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%.]


80 thoughts on “Hillary Clinton Vs. The Mudville Rookie

  1. New Ras. FL poll before debate

    Hillary 43,
    Obama 15
    Edwards 13

    Keep digging, Obama. You’re losing Cuban Americans and Jewish by promisng one-on-one dinner party with Cuban and Iranian dictators. LOL.

  2. Obama and Edwards: Duking it out for the Bestest Also-Ran of 2008. They’re wasting their time and money. On the other hand, I think it makes Hillary a more formidable candidate for the general election that she gets this practice in the primaries.

  3. This example highlights the fundamental problem with the Obama candidacy. Inexperience. Yes, it is bad when Bush goes down a dark alley, guns blazing, shooting at anything that moves. But it is no better when Obama goes down that same alley, and expects the bad guys to throw out their guns, and talk about how we can get along. If you want to know how dicators think, consider the response of Stalin when he was asked whether he would comply with something the pope said: how many divisions does the pope have? Hillary understands the real world, Obama does not, and before you can change the world for the better you must first understand it.

  4. Daily kos is giving pretty decent coverage to some wing nut’s veiled threat against Hillary’s life on Bill O’Reilly’s web site.

  5. daily Ras. Tracking:

    Hillary 40
    Obama 23

    Two days out of the past three, Hillary’s lead is widening to 17-18 points, we’ll see whether it’s a trend.

  6. Now Madeline Albright has responded:

    In a conference call with reporters, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright questioned the value of such presidential-level meetings without the kind of advance diplomatic work emphasized by Clinton during the debate. ‘I would think that without having done the diplomatic spadework, it would not really prove anything,” said Albright.

    The source is below..

  7. Kostner: I’ve been engaged in an argument for the last 20 minutes with a Kossack who contends that once the people really know who Hillary is, they will reject her. As far as I can tell, the more the people learn of Hillary, the larger her spread becomes.

  8. DCDemocrat, Is this an online argument? BTW, I’m curious who this person thinks the “real Hillary” is, lol.

  9. DCDEM, that is such a typical non-sensical argument from Daily Ras. What a crock, like you said, her numbers go up as people get to know her. The reason? What people that don’t like her go on are third party one-liners about her, which are totally unfounded. Glad you are in the trenches today, working for our cause.

  10. Hi, Paula:

    Go over to dKos and search, “DCDemocrat.” The thread begins with my current comment 13, “I reject this analysis.” (I may comment a little more soon, but right now, it’s comment 13.

    Kitforhill, I am feeling pretty confident that the more people get know Hillary as Hillary, the more they are liking her.

  11. i noticed on rasmussen too about the poll trends. it seems right now between 12 to 17 point leads for hillary there. tracking polls are funny like that.

  12. Obama keeps digging the hole, talkingpointsmemo reports:

    skirmishing among the Dem candidates continues today, with Barack Obama telling a private gathering in New York last night the following:

    “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.”

    Full transcript:

    “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.

    “The notion that somehow from Washington you get this vast foreign policy experience is illusory.”

    Commets from mydd.
    It’s astonishing to hear Obama’s outsider crusade on foreign policy area. He seems to dismiss all foreign policy experts as some sort of Washington insiders. I’m wondering whether he’ll immediately replace these professional diplomats with buddies ‘who ‘living overseas, having family overseas, being able to see the world through the eyes of people outside our borders.’

  13. Terrondt: The website is up and running. We love the echo of Hillary Is 44 on HillaryHub. The headline is “Pretty Formidable In Pink”.

  14. To Kostner, from Staff:

    Obama is in real trouble with this one. He appears deranged when he claims he is more qualified. Also, if Obama discredits the foreign policy establishment, who will he use as surrogates to vouch for him in this long campaign? His campaign and he are simply not thinking ahead. They are making this up as they go along, without a strategy. This lack of preparation and advance strategy is what leads to all these blunders. These blunders are very Bush-like.

    It also appears that Obama knows his campaign is in deep trouble. Obama is now running ads in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. His South Carolina ads explicitly state he is a “christian” man. The internal polling must be showing that people do not believe he is a christian. If that is the case he will need a lot more money than he has now simply to communicate his biography.

    How much money Obama will now have to spend to explain himself in Florida regarding meetings with Castro is something to keep an eye on. Hillary has more cash on hand and is not advertising. With all the ‘splaining Obama has ahead of him, Hillary will have an even bigger cash advantage to add to all her other advantages.

  15. i agree admin, hillary is smart to hold on to her money as long as possible. let obama keep spending. hillary is getting plenty of positive free media in the news and debates. not one ad has been run by hillary if im not mistaken. GO HILLARY!!!

  16. I have a question: Does it makes sense to run ads this early anyway? Wouldn’t you think their effect would be limited this far out?

  17. It makes no sense for Hillary to run early ads. She has almost 100% name recognition. People know what she’s done. She just needs debate after debate to reinforce those positive image and alleviate doubters’ mind.

  18. Only newbies such as Romney, Obama and Edwards need those early ads.

    It certainly worked for Dean and Romney, but both candidates had/have a weak field with no standout.

    I doubt Obama’s ads on his past voter registration work will make him more ‘presidential’.

  19. Kostner: When I saw Obama on the debate the other night, I thought he looked troubled. I wondered if he perceived his attempt to be on the rocky shoals.

  20. DCDemocrat,

    Can you diary that talkingpointsmemo article on Obama’s recent ‘digging the hole’ action? My account is not not activated there. That diary has certainly caused a firestorm on myDD. LOL.

    We need to stir up debate even some posters are frantic Obama fans. We also need to cite Edwards’ supporting words(he supported Hillary on that issue) to muzzle those Edwards fans on dailykos. They certainly want a good show between Obama and Clinton even if their extreme ideology wants them to meet any dictator at their request.

  21. Important update posted by Staff on the impact of Obama’s Blunder on the Jewish American community.

    Obama is lined up against Hillary and Edwards and the Cuban and Jewish American communities. Like Bush he is turning into a perverse “Uniter” due to his blunders and incompetence. Obama already has the Southeast Asian community against him, the Albanians are angry at him, wait until expat Syrians and Iranians digest what he said at the debate. He’s a Uniter! We’re all against him.

  22. admin,

    You’re absolute right. I made a point that Obama’s foot-in-mouth disease will cause him FL and all Jewish voters.

  23. Hi, Kostner: I wrote the diary and published it at daily kos. I tried to keep the tone soft, because I think it will be a sensitive discussion, and I hope it won’t end in some mortal combat with Obama supporters. It’s up now.

  24. DCDemocrat,

    I saw it. LOL. I’m sure it will cause firestorm, but that’s good. The more those nuts dwell on this issue, the better.

    when my account gets activated, I’ll distinguish from you and keep a very sharp tongue. LOL.

    Do you know if they can troll rate me and auto-ban my account even if I only put out diary and do not comment at all?

  25. those jerks on mydd erased my comment about my cat jasper has more foriegn policy experience than obama. LOL

  26. Hi, Kostner: They cannot troll rate you if you do not comment. But there should be no reason to troll rate you as a Hillary supporter. Personally, I like playing with them. I like saying inflammatory things with the appearance that I am innocent.

    In any event, they’re really angry now. Kind of like a swarm of wasps buzzing about.

  27. in the internals clinton is leading obama among black voters in the new south carolina polls. GO HILLARY GO!!!!

  28. Just in from MSNBc, a bi-partisan group has been
    quickly formed to promote foreign relations and
    development. Ms Albright is a key member of the
    group. Hillary has really stirred the pot.

    Also, Obama took another shot Hillary on the vote.
    He doesn’t realize the vote is old news. What are
    you doing to end it is making news. Challenging
    Bush and the Pentagon has moved her out front.

  29. Good for you DCDem. I just saw a sad Edwards diary on the old “How he’s better for woman and here’s why”, also several posters on gay issues are really taking him to task for his “struggle” about gay right. It’s an Edwards love-fest and bash Hillary fest at its finest. I swear the Edwards folks don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Kostner – I am looking forward to you sharp tongue, I think we need that. Hill supporters are a little too reserved there.

  30. the obama supporters are getting worse and worse on mydd. they are accusing the clinton camp of spreading a bad flier about obama in south carolina without a shredd of evidence. they are pathetic.

  31. Hi, Kitforhill: When Hillary wins the nomination, we’re going to have to have some credibility to rally the troops. We’ve got to be like Hillary: in it for the long haul.

    Kostner: Even with my mild diary, I sure stirred them up.

  32. To DCDemocrat and other Hillary fans,

    I saw DC’s diary, it’s good. Our strategy at the moment is to call attention to Obama’s blunder. It does not matter what his supporters will say. The more people pay attention to this issue, the better. Just one tactical thing I forgot to remind you, you should add Edwards’ comment which echoed Hillary’s position. In doing that, you can muzzle lots of Edwards’ supporters on that site.

    BTW, Obama keeps on digging, he looked so angry in the lastest NBC interview. This is the first time I saw him so mad. I hope we can get the video soon.

    To other fans,
    Can somebody diary the lastest SC poll on dailykos. I saw one diary bured deep. When you diary a poll, the headline is extremely important. Remember to flash headlines like Hillary 43%, Obama 28%, this gives them a psychological shock. That poll diary was buried because the headline did not stand out. When you guys diary this poll, please add the trendline. Somebody on mydd mentioned the last Inside poll in May showed Hillary only led by 4 points, so lots of momentum for Hillary.

    Another great day.

  33. Hi, Kostner: I added the following text to the end of my first paragraph, “John Edwards, of course, immediately saw the wisdom in what Hillary had said and ascribed to her position.”

  34. BTW,

    I just checked mydd. Obama is under heavy artillery from Edwards’ supporters on some healthcare thing(I didn’t have hte patience to read the diary). Lots of traffic on that diary. Looks like Edwards and Hillary supporters are forming a temporary alliance there.

    He he.

  35. Here’s what Edwards said in NYT interview, actually it was pretty strong language…

    Rival John Edwards, who campaigned in South Carolina on Tuesday, echoed Clinton’s comments in the debate. ”I would not commit myself on the front end openly to meet with (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Il, (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez,” Edwards told reporters in McClellanville, S.C. ”I think there’s a real potential that would be used as a propaganda tool.”

  36. Kostner: The quote was, “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.”

  37. I looked at the trendline of that Inside poll, it’s terrible news for Obama.

    The same Inside poll trendline.

    In May,

    Obama 31
    Clinton 27
    Edwards 16

    Clinton 43
    Obama 28
    Edwards 13

  38. Somebody picks up this tidbit, it’s pretty funny, i hope people will call him out in the future.

    Re: Breaking: Obama keeps digging (none / 0)

    I can’t believe Obama cites his overseas experience. He lived overseas once, from ages 6 to 10.

    by hwc on Wed Jul 25, 2007 at 05:41:40 PM EST

  39. Kostner – Even a mild diary gets quite a hot response on Kos. We need DCDems light touch, but also others with some edge too. A balance is good. Some heat is a good thing. It shows Passion, and we need to show that. Especially with those Edwards fans, who aren’t real bright.

  40. The CNN just flashed five dictators’ photos and talked about Obama’s naivity.

    Another bad Obama news on his website in CA. LOL. Sweet.

  41. Did you see the CNN coverage ? It’s terrible news for Obama. They flashed five dictators’ photos across the screen, then invited foreign policy experts to ‘teach’ the audience the difference of engagement/doing ground workd and ‘get out of gate to meet these dictators.’.

    Sweet. I love the last endorsement

  42. Can’t stand Obama anymore! Does anyone want to scream when you hear the oft repeated “I did not vote for war and she did” – I mean is this a reason why he should be elected President?

  43. secretpolitics: I did not support the war! Vote for me! Indeed, I too have a career in community organizing and have lived abroad. DCDemocrat for president!

  44. secret,

    Calm down, people are tired of rehashing that rhetoric. When Dean was running, as an admant Dean fan, I was cheerleading while he blasted every democrat every time. It made his fans happy, that it really sunk him.

    Obama is doing exactly the same thing, he will only hardon Hillary’s support, drive up his own negativity, make him look ‘hopeless’ instead of ‘hopeful’. In one word, he’s doing everything to destroy himself.

    As Hillary fans, we need to stay calm, I certainly hope camp. Hillary will not continue to engage him on this issue. It looks like the media is setting a trap for Obama. Sweet.

    Watch out for the next couple of polls. If we see more bad news for Obama, watch out for him going nuclear.

    Edwards may end up being No. 2. LOL.

  45. Hey, guys, go to HillaryHub and see the story at the top about how Obama is modeling his “insurgent” campaign after Reagan’s, lol.

  46. DCDemocrat will be a better President anyday than Obama!!

    kostner – that is very reassuring! Yes, will stay calm to watch the fall of Obama!!

    Go Hillary Go!!!!

  47. How many of you saw Obama’s NBC interview? kostner mentions it, and there’s a post on it at talkingpointsmemo.com saying he escalated the war of words.

  48. Paula,

    There’s a video clip on NBC site. I generally trust my instinct. I don’t see Obama doing any favor to himself in that clip. He looked upset, the body language was telling.

    The CNN clip in Situation room was even better. Five dictators’ photo flashed across the screen. …

  49. Ruh-Roh !

    * Obama knows he really stepped in it BIG TIME (as Uncle Dick would say). He gave an “EXCLUSIVE interview” to Andrea Mitchell that aired on ‘NBC Nightly News’ tonight, with the obvious intent to try and pivot the news cycle meme around to Senator Clinton’s vote on Iraq:

    “What is irresponsible and naive is to have authorized a war without asking how we were going to get out. And I think Senator Clinton still hasn’t fully answered that issue.”

    Except when asked in 2004 about how he would have voted on the Iraq war, Obama said:

    “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know.”

    HARDLY the ‘I was against the war all along’ position he now espouses, eh ?

    * Then he went back to try and rescue his diplomacy shtick:

    “If we are laying out preconditions that prevents us from speaking frankly to these folks, then we’re continuing the Bush/Cheney policies, and I’m not interested in continuing them.”

    Eh, earth to Obama. Senator Clinton never said she wouldn’t have her administration pursue diplomatic relations (unlike Junior and Uncle Dick), she said she wouldn’t meet with them face to face, which after all WAS the original question.

  50. Re: CNN and the pictures of the dictators. I am thrilled to hear that the MSM may be finally coming off its “Obama High.” I wish I could have seen that broadcast.

    Having a spark of hope, I went over to the CNN website just now to see if I could catch it’s criticism of BO somewhere. Fat chance! The Political Ticker mischaracterizes both the question and answer by leaving out “Cuba” and “meeting personally” and “without preconditions,” making the blunder seem small or inconsequential. Old infatuations die hard, I guess.

    Anyhow, IMO this was a big blunder because it plays right into peoples’ doubts about him which is his lack of experience. Bob Schieffer, who I consider a quasi-Republican, said this morning on the CBS Early Show, “it is Christmas in July for the Clinton campaign.”

  51. Now if Obama is nominated – it is nothing but handing over the Presidency to a Republican candidate! After making such a gaffe and blunder. The nerve for CNN to play that down – trust them to do that!!

    Well as many said – Obama may welcome all the dictators into white house and grin widely and say “welcome boys – what do you want to talk about?” – if that is the poster do you think there is any chance of a democratic victory? None whatsoever!!!

    I just couldn’t stand that NBC interview. So, in future any gaffe he makes he can say “oh well…I got it right in 2002 so, it is okay if I mess up now” Again as DCdemocrat said – his opinion was inconsequential. Well, he wasn’t in the senate – so, who cares what his opinion was – what makes people think he would have voted against the war had he been in senate?

    Well – keep the focus on the current blunder he has made – don’t jump back to the war vote!!!

  52. I don’t believe rehashing the war vote will do him any favor. On the contrary, it will only drive up his negativity. Bowers, a staunch an-war blogger, is already tired of hearing that rhetoric. I hope he keeps digging. It will only throw him off message.

    The beauty is that Obama may get into a tug of war with many many people, Romeny, McCain, Edwards etc. This thing takes time, but I firmly believe if he switches into confrontational mode, his entire candidacy will just collapse, and his negativity will shoot off the roof.

    To be hones,the only thing I’ve been worred about for the past few months is his low negativity #s. To drive up these #s takes long time except you have a ‘Dean’ moment. I certainly hope summer time will build up his negativity # by at least 10 points.

    The recent Rass. FL poll is very encouraging. He has the highest negative # in that state, above 30s. Both Hillary and Edwards are only at 10-20s.

  53. Speaking of CNN, Lou Dobbs was had a short piece on this. He did not knock Obama per se but expressed real admiration for the way Senator Clinton handled this issue in the debate. He said in effect that it puts the lie to this triangulation nonsense, and bodes well for the primary. If this is of interest, someone should get the transcript and see his exact words. The one thing it will not show is the tone in his voice which was very positive, and seen I am sure by millions of people. So even if the higher ups at CNN try to paper this thing over, they cannot unring the bell, and neither for that matter can Senator Obama.

  54. Obama now has set himself as a genius. He is quoted
    by abcnews “Obama Decries Washington Foreign Policy Experience as ‘Illusory.’ He is the smartest expert
    around! sic. Amazing.

  55. Chris Mathews of course always looking for a chance to slam Hillary pivoted the whole thing to Obama’s favor with – “So how irresponsible is it to vote for the war”? He’s gunning for Edwards too, after watching his interview i.e. lovefest with the Breck girl last week. This is really interesting to watch. It would be nice to see Obama lose a few points over the summer. Kos was having another Edwards lovefest today, but I notice it’s been thinning out. The enthusiasm for him is waning. And the Hillary bashing isn’t as bad as it was.

  56. I know some of you are Oprah fans but it really ticks me off when I see an artcile like this one! I hope that Oprah stays away and doesn’t actively pull for Obama’s candidacy! I used to like Oprah but started questioning her judgement soon after her endorsement of Obama.
    Am I right to be worried?


    July 26, 2007
    Can Oprah Deliver Her Fans to Obama?
    By Steven Stark

    Although the press covers them pantingly, endorsements often mean little — if anything — in presidential politics. The days when a public official could deliver a constituency have long since passed. Even labor unions, once rock-solid in their bloc-ability, have been unable lately to steer their members to a chosen candidate.

    Sure, endorsers may help a candidate’s fundraising efforts by granting access to their Rolodexes. And the support of a mayor can usually get a few senior citizens to the polls on Election Day. But that’s about it.

    Unless, of course, the endorser in question is Oprah Winfrey. If anyone is an exception to all the rules, it’s Oprah.

    From her still-popular TV talk show, to O magazine, to her book-club endorsements that regularly lift titles — any titles — to the lofty top slot, Oprah’s influence on American culture is enormous. One leading television historian has called Oprah “the most celebrated and powerful black woman in US history.” (Okay, it was me.) Life magazine has labeled her “America’s most powerful woman.” Forbes magazine went one step further, calling her the most influential person in the world. None is exaggerating.

    In some polls, Oprah even ranks as the celebrity Americans believe to be most qualified to serve as president. Another recent survey from about.com ranked Oprah as the country’s favorite entrepreneur, with nearly double the votes of that ne’er-do-well Bill Gates. And a 2003 VH1 poll named her the country’s greatest pop-culture icon — beating out, for example, Superman and Elvis. It’s not just that everything she touches turns to gold; when Oprah speaks, America listens. When she tells them to buy something, they do.

    So it was big news this past week when Oprah reiterated her support for Barack Obama, whom she had previously called “her favorite guy.” She’ll host a fundraiser in September. And after that? How heavily she campaigns for him could well determine the course of the Democratic nomination.

    Obama’s better half

    Oprah’s endorsement of Obama isn’t only important for the sheer power attached to her name. With an overwhelmingly female audience — comprised especially of lower- to middle-class women — she’s the cultural leader of Hillary Clinton’s base. So far much of that demographic has seemed inclined to support Hillary; Oprah could help swing it the other way. Plus, she has tremendous appeal in the black community, which — though it’s still early — has only half-heartedly flocked to Obama’s camp. When, for example, it came time in 2005 for politicians and celebrities to deliver eulogies at Rosa Parks’s memorial service in Washington, DC, you can guess whose speech stole the show.

    It’s that cross-cultural appeal, and facility in any situation, that Obama will benefit from by having the country’s top leading lady on his side. Her gregarious nature, street sass (“Hey, girl!”), and TV ministry of empathy have allowed her to walk the narrow line between the races, and to put together a biracial coalition of the sort Obama wouldn’t mind electorally emulating.

    As such, she might be able to do for Obama what Elizabeth Edwards has been trying to do for her husband: provide a more accessible avenue for the candidate’s message, in a “non-political” forum (think: the Living section of newspapers), which candidates often crave.

    It was the Clintons, way back in 1992, who promised voters a two-for-one couple. But this is the first campaign where the idea has really taken off. It would be impossible, for instance, to imagine Hillary’s candidacy going very far without the considerable backing of her husband, in everything from fundraising to the reassurance he provides (to some) as a reliable figure in a Clinton White House redux. And it may actually be an understatement to say that Elizabeth Edwards has co-billing with her husband, given the considerable publicity she has generated this past month through campaign commercials, confrontations with Ann Coulter, attacks on Hillary, and a wonderful and well-deserved profile on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Which makes it all the more obvious that Obama, surrounded by political power couples, is essentially standing on his own. (His wife, Michelle, though an accomplished lawyer, isn’t a celebrity — nor should she be.)

    But if Oprah stays in the fray, she could help even things out on that front. No, she isn’t related to Obama, but that may give her endorsement more credibility, in the eyes of some. And she may be so large a cultural force that her occasional presence on the campaign scene could outweigh that of Bill or Elizabeth.

    The FCC “equal time” rule prevents Oprah from doing much for Obama on her television program. (In a related development, fans of Law and Order should be prepared to say goodbye to many of that show’s re-runs when Fred Thompson, a/k/a Arthur Branch, announces his candidacy, since that same ruling prevents re-airing shows that feature the soon-to-be candidate.) But that’s of little importance. Oprah is news whatever she says, wherever she says it. And if she keeps beating the drum for Obama, it could well spell trouble for the other Democrats.

  57. Let Obama waste his time and money talking about how Senator Clinton voted on the Iraq authorization. Folks have moved on.

    “Forty-one percent of voters think Clinton’s vote authorizing the Iraq war was a mistake, while 53 percent think it was not. But even those who see it as a mistake don’t feel overwhelmingly that she needs to apologize.”

    From the latest CBS/NYTIMES POLL:


  58. Secret,
    You really have a faint heart. Oprah? There’s zero evidence endorsement from entertainers have any impact on elections. If that were the case, Kerry would be sitting in the White House.

  59. A string with about 70 comments six months before the primaries. This place is going to be a mad house as the primaries get close.

  60. Today’s Rasmussen tracking poll:

    Tracking poll is very volatile, so take it with a grain of salt

    Hillary 41
    Obama 23
    Edwards 15

    This is the first time Hillary hit above 40 points in this poll. In three of the past four days, she led Obama by 17 to 18 points, the biggest gap ever.

  61. About half the polling occurred before the debate, and about half after the debate. We won’t have entirely post debate numbers for a couple of days. Even then, I think the naivete question is going to be death by a thousand cuts as Obama repeatedly makes mistakes that make his followers wonder whether he could carry off a general election campaign.

  62. Secretpolitics, although Oprah has undeniable clout on the entertainment front I really wonder if her endorsement would have any influence whatsoever on the election. She can’t regularly talk about Obama on her show because of FCC rules as pointed out in the article. While she would gain some attention for Obama from campaigning for him I personally don’t think the MSM would have regular coverage of her on the campaign trail unless she starts making some attention getting comments. If that happened it could start a debate on whether celebrities should inject themselve in politics and people might just be turned off by a highly visibility celebrity telling them how to vote. That might work with a book but I don’t think advertising from Oprah would “sell” a candidate in a similar way. Also, Oprahs not infallible. She has made mistakes in going gung ho for some things she thought were sure winners that just blew up in her face (the movie Beloved, the book A Million Little Pieces). She has sometimes gotten wrapped up in her enthusiasm without seeing important details.

    It would be easy for Hillary to point out her endorsement list (respected leaders, individuals and organizations with political clout) in contrast to Obama’s far less impressive list. She could also counter with her own celebrity endorsers. I also think Oprah’s involvement, with her strong connection to women, might possibly make Obama less appealing to men or independents who may already view him as too intellectual or too soft. I’m not convinced that lower or middle class women would pick a candidate simply because Oprah endorses him. They clearly haven’t picked Obama at this time. Polls are showing that they overwhelmingly support Hillary and in a solid way. Obama would have to give them some outstanding reason to switch and based on what he’s shown us so far that’s not likely to happen.

    I think the article is another of those “if the stars are right and people get to know him better and Obama does this he will shock everyone” articles that is found so frequently on the internet these days. They are all grasping at something that they think will magically turn around his campaign.

  63. AmericanGal, I’m with you. The Oprah endorsement is probably a net plus for Obama, but I doubt it’ll do much in the long run.

  64. An article just came out in Washington Post, comparing Obama to George W. Bush.


    Any words uttered by a president are consequential. President Bush, with his axis of idiocy, has shown how words can inflame and anger. That doesn’t mean the United States can’t be tough, or that Clinton has the answer. But in this spat, she wins. Obama would do well to better articulate his differences with Clinton. He’s going to need more precise weapons to win.

  65. Kostner: But he has articulated his differences: his is a new kind of politics. It’s obvious from his refrain after the Clinton criticism, “I know you are, but what am I?” Juvenile. Remember the great old Who lyric: “Meet the new boss; same as the old boss”?

  66. Good line DC – I think people were waiting to see what the empty suit really did stand for…but now he’s filling out the suit with his arrogance, and inexperience. I love that he’s being slapped from all sides on his latest blunder. I think before his supporters could attach any dream they wanted to to this guy, but now as he actually speaks the dreams are fading.

  67. It annoys the hell out of me as well. A part of me just wants to say to her: Back off!! She has never endorsed a candidate before in her life, why start now? She should know she has influence, and manage to stay neutral as much as possible.(ok, fine, stretch to endorsing democrats).

    I’m not sure yet if this will have much of an impact, I’m tempted to say that people will not be influenced by what a celebrity says, but sadly I don’t think thats the case.

    I have no doubt she will go far to support a black candidate, as much as I don’t like to write that sentence, I fear it’s true. If Obama wasn’t black, I doubt she would endorse him, am I way off on this one? (I wish).

  68. I agree with a poster above who says that the more people see Hillary, the more they will like her. There is a false image of her that has been fabricated by the right wing over the years. She will smash the stereotype and people will really be inspired by her. I think the opposite is happening with Obama. He was a blank slate, saying he will change the tone of politics and be positive and blah blah blah. Turns out he is a whiny brat who is going after Hillary and distorting things to look better (the $1 buttons counting as campaign contributions to bolster his numbers).

  69. Churchofreality,

    You are right! Hillary benefits from stereotype image of her. People who get to know her or see her – come out and say “hey – she isn’t as bad as I thought!”

    Where as Barack Obama – suffers from hype of hope and what not!
    Anyone who listens him says “Oh he is an empty head nothing but empty rhetoric with no substance whatsoever” What a turn off!!!

    Go Hillary Go!!!!

  70. kitforhill: Obama was the talented kid in the class who always struggled to be the best and could never tolerate being second best. This is a very primitive tape in his head. It’s hardwired into him. This has been played so brilliantly, I am convinced that Hillary hired a psychologist to make the assessment. In a way, I feel sorry for Obama. This stuff is so deep in his psyche, he had no freedom to respond otherwise. But we don’t need these kinds of problems in our nominee.

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