presidency. Never has so little been used to fool so many for so much – the Presidency.

For the time being, Obama has decided to bark as his supporters demand. Is there a historical precedent for such delusion at such a high level? Let’s go back in time to a long ago debate and a years later talk about another big debate blunder:

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: … There’s no question I did not adequately explain what I was thinking. I felt very strongly, and I, of course, do so today, that regardless of the number of Soviet armored divisions in Poland, the Russians would never dominate the Polish spirit. That’s what I should have said. I simply left out the fact that at that time in 1976, the Russians had about 10 to 15 divisions in Poland. [snip]

JIM LEHRER: Let’s go back at the time you said that. I’m sure you’ve replayed this in your mind a million times. I don’t have to remind you what happened. You gave that answer, and then there was a follow-up, and you repeated it, so my question is did you have any idea that you had said something wrong?

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: Not at the time. Not at the time, [snip] So at the time, I did not feel that I had made an error. In retrospect, obviously, the inclusion of a sentence or maybe a phrase would have made all the difference in the world.

JIM LEHRER: When did you realize that you had made a mistake, or at least or do you honestly believe you made a mistake, now, sitting here now?

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: Well, I can see that I made a mistake in not adequately explaining what I had in mind. [snip] So when I finished the debate, I felt very comfortable. But the press focused in on that one exchange, and I happen to think that most of the press distorted the facts, and overly emphasized something that was not the most substantive issue in the whole debate.

JIM LEHRER: Do you happen to remember that just as the debate was over, when you first talked to your aides, your family, or whatever, did anybody say to you, Mr. President you made a mistake, you did bad on this one statement.

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: The first comments by my staff were that we had done very, very well overall. But then when the press, in their own analysis —

JIM LEHRER: Immediately, you mean right after the debate.

PRESIDENT GERALD FORD: The press that were making the post debate analysis focused in on that, and made very adverse comments about my comment. Well, when that press reaction became the dominant one, of course, the whole feeling that I had won this debate overall changed quite dramatically.

Gerald Ford did not learn his lesson in time and lost the election because he stuck to a ridiculous position stated at a debate. Obama has not learned his lesson and insists on sticking to a ridiculous position he stated at a debate.

Why is Obama self-destructing this way? We will examine that question later today as we continue to explore the flop that flipped.


Hillary Clinton Vs. The Mudville Rookie

Update II:  New York Daily News on the big Obama blunder and its political impact in states like Florida.  We wrote earlier about the political impact in the Florida Cuban community.  The Daily News describes the Obama blunder (taking on both Hillary and Edwards) and its impact on the Jewish American community – which impacts a whole lot of other states, not just Florida.  As Senator Dianne Feinstein endorses Hillary today we say Good Job Team Hillary – – Keep On Digging Axelrod/Obama/Plouffe: 

Political observers said they expected Clinton to waste no time using Obama’s comment to shore up her standing among key voter blocs, such as Cuban-Americans in bellwether Florida and Jewish voters who may find the idea of a sitdown with the Holocaust-denying president of Iran disturbing.

Team Clinton plans “to use these issues in outreach in the states [and nationally] with Jewish leadership and Jewish grass-roots voters,” a Democratic operative familiar with the Clinton campaign told the Daily News.


Update: New York Daily News:  Hillary Clinton has a more sophisticated and tougher perspective than Barack Obama does when it comes to the exercise of presidential power on the global stage. Obama was downright naive in promising that in his first year in office he would meet personally with antagonists like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il and Hugo Chavez. And Clinton was spot on in ruling out talks unless they had a goal, saying, “I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes.”


An important rule in life generally and in politics particularly is – When You Are In A Hole, Stop Digging. Barack Obama (D-Rezko) made a major blunder at the South Carolina debate Monday night. Instead of moving on, Obama called in the Chicago Shovelers.

Last night on Countdown:

Keith Olbermann: You wrote though that after last night there is little doubt that Senator Clinton is the best debater. Did Obama hurt himself last night on that critical issue that seems to be focusing around him about seasoning and experience in internationalism?

Chris Cilizza: Right. I’ve said before and I think the most important thing is that none of these events matter in a specific. They matter in the larger narrative. The larger narrative, the negative narrative around Barack Obama, is he’s not experienced enough. I think he jumped at that question. He was happy to be the first person to answer. He got out there and whacked the Bush Administration as you heard in that clip you played. It drew some applause.

Well, then came Hillary Clinton, sort of the closer to say ‘Look, I understand why you would feel that way but we need to be smart about this. We need to be principled. We need to be pragmatic.‘ So I think Obama sort of got caught off guard. I think he saw an opportunity. He jumped for it. He may have overstepped himself just a little and Clinton used that. Again, she is a very good debater; used that to paint this as experience versus inexperience. And that’s the best dynamic if she wants to win the primary.

Recall, as Politico points out, that it was the Obama campaign that issued a press release, attacking Hillary, first. The Obama press release sought to rewrite the events at the debate and instead dug itself a bigger hole. The Hillary campaign then responded to the Obama rewrite of history. Hillary at the debate was very clear in her respect for diplomacy. But Hillary has sufficient experience to know how to avoid potential traps for the American people.

I will promise a very vigorous diplomatic effort because I think it is not that you promise a meeting at that high a level before you know what the intentions are.

I don’t want to be used for propaganda purposes. I don’t want to make a situation even worse. But I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration.

And I will purse very vigorous diplomacy.

And I will use a lot of high-level presidential envoys to test the waters, to feel the way. But certainly, we’re not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and, you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria until we know better what the way forward would be.

John Edwards, to his credit, agreed with Hillary. “I would not not commit myself on the front end” to such meetings, he said. At the debate Edwards said:

Yes, and I think actually Senator Clinton’s right though. Before that meeting takes place, we need to do the work, the diplomacy, to make sure that that meeting’s not going to be used for propaganda purposes, will not be used to just beat down the United States of America in the world community.

What are the immediate political implications for this political campaign?

We noted that the Miami Herald published an article about these issues.

Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and John Edwards suggested Monday that they would meet with two leaders who top South Florida’s most-hated list: Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

During a nationally televised debate, Obama responded to a hypothetical question: “Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?”

[The article does seem to misrepresent the Edwards position on Obama type unconditional meetings within a year. Both Edwards and Obama do support the embargo against Cuba.]

Here is the political hole Obama and his Chicago crew have gotten into, as detailed in the liberal magazine The Nation (David Corn wrote the article).

I can see the ad now: Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro, Bashar al-Assad, and Hugo Chavez all strolling into the White House, and a grinning Barack Obama greeting them with a friendly “Welcome, boys; what do you want to talk about?”

If Obama gets close to the Democratic presidential nomination, pro-Hillary Clinton forces could air such an ad. If he wins the nomination, the Republicans could hammer him with such a spot.

And the junior senator from Illinois will not have much of a defense.

Writer David Corn prints the text of the question and Obama’s response. Then this:

The crowd responded with applause. His answer seemed fine. It was only moments later that the problem became obvious. Sorta,[the questioner] who was also in the audience, put the same question to Senator Hillary Clinton.

Corn then prints Hillary’s and Edwards’ answer to the question Obama fumbled. Then this:

Obama had suggested he would sit down with these leaders willy-nilly, no preconditions. Clinton and Edwards explained that that they would use diplomacy to try to improve relations with these nations and that such an effort could lead to a one-on-one with these heads of state.

Obama had responded from the gut, working off a correct critique of the Bush administration’s skeptical approach toward diplomacy. But his answer lacked the sophistication of Clinton’s and Edwards’ replies. And this moment illustrated perhaps the top peril for the Obama campaign: with this post-9/11 presidential contest, to a large degree, a question of who should be the next commander in chief, any misstep related to foreign policy is a big deal for a candidate who has little experience in national security matters.

Clinton, with her years as First Lady and her stint as a member of the Senate armed services committee, and Edwards, with his tenure on the Senate intelligence committee, are steeped in the nuances, language, and minefields of foreign policy. (Among the second-tier candidates, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Chris Dodd, and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson can boast extensive national security experience.) Though Obama was against the Iraq war before he was a senator, he has not developed his foreign policy chops. That’s understandable; he’s only been on the national scene for two years. (Prior to that, he was doing admirable work as a state legislator, a civil rights attorney, and a community organizer.) So he is more prone to commit mistakes in this area–perhaps stupid mistakes–that can be easily exploited by his opponents. And in the post-9/11 era, there’s not much room in national politics for such errors.

A Florida victory by Democrats in 2008 would clinch the election. Florida is also a key early primary state.

Obama, the Rookie just made his job a whole lot harder by digging a hole for himself a lot deeper.

[Latest Floida polls show Hillary ahead with 36% of the vote to Obama at 14%, Gore at 14% and Edwards at 9%.]


Barack Obama’s Blunder

Update:  Miam Herald in Florida is reporting Obama’s remarks.  Cubans there might be influenced by this since they hate Castro.   The story quotes Jeffrey Toobin of CNN, “Obama looked inexperienced and naive. . .It was a very big win for (Clinton) on that question.”


The Obama campaign is trying slander to cover up his blunder.

Our Hillary has responded, “I thought that was irresponsible and frankly naive,”

Here’s the background:

In separate interviews with the Quad-City Times today, Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tangled over Obama’s statement at the YouTube debate Monday that he would be willing to meet in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of countries antagonistic to the United States.

Clinton called Obama’s comments “irresponsible” and “naive.”

Obama countered by accusing the Clinton campaign of hatching a “fabricated controversy” and suggested that her position put her on the same track as the Bush administration.

The fact is Obama agreed to these types of meetings “without precondition”. Hillary knew that was irresponsible and at least naive if not dangerously incompetent.

The controversy springs from a question at the YouTube debate asking whether Obama would be willing to meet, without precondition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

The Hillary campaign responds:

Her campaign later circulated a memo to reporters saying it was a “mistake” to commit to presidential-level meetings without precondition “with some of the world’s worst dictators” and portrayed her remarks as showing her depth of experience.

Obama launched his desperate attempt to run away from his blunder of last night very early this morning:

Obama’s campaign, early in the day, circulated a memo saying that Clinton’s YouTube position is actually a reversal from what she said in April, when, according to the Associated Press, she said it would be a “terrible mistake for our president to say he will not talk with bad people.”

Obama is siding with right wing egg lover Drudgereport. Politico agrees with Hillary:

Taegan Goddard calls it a “flip-flop,” and Drudge suggests the same, of Hillary’s attacking (and she went at him hard in the Quad City Times) Obama as “naive” for apparently promising he’d meet dictators when she said she would “begin diplomatic discussions” with the same countries.

I don’t get the criticism. The question seemed to be about a personal meeting with the President — you can see it above. That’s how Clinton, Edwards, and most of the people I talked to seemed to take it. Obama’s staff says he took it differently.

But the flip-flop claim equates “diplomatic discussions” with a face-to-face meeting, which doesn’t make any sense.

TPM (maintaining neutrality) also sides with Hillary:

The story of the day in Democratic politics is the skirmishing that’s going on between the Hillary and Obama campaigns right now over the meaning of Obama’s claim last night that he’d meet with leaders of rogue nations like Iran or North Korea.

Amid the battle, MSM assignment editor Matt Drudge is instructing the big news orgs to report that Hillary has been caught in a massive, glaring flip-flop:

This wouldn’t be a big deal if the big news orgs weren’t already picking up on this meme.

Tim Russert, for instance, grilled Hillary spokesperson Howard Wolfson over this alleged contradiction on MSNBC this morning. (It’s unclear whether Russert got this from Drudge or from the Obama campaign, which is also pushing the contradiction.)

But look, if you actually click through to the stories Drudge is directing people to, there’s just no contradiction here.

Last night, Obama said that during his first year as President he’d be willing to meet, without precondition, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

Hillary disagreed with Obama, saying that committing to such meetings could be used for propaganda purposes.

“Certainly, we’re not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez and you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria, until we know better what the way forward would be,” Hillary said last night.

This is supposed to be at odds with this story from April, in which Hillary said:

“I would begin diplomatic discussions with those countries with whom we have differences, to try to figure out what is the depth of those differences…I think it is a terrible mistake for our president to say he will not talk with bad people.”

But look, again, these aren’t contradictory. Hillary didn’t say last night that her point of disagreement with Obama was over whether to negotiate with leaders of rogue nations at all. Rather, her point was that while she’d favor diplomatic negotiations with such leaders, she wouldn’t commit beforehand to meeting with them in her first year, because such a commitment could be used for “propaganda purposes” by said leaders.

Look, whichever side you take here — and whether you approve or disapprove of the Hillary campaign’s use of this difference as a club to beat Obama with — it’s obvious that this alleged gotcha contradiction between what Hillary’s July and April comments just isn’t there.

Bottom line is that Obama agreed to meet in the first 12 months, without precondition, with leaders of countries that wish us ill. He abandoned all preparation and certainly the upper hand to our opponents if they sought a meeting. Dictators could say ‘you said you would meet with us without precondition’.

Hillary has experience and understands the traps that could be laid in these types of meetings. An American president’s visit or meeting could be valuable propaganda to a dictator.

Hillary knows what she is doing. Obama is running with slander from his blunder.

[By the way, as Kegs points out Hillary is a few thousand people away from her One Million Supporters goal. Let’s get this done for Hillary.]