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. 

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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.

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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.

MR. 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.

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57 thoughts on “Aftermath: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Battle of Charleston

  1. Excellent analysis as usual. It’ll be interesting to see the fight between Obama and Edwards in the next couple of days for their ultra-liberal flank.

    I hope Jewish organizations will pose him a serious question whether he’ll sit down with the current Iranian president, who wants to wipe Israel off the map without any preconditions.

  2. This is the diary posted yesterday.

    IMHO, this dust-up will have a long-term impact on Obama’s viability as the number 2 frontrunner. It will take a while for polls to reflect this trend. However, we can watch some early warning signs.

    1. Watch out his spending pattern.
    Obama has obviously accelerated his ads buys in early states, especially in SC. The online ads buys have also picked up noticeablily in the past few days. Obviously, he’s feeling the heat in early states. In IA, Richardson is catching up fast to threaten his third place position; in NH, Clinton maintains her double digits lead; in his ‘must-win’ SC, he’s losing badly in two lastest polls. AP just filed a report ‘Obama Faces Doubts Among S.C. Blacks’…

    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.

    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

    Also Watch out his burn rate. Remember Dean had tremedous cash advantage, he burned his Roman City in no time. Obama obviously has even more, but there is always a limit.

    2. Watch out his ratched up rhetoric and sharp left turn.

    It appears his campaign realized the non-partisan, above-fray, above-race rhetoric do not work. There is early sign that he’s abandoning those ‘hope’ rhetoric, at least talkingpointsmemo thinks so …

    Barack Obama, speaking at the National Urban League conference this morning, appealed to the black organization’s members by overtly bringing up the subject of his race and the significance of his candidacy, something he’s generally refrained from doing in the past. “The day I’m inaugurated, the country looks at itself differently, and don’t underestimate that power, don’t underestimate that transformation,” Obama said. “When the state of Black America comes out, I want it to say the state of Black America is strong. In order for that to happen, we’ve got to to form that base.”

    He has to beef up his support among African Americans, otherwise he’s in a big hole. I don’t blame him though. Strategically speaking, he should have probably done this long time ago. Instead, he’s falling into his DC advisors’ Reagan fantasy.

    3. Watch out the beginning of the end of his MSM lovefest.

    As a media created rockstar, the pitfalls are those MSM outlets can also jump ship without notice, especially if the aura of ‘hope’ is peeling off. Also watch out his supporters’ whinings in the days ahead.

    4. Watch out any early ‘shakeup’ or ‘streamline’ of his campaign, whatever you call it.

  3. If I asked you how to spell, “inevitable,” I would prove I know how to spell it, so I won’t ask you how to spell, “inevitable.”

  4. This week, Obama met his Gerald Ford
    moment. In the ’76 debate with Jimmy
    Carter, Ford said that Poland wasn’t
    under the influence of the Soviet Union.
    It devasted his campaign for election.
    And, Carter was elected.

    The articles by Republican and conservative
    commentators are beginning to realize
    Hillary’s strenght. Furhtermore, grudgingly
    they realize that she will be tougher on
    Republicans than Bill was in ’92 & ’96.

    In passing, we have to thank Obama for
    declaring his candidacy so early. It afforded
    Hillary an extended period to shake any cobwebs
    from the campaign. She is hitting her
    stride. Obama’s camp has to be wondering
    when strike three will happen as it surely
    will.

    Thanks for a great post.

  5. Kostner, please add a #5 to your post.

    To date, there has been a dirth of
    editorial comment on Obama’s statement.

    I expect over the next month or so, when
    he meets with editorial boards around the
    country, we will get a better idea of his
    candidacy. We should start looking tomorrow
    in local papers. They usually save their
    major comments for the sunday papers.

  6. guys, his advisors or him came to the conclusion that he had to go negative becuase the public national poll numbers(also his private polling)showing he is way behind. offcourse it won’t work. hillary should hold onto her money as long as possible. let obama spend it all. GO HILLARY GO!!!!

  7. Hey folks, The one thing I gotta add to great analysis and comments is simply this. It’s really obvious (to us, at least) that Mr. Obama doesn’t have the right stuff at this time to be a viable candidate. I have worked for people like this many times in my life, who get themselves in a leadership position and they start making mistakes. The thing to remember here is that under all those mistakes is an ego (or, considering the campaign staff, a bunch o’ egos) and one of several things will happen as a result, but the bottom line is this, I believe, he will continue to make mistakes. Because, ultimately, there’s a whole lot to being a Presidential candidate than what’s written on a script. And his scripter’s also aren’t doin’ too well. SO I anticipate more out and out blunders.

    The message of Hillary’s campaign needs to stay clear: who is the best person to hit the ground running in a studied, composed way? Clearly it is Hillary Clinton. She has worked for years to become the person and the leader that she is. Part of it, and this is my own experience speaking is that women of Hillary’s generation (and I’m only 10 years removed from it) had to work so much harder than men to get where they are today. She knows that; she’s never forgotten it, I’m sure. And yet she’s not running to become the first woman president. She is running because she knows that she is the right person for this country right now.

    Reminds me of a sayin’ I heard once, “Ginger Rogers had to do the same things Fred Astaire did; she just did it in high heels and backwards.”

    This is a really important time for the Clinton camp and all her supporters, to take our cues from her in terms of how we behave and how we best represent her position and candidacy. Things are turning more aggressive but she has the experience and intuition to navigage these rough waters. –MollyJ

  8. From Staff to Kegs: Not only did Obama meet his Gerald Ford moment, he met his John Kennedy moment too. Unlike Ford Obama has yet to acknowledge what a mess he is now in with his major blunder. Unlike Kennedy Obama throws diplomacy out the window and buried himslef with his “no preconditions” final answer.

    You are also right that Obama’s remarks in Iowa today flipping on his flop answer previous flip and now officially incorporating “no preconditions” as part of his foreign policy will hurt him later on. He will have to explain his posture at every editorial board meeting and TV appearance and interview. This will finish him off in Florida and other key states as we have written all this week.

    Check out the latest update for HillaryHub’s latest strike.

  9. Well, some of us remember President Kennedy. Would it be fair to say to Mr. Obama, “Sir, you’re no Jack Kennedy?” –MollyJ.

  10. Domma & Admin,

    Nice job. You can smell the desperation from Obama supporters on a couple of blogs. This guy is deranged. He is stubborn and going for broke.

    I am very very curious about his burn rate. His online ads buys are massive. I predict he’ll ratchet up those stupid rhetoric until later polls come in to comfirm he’s in deep hole. This is extremely stupid on Obama’s part. This is his turning point.

  11. mollyjrichards:

    What doesn’t kill you helps you. All those years of sustaining attacks and all those years of having to work harder than the guys – now pay off. Hillary is the best because she has been through the worst.

    Agreed that we have to keep ourselves focused and hard working. Also very important to “take our cues” from Hillary and most important for all (something all the other campaigns forget to their regret) STAY ON MESSAGE.

    As to your “Sir, you’re no Jack Kennedy”, how about “Sir, you’re no Gerald Ford.”
    ——

    Welcome to the site. You are from Arkansas, right? If you are from Little Rock, many good memories from Little Rock.

  12. Amen to that. What doesn’t kill you does help you.

    Yes, my friend, I am from Arkansas. As I said, Hillary has been a role model to me for as long as I can remember. I have never had the pleasure of meeting her but others in my family have, and I hope someday I can. I grew up south of LR, in between a place called Hope and Hot Springs. I earned my undergrad degree in the Natural State before movin’ on.

    But the most important thing right now is gettin’ her elected. She is doing great, takin’ the high road but stayin’ tough and on message. Her instincts are so good at this point.

    And Looordy, Gerald Ford…..

    Thank you all for the great work you are doin’ on behalf of #44. –MollyJ.

  13. molly,

    how do you feel his chance in Arkansas in general election? I heard all those talking points that she’s so disliked, and she has no chance in the South. However, my instinct tells me she will have a decent shot at Arkansas. I’m not all that familiar with Southern culture, but I sense many men, even they dont particularly like her, do respect a tough lady. Her and her husband’s personal touch in that state will help her victory in Arkansas in the end.

    I saw a Arkansas poll long long time ago, she beat the former GOP governor(cant spell his name correctly), but there was no other head-to-head matchup information.

  14. http://hillaryhub.com/

    CONDITIONS? NO CONDITIONS?

    IT DEPENDS ON THE DAY

    “Under certain conditions, I always believe in talking.”–Barack Obama to the Miami Herald, July 22

    “My theory was, ‘you do’ and you do without precondition”–Barack Obama in Iowa, Chicago Tribune, July 27

  15. For once, Andrea Mitchell was kind to Hillary on the
    NBC evening news. They had a clip from Hillary’s
    speech last night to professional beauticians.
    It mocked the Post cleavage story and didn’t
    trivialize running as a woman.

  16. Hi Kostner, Southern politics in general are as hard to call as the Kentucky Derby and Arkansas is no exception. The same state that elected Bill Clinton governor, also elected Mike Huckabee (republican and presidential candidate) governor and they couldn’t be more different, to put it mildly. I haven’t heard anything lately on how Arkansas is swinging. Put on general principle, I never underestimate Hillary’s ability to campaign, nor Bill’s ability to help out. The Clinton library is in LR and he still makes trips down there and I’ve heard rave reviews for some of the recent speeches he’s given in the state. I can’t imagine, if we are talking a general election, that some of the potential candidates on the republican side would play well in Arkansas against Hillary. She may be disliked by some, but a good number of people in the state still remember her positive contributions, and there is always the, “I knew her when…effect.” Hillary was way ahead of her time part of the time when she was first lady of the state. I say now, her time has come. –MollyJ.

  17. Senator Obama doesn’t seem to realize that the topic (i.e. “no preconditions”) is not really the issue. The issue is how the candidates have acted since the debate. I agree that he is continuing to dig himself into a deeper hole because now he has been shown to be a flip-flopper. And he is a flip-flopper on two counts: 1) on the preconditions issue (his flip-flop is now being reported by the MSM) and 2) on his “politics of hope” and “above the fray” persona. Oops!

  18. Paula,

    You are too poll driven. LOL. Polls are used to scare faint hearts. Use common sense. That poll question is vague, many people are undecided since they understand it’s a difficult question that should be left to president and professional diplomats to dice the nuances of international relations.

    Sure, it will have some appeal to radical left wing of democratic party. Right now, it is no longer the question itself, it is its aftermath. To continue to be tangled in this question will precisely do him in.

  19. do anybody get the feeling that bloomberg is for sure is running as a 3rd party in 2008? i suscribe to his website and newsletters to keep tabs on him. he sure’s hell look like and appears to be a candidate despite his denials.

  20. Looks like Clinton camp. is pushing back hard on Obama’s flip flop. LOL.

    Gov. Tom Vilsack, acting as a surrogate for Sen. Hillary Clinton, blasted Sen. Barack Obama this morning for deliberately attempting to “mask” the similarities between his position on meetings with foreign leaders and hers,

    Earlier in the day, Obama told Democrats in Des Moines that it was “time to turn the page on the Bush-Cheney diplomatic strategy that has isolated America from our allies and reduced our moral standing in the international community.” On Thursday, he called Sen. Clinton’s position “Bush-Cheney Lite.”

    Vilsack, on a conference call with national political reporters, called Obama’s comments “certainly audacious but not particularly hopeful.” “It’s not the Iowa way,” he said, and it “flies in the face of the promise Sen. Obama gave to all of us at the beginning of this campaign to avoid negative politics.”

    Vilsack, citing Obama’s pre-debate interview with Miami Herald where he suggested he’d meet with Hugo Chavez “under certain conditions,” said that Obama “agrees” with Clinton’s. view but is trying to “confuse” the issue by stepping up his rhetoric.

    Also Saturday, Obama’s campaign mailed a letter from ex-Iowa Min. Leader Richard Myers, a Korean War veteran, who wrote that “Senator Obama offers a dramatic change from the Bush administration’s seven-year refusal to protect our security interests by using every tool of American power available – including diplomacy. In short, his view of American diplomacy reflects our values.”

    The letter was mailed to “thousands of undecided Iowans” who have told the Obama campaign that foreign policy was their top voting issue.

    Update: Bill Burton, Obama’s spokesman, e-mails a response to Vilsack:

    The politics of hope requires us to shake up the establishment status quo that has to change. Obama has been crystal clear in saying that he be the most aggressive in fundamentally changing our nation’s foreign policy.
    This is a substantive debate during which she called Obama irresponsible and naive. Obama has been entirely consistent — 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. What he did say was that he would be willing to meet with them.

    ….

    Edwards is also join the fray…

    DOVER, N.H. — Presidential hopeful John Edwards said the tiff between Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama is completely wrong for the Democratic Party.

    “The last thing we need is two presidential candidates fighting with each other, instead of fighting for the change we need in America,” Edwards said. “And, man, do we need change in the worst possible way.”

    An Obama spokeswoman disputed Edwards’ comments.

    “This is a substantive and important debate people want to hear about, whether we are going to turn the page on the Bush-Cheney foreign policy, which has damaged our national security and America’s standing in the world,” Leslie Miller said.

    ….

  21. I have a sense Obama is going broke on this one. He knows it’s going to be very damaging if he does not either appear to come out as a winner, or at least a tie.

    He’ll go nuclear on this one. Only polls will calm him down.

  22. Clinton campaign has no choice but to push back hard even it means some leakage of support from this chaotic fight.

  23. The two articles I meaned above, one belongs to Atlantic Online blog, the Edwards one is from AP filed in WashingtonPost.

  24. kostner, Could you elaborate on “Clinton campaign has no choice but to push back hard even it means some leakage of support from this chaotic fight”? Do you mean their might be short-term damage but long-term gain?

    And who the heck is Richard Myers, lol.

  25. I believe so. If Obama goes for broke, there’s no way Clinton will back down because you can’t let your opponents’ lies going unanswered.

    The end result is that Obama will deal with a severe blow, at the same time, Clinton will also suffer some damage because voters are usually turned off by negative campaign, especially they believe this sort of dispute is too minor.

  26. kostner, I’m with you on the negative part. In fact, Edwards might benefit from this to some extent.

    Also, We shouldn’t be surprised this happened. It was obvious Obama was going to have to go after Hillary in some way in order to try to catch her.

    Notice, too, how the Obama spokesman used the term politics of hope again, lol. Time to ditch that, I think.

  27. secret,
    no.

    Paula,
    Yes, that’s my guess. Edwards and/or Richardson may benefit from this to some extent. But Obama will be the biggest loser if he continues to provoke.

  28. Kostner,
    I really doubt that Hillary will loose poll numbers over this negativity! May be a point here and there – as it might seem a petty issue to continue for a week and more. But, I doubt edwards or Richardson will gain out of this. What Clinton looses will go into undecided. I just cannot – simply cannot stand Obama and his campaigns lies. Outright lies! Saying he promised to meet the dictators and Hillary didn’t!!
    Hillary said – not the first year without pre-conditions – unless she knows the way ahead as she doesn’t want to make a bad situation worse!! There are limits to how much you can spin! Even if Obama is to win democratic nomination – he has commited a political suicide by saying he will meet those dictators so, he will loose general election! So, Obama- just do us all a favour and quit!!!! And Quit now!!!!

  29. Paula — re: Rasmussen. It’s one of those things that’s feel-good until you really think it through. Most Americans have trouble finding FL on a map of the US, much less know the details of these heads of state. Even when we meet with allies, tons of prep work is done beforehand to reduce the possibility of international incident. The notion that a new president would meet with four hostile leaders within a year is laughable — that’s with or without preconditions!

    kostner — yes, Obama is going for broke. I would guess that his funders/backers have been pressuring him to make a breakthrough somewhere, anywhere.

    IA – running third, 2004 exit polls show that almost 70% of caucus participants were 45+ yro — the post-debate SUSA poll which skewed older showed an impressive debate victory for Hillary.

    SC — two devastating polls. Obama assumed that he’d lock up the black vote and that the white vote would split. Instead, Hillary is competitive with the black vote while dominating the white vote.

    NH — his “best” state, despite being 9pts behind the frontrunner.

    NV, FL — in sad shape.

    What he’s hoping for here is to get a bump in NH, SC. Not a coincidence that the NH focus group reacted most favorably to his response — NH is filled with high-income kumbaya white liberal types. In SC, he’s hoping to tar Hillary with Bush, who black voters hold in contempt.

  30. http://www.nypost.com/seven/07282007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/hillary_the_formidable_opedcolumnists_rich_lowry.htm

    HILLARY THE FORMIDABLE
    DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THIS PRO Clinton: Smart & responsible — she’s now a talented politician. July 28, 2007 — 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’d 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.

    She’s not a natural, a fact highlighted all the more by her association by marriage to the great natural politician of his generation. If the test of a candidate is whether you’d like to sit down and have a beer with her, she’ll never pass it.

    She excels on other tests. Iraq seemed her greatest liability at the start of the campaign: She would either have to repudiate her vote to authorize the war, or be repudiated herself by anti-war Democratic voters. But she found her way out of the trap:

    1) She didn’t apologize for her authorization vote, thus avoiding a blow to her credibility.

    2) She moved left in supporting a timetable for withdrawal, thus placating her party’s base.

    3) She avoided the excesses of other Democrats panting for a pell-mell retreat, thus keeping intact her credentials as a potential commander in chief.

    This was brilliant politics. She leads in the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll both among Democrats who support a deadline for withdrawing troops and those who don’t.

    Obama’s theme of change in the sense of something entirely new is clearly more powerful than Hillary’s theme of change in the sense of another round in a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton cycle of the American presidency. She overcomes this thematic weakness with her strength as a candidate, the foremost of which is her – as she has put it – “responsibility gene.”

    In those moments in the Democratic debates that have offered a choice between saying what the pacifist left wants to hear or saying what someone who might someday be president should say, she’s done the latter. Her default mode is seriousness, and all her preparation shows.

    When she was asked in the most recent debate about the possibility of nearly three decades of a Bush or Clinton in the White House, I found myself commenting to a friend, “Watch – she’ll hit this out of the park.” Which she did, with a joke about regretting that Bush won in 2000.

    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.

    comments.lowry@nationalreview.com

  31. http://www.cnbc.com/id/20000625

    Friday, 27 Jul 2007
    Clinton-Obama Dispute: Why Wall Street Should Take Note
    Posted By:John Harwood
    Topics:Media | Print Media | Wall Street | Private Equity | Corporate Governance | Taxes | Congress | Economy (U.S.) | Economy (Global) | Economics | Politics & Government | White House
    The world of business and finance may consider the fight between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over foreign policy, which emerged at this week’s YouTube debate, as irrelevant to their concerns. That view is wrong.

    It’s true that, in a narrow sense, neither Wall Street nor the investor community has a direct stake in the back and forth over whether either prospective Democratic president would agree to face to face meetings with Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro or other anti-American tyrants. The Obama-Clinton sparring was quintessential political sparring.

    Yet, it was sparring that could affect the trajectory of the 2008 race. Anything that moves the needle on who’s likely to become the next president by definition makes it an issue for investors to follow. And there’s reason to think Hillary Clinton’s chances of becoming presidential took a small step forward this week.

    Barack Obama is a very formidable candidate for the Democratic nomination–just check the Federal Election Commission’s donation records. He has a strong claim to become the candidate of change in a year when voters are plainly looking for change. But the first term senator has a steep hill to climb in order to prove that he has the knowledge and experience to handle the presidency and more specifically the role of commander in chief.

    Appearing shaky on top-level diplomacy makes that hill steeper. And that is the impression Obama left as a result of his debate answer on meeting with the unsavory foreign leaders in question, which was followed immediately by Clinton’s refusal to commit to such meetings.

    Afterward, Obama’s advisers said he’d been misunderstood and actually had the same position as Clinton’s. Later they shifted gears, arguing that her more cautious stance resemble a “lite” version of President Bush’s refusal to hold such meetings at the cost of American influence. whether either stance will prove effective is unclear.

    More promising was Obama’s use of the contretemps to hit Clinton anew for having voted for the Iraq war, which Obama had spoken out against at the same time. That’s a difference on which Obama holds the high ground among Democratic voters, and reiterating it could brighten a line of distinction Clinton has worked to muddy.

    This is hardly the end of the argument; we are rapidly approaching the fall stretch run of the primary campaign. But for now, the behavior of both campaigns on this foreign policy argument suggests that Clinton ends the week stronger than she began it. Given the edge that polls indicate any Democratic nominee will bring to the general election, that worth Wall Street’s notice as they prepare for the policies on other issues–from taxes to spending to health care–that will emerge from the White House in 2009

    Write to politicalcapital@cnbc.com.

  32. For fun, let’s guess what Obama’s next move will be.

    Here’s my analysis. After Clinton smilingly shrugged off his silly ‘Bush Cheney-lite’ comment. Obama looked really bad. I sensed their campaign has a pounched-into-sand feeling. What Obama will do next is to provoke Hillary to come out at a high-stake sort of one-on-one with him.

    If you were his strategist, and decided to go for broke, what would you advise him to do?

    1) He’ll likely do an ‘important foreign policy’ in order to attract free media, and lead Hillary to respond directly.

    2) Do another high-profile TV interview to explain his ‘difference’ with Hillary.

    In one word, he’ll try to attract the attention of MSM to provoke Hillary to respond directly.

    If you were Hillary’s strategist, how would you respond to such scenarios.

  33. My suggestion is to ignore him. The issue is not
    foreign policy per se at this time. It is the Iraq war
    and how to end it. This will dominate the
    political proces through mid-September. With
    Congress in recess during August and the MSM
    on vacation nothing will be really acomplished.
    Hillary should keep her “powder dry” and stay
    with her plan.

  34. Hillary should do something substantial on Iraq and show that anyone can talk the talk but only she can walk the walk!!!

  35. Good evening,y’all..

    Just catching up on the latest and greatest. Thanks everyone for great summarys of what is going on up to the minute. We need this close contact in order to be of the same mind and on the same page.

    I’ve been reading and posting against the Obamamites rantings and while I was posting about the IWR..It occured to me, Obama has never visited the troops. Strange…that.. I’ve never thought about it before, but I googled in case I missed something… but couldn’t find anything. Any thoughts here?

  36. Mrs. Smith,

    No. He has never. He’s a rookie. Due to logistical reasons, I don’t believe Congress memebers go to Iraq very frequently. He’s sitting on the foreign relations committe, i believe.

    Where do u usually blog?

  37. Hey folks, I think Hillary should keep focused on the issues this country is strugglin’ with right now. She should stay with pressing for plans for exiting/resolving the Iraq mess. I also think, as front runner, she can take the opportunity to do a little educatin’ of the electorate, because she is very good at that. I would keep underscoring the fact that not only is she a change agent but she has the experience–the proven track record– to bring it about.

    The outcome of the Obama-Clinton debate is that he’s distinguished himself as being inexperienced in foreign policy. If I were advisin’ him, I’d tell him to study the briefing book better for the next debate. I’m not sure that I’d advise him to do anything major with respect to foreign policy right now, because it can so easily backfire on him –MollyJ

  38. Mrs. Smith,
    Obama hasn’t visited the troops I guess because he is not part of the senate arms commitee like Clinton is. He has never shown any interest in Security or national politics until couple of his friends egged him on to run for Presidency.

  39. Secret,

    You’re right, he’s a lightweight. His only interest is ‘community organization’, ‘voter registration’ stuff. All his answers to national security and foreign relations questions are copied directly from SAT preparation books. He has no real understanding of these issues.

    BTW, Hillary is in GA today. The weblink is still troublesome…

    Sen. Clinton arrived at about 2:20pm to thunderous applause as the band played New York, New York. She received a long standing ovation before being introduced officially, and another upon being named.

    Her initial remarks were about having a conversation with the public on what changes they’d like to see. She also apologized to those supporters who’s been waiting since 8am to see her, which earned her forgiving laughter.

    She spoke of her early career and law school, and even family vacations the Clintons took to Hilton Head Island.

    She spoke of progress made over the years in gender and racial equality.

    She referred to America “a land of big goals, of a vision, of what we can do together, to really realize our founding principles.” She challenged attendees to renew commitment to overcoming challenges, citing the words of John F. Kennedy promising to put a man on the moon and bring him home safely, and to an expanding civil rights movement of Lyndon Johnson’s day.

    “I think we can set big goals again,” she said. “Everything we can look back on and take pride in was prelude.”

    She warned achieving big goals requires courage and hard work, saying, “There is no guarantee that America will remain great.”

    She then outlined several specific goals for her:

    1. Quality, affordable healthcare for every single American
    2. Energy independence and security. (She got another standing ovation by suggesting tax subsidies taken from oil companies would fund research for alternative energy technology.)
    3. Continue to raise the incomes and the opportunities for America’s middle class, which she says will come from strong fiscal responsibility on the governments part
    4. Improving education, especially at the early states, saying our children are the best investment we can make

    As she talked about what she feels America needs to do at home, she told the crowd that we still have a lot of work to do around the world. She said there’s “no military solution” in Iraq and promised to end the war if elected. While she praised our military for its accomplishment in deposing Saddam Hussein and providing an environment in Iraq for free elections, they “don’t belong in the middle of [the Iraqis’] sectarian civil war.”

    She said, “It’s important to know that we’re going to get out of Iraq more carefully and smartly than we got into Iraq.”

    She also promised continuing healthcare for veterans.

    “I am prepared to lead this country if you give me the chance to do that,” she said.

    She thanked the crowd and left the podium at about 3:10pm.

    The local Democratic party presented Sen. Clinton with a Gullah-language bible before she left the stage.

  40. did you guys catch NBC News’ little clip on her appearance at last night’s event?
    It’s pretty funny. Go to NBCNews site, you can find the clip.

  41. You don’t have to be on the Senate Armed Services
    committee to visit the troops. Although that is a good
    reason to do so.

    New York is the home of the 10th Mountain Division.
    As I understand it, they have the most troops deployed
    in either Iraq and Afganistan.

    BTW, that is a great find that Obama has not been
    to see the troops. As anyone passed that on to
    HillaryHub?

  42. He might run off now to meet the troops. So, better make it a issue now – people write to Hillaryhub about this please

  43. I read a Obama spin – saying how Hillary has high negatives and how by attacking Obama she has squandered the goodwill of many and how she really cannot afford to loose their goodwill. It goes further to say how Obama is like Bill Clinton and he will be the nominee.
    I thought to myself – Good luck to Democrats if he becomes the nominee! That would be god given gift to the Republicans and democrats will regret it for ever that they choose him!!
    I guess if he did become the nominee – I will turn very bitter – how can Clinton not be the nominee? As Kostner – says I just have to chill off and wait –

  44. I would like to leave a little advice for Barack Obama. First, I should confirm that I value this young man very highly. the advice: stop mud throwing and wait eight years. The door Hillary is going to open by being the first president from the other sex will guarantee the emergenmce of a president from the other color in the next election (2016). The main thing you should remember is never to lose momentum during those years.
    For now, it is not difficult to see in which direction the wind is blowing.

  45. Morning, Kostner & All,

    Here is the only place I blog. But if you feel like venting, the only place to be is on the front lines w/rabid Obama supporters at DU:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_topics&forum=132

    If you decide to take the leap make sure you’re thick skinned and are able to brush off HRC insults without getting personally offended. They love getting under your skin. They’ve got that animal instinct where if the smell blood in the water, they pile-on..

    It never occured to me before, Obama hasn’t visited the troops…but I guess he hasn’t. Wouldn’t a future CIC want to see the militery fighting for the country he is campaigning to represent? This may be a good follow up issue without directly coming from the Hillary Camp.

    Personally, I think he’s afraid of the IWR and is afraid of traveling to Iraq. We’ll see.I’m not registered at Hillary Hub but I will take a peek over there and see whats happening. If someone else can write about this little nugget there…well, let the chips fall where they may..I’m ready for some residual fallout from the nasty remarks from Obama and ilk parlayed into Obama’s negligence of our troops.

    Mrs. S

  46. Secret, That Obama spin you refer to makes no sense. Hillary’s high negatives are among Repubs and some independents, not among Dems. Besides, she’s not the one pretending to run a different sort of campaign. And wouldn’t his attack on her spoil “goodwill” as well?

    Also, the comparison to Bill Clinton cracks me up, lol.

  47. God these nutroots are really going for it today…talk about spinning…it looks like lala land to me. I mean they are arguing semantics and saying Obama spoke out of context blablabla…it’s amazing! I hope Hilary trounces this babe in the woods.

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