DES MOINES – All of presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s Iowa campaign offices are closed. The decision comes after a hostage situation at an office in New Hampshire. A spokesman for the Clinton campaign tells KCRG-TV 9 News all offices in the state are closed for the time being.
A man claiming to have a bomb strapped to his chest walked in to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign offices in Rochester, N.H., today and took hostages, police and witnesses said.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has canceled her appearance before the Democratic National Committee in Vienna, Va., this afternoon as her campaign deals with the reports that two volunteers are being held captive.
Bill Shaheen, a co-chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s New Hampshire and national campaign, said in a telephone interview at 2:40 p.m. that the two hostages are both staff members in the Rochester campaign office, one of 16 offices that Mrs. Clinton has around the state.
Mr. Shaheen did not know the names of the two people.
He said that there had been no threats of violence against campaign offices of Mrs. Clinton herself in New Hampshire. “We’ve had no security issues, and I’m not even sure this is a threat to her, to my knowledge,” Mr. Shaheen said.
Mr. Shaheen said that the campaign’s New Hampshire spokeswoman, Kathleen Strand, was en route to Rochester to talk to authorities and the media gathering there. Mr. Shaheen was speaking from Boston and said he was leaving for Rochester shortly.
He said he had no knowledge about the apparent request of the hostage-taker to speak to Mrs. Clinton, or whether Mrs. Clinton would do so.
Clinton advisers said that Mrs. Clinton was monitoring the situation from a location in the Washington area; one adviser said he believed that she was at or heading toward the campaign headquarters in Arlington, Va. Another adviser said the campaign had been in touch with authorities in New Hampshire to confirm the details that had been reported in the media thus far. This adviser said the campaign was trying not to overtax the authorities with phone calls or information requests. “We’re letting them do their jobs,” this adviser said.
At the D.N.C. meeting in Virginia, Democratic national chairman Howard Dean made the announcement in a hotel ballroom, gasps were heard from the crowd of several hundred delegates and party officials.
“Details are sketchy at this time,” Mr. Dean said. “We will keep them in our prayers and hope for a resolution of this situation.”
Mrs. Clinton was scheduled to appear before the D.N.C. meeting this afternoon. Her rivals, Senator Barack Obama, former Senator John Edwards and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson addressed the crowd this morning.
Mrs. Clinton had already arrived here at the Sheraton Premier Hotel at Tysons Corner when reports of the hostage situation began to trickle in. She was in private meetings in the hotel, officials said, when the decision was made that she would not address the D.N.C. It was not for her own security reasons, officials said, but rather out of a concern for her staff in New Hampshire and she wanted to go monitor developments.
When Mr. Dean made the announcement that her speech had been canceled, dozens of her supporters wearing “Hillary” shirts who had arrived for her speech began to leave.
Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for Senator Barack Obama, said the Rochester offices of the Obama campaign — only a few doors down from the Clinton campaign — also had been evacuated, along with other businesses in the area. The Obama staff members were fine, he said.
As he addressed the D.N.C. this afternoon, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware commented on the incident, saying he heard about it as he was driving out here. “I pray to God it all works out as she heads to New Hampshire,” Mr. Biden said.
According to reports from WMUR-TV and the Union Leader, two workers taken hostage in the office on 28 North Main St. A woman and her baby told workers at a neighboring business that she was released by the hostage-taker.
“A young woman with a 6-month or 8-month-old infant came rushing into the store just in tears, and she said, ‘You need to call 911. A man has just walked into the Clinton office, opened his coat and showed us a bomb strapped to his chest with duct tape,’” witness Lettie Tzizik said.
The woman said a man with pepper-and-salt hair in his 40s with what appeared to be a bomb duct-taped to his chest had entered the office and ordered everyone onto the floor, Ms. Tzizik said.
There are several police officers positioned across the street from the office, crouched down behind cruisers with guns drawn, according to a reporter at the scene.
“I walked out and I immediately started running, and I saw that the road was blocked off. They told me to run and keep going,” said Cassandra Hamilton, who works in an office adjacent to the building
Imagine if President Roosevelt had said, ‘well, lets have Social Security, but lets start by leaving out millions of our seniors.’ Or suppose President Johnson, fighting the fights over Medicare, said, ‘you know, lets just cover some of our seniors with Medicare. Eventually the others will catch up.’ That is not the way it works.
They knew what it took to make big, important changes in our country. They also knew that if you aim too low, if you give up before the fight has started, then you have no chance of making it to the finish line. And I intend to not only make it to the finish line, but to be there with all of you. Because we’re going to do this together.
Obama does not have a UNIVERSAL healthcare plan. Obama has a pocketful of mumbles and mud. Don’t take our word for it. Paul Krugman, a probable John Edwards supporter, exposes Obama and his lies in today’s New York Times.
As we wrote yesterday, Obama is lying. Obama is lying about “preconditions”; Obama is lying about his attack Pakistan plan; Obama is lying when he denies repeatedly saying “Probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact that I spent four years living overseas when I was a child in southeast Asia”; Obama is lying about Social Security; and Obama is lying about Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan; and Obama is lying about his own healthcare plan.
From the beginning, advocates of universal health care were troubled by the incompleteness of Barack Obama’s plan, which unlike those of his Democratic rivals wouldn’t cover everyone. But they were willing to cut Mr. Obama slack on the issue, assuming that in the end he would do the right thing.
Now, however, Mr. Obama is claiming that his plan’s weakness is actually a strength. What’s more, he’s doing the same thing in the health care debate he did when claiming that Social Security faces a “crisis” — attacking his rivals by echoing right-wing talking points.
“ecohing right-wing talking points” – Krugman is saying what we have written about over and over, many months ago. Krugman now explains the central and important issue which Obama is trying to obfuscate with attacks on Hillary:
The central question is whether there should be a health insurance “mandate” — a requirement that everyone sign up for health insurance, even if they don’t think they need it. The Edwards and Clinton plans have mandates; the Obama plan has one for children, but not for adults.
Why have a mandate? The whole point of a universal health insurance system is that everyone pays in, even if they’re currently healthy, and in return everyone has insurance coverage if and when they need it.
And it’s not just a matter of principle. As a practical matter, letting people opt out if they don’t feel like buying insurance would make insurance substantially more expensive for everyone else.
Here’s why: under the Obama plan, as it now stands, healthy people could choose not to buy insurance — then sign up for it if they developed health problems later. Insurance companies couldn’t turn them away, because Mr. Obama’s plan, like those of his rivals, requires that insurers offer the same policy to everyone.
As a result, people who did the right thing and bought insurance when they were healthy would end up subsidizing those who didn’t sign up for insurance until or unless they needed medical care.
In other words, when Mr. Obama declares that “the reason people don’t have health insurance isn’t because they don’t want it, it’s because they can’t afford it,” he’s saying something that is mostly true now — but wouldn’t be true under his plan.
Thank you Paul for explaining in very clear language exactly what Hillary has been trying to explain in very clear language. Let’s see if Obama attacks Krugman with the same lies he attacks Hillary. Paul Krugman won’t be as polite as Hillary. In fact, Krugman is already calling Obama’s attacks “cheap shots”:
The fundamental weakness of the Obama plan was apparent from the beginning. Still, as I said, advocates of health care reform were willing to cut Mr. Obama some slack.
But now Mr. Obama, who just two weeks ago was telling audiences that his plan was essentially identical to the Edwards and Clinton plans, is attacking his rivals and claiming that his plan is superior. It isn’t — and his attacks amount to cheap shots.
First, Mr. Obama claims that his plan does much more to control costs than his rivals’ plans. In fact, all three plans include impressive cost control measures.
Second, Mr. Obama claims that mandates won’t work, pointing out that many people don’t have car insurance despite state requirements that all drivers be insured. Um, is he saying that states shouldn’t require that drivers have insurance? If not, what’s his point?
Look, law enforcement is sometimes imperfect. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have laws.
Third, and most troubling, Mr. Obama accuses his rivals of not explaining how they would enforce mandates, and suggests that the mandate would require some kind of nasty, punitive enforcement: “Their essential argument,” he says, “is the only way to get everybody covered is if the government forces you to buy health insurance. If you don’t buy it, then you’ll be penalized in some way.”
Well, John Edwards has just called Mr. Obama’s bluff, by proposing that individuals be required to show proof of insurance when filing income taxes or receiving health care. If they don’t have insurance, they won’t be penalized — they’ll be automatically enrolled in an insurance plan.
That’s actually a terrific idea — not only would it prevent people from gaming the system, it would have the side benefit of enrolling people who qualify for S-chip and other government programs, but don’t know it.
We wrote yesterday that Obama was using Rudy Giuliani type tactics in his “drive by shooting” attacks on Hillary. Krugman too says Obama is now sounding like Giuliani:
Mr. Obama, then, is wrong on policy. Worse yet, the words he uses to defend his position make him sound like Rudy Giuliani inveighing against “socialized medicine”: he doesn’t want the government to “force” people to have insurance, to “penalize” people who don’t participate.
I recently castigated Mr. Obama for adopting right-wing talking points about a Social Security “crisis.” Now he’s echoing right-wing talking points on health care.
What seems to have happened is that Mr. Obama’s caution, his reluctance to stake out a clearly partisan position, led him to propose a relatively weak, incomplete health care plan. Although he declared, in his speech announcing the plan, that “my plan begins by covering every American,” it didn’t — and he shied away from doing what was necessary to make his claim true.
Now, in the effort to defend his plan’s weakness, he’s attacking his Democratic opponents from the right — and in so doing giving aid and comfort to the enemies of reform.
“Giving aid and comfort to the enemies of reform” – That is what “reformer” Obama is doing. But we are not surprised. George Bush used the same tactics – remember when George Bush, running for president, called himself a “Reformer With Results”? Remember when George Bush, running for president, called himself a “Uniter, Not a Divider”? Obama is exposed as a Rezko-loving, Chicago mud-slinging, divisive enemy of reform — attacking Democrats and Democratic social programs, using Ripublican talking points. Dis-Gust-Ing.
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Obama is lying repeatedly and knowingly on several areas of the current healthcare reform discussion. Recently, Obama slimed Hillary with allegations that Hillary in the 1990s did not require a mandate. Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic is extremely polite, but what the facts point to is that Obama is lying:
Did HRC Oppose A Mandate In The 90s? That’s the claim from the Obama campaign today.
But the charge is hard to square with the fact that Clinton’s 1993 Health Security Act did indeed contain an individual mandate. [snip]
Politically, it’s going to be hard to argue that Clinton’s 1993 plan, which popularized the concept of “government-run universal health care,” was somehow not premised on the idea of required, universal coverage.
“For that is how most of my colleagues, Republican and Democrat, enter the Senate…their words distorted, and their motives questioned,” Obama writes in The Audacity of Hope. As Senator Clinton might today say: “Indeed.”
“Sen. Obama [is] now criticizing a mandate, when he has one in his own plan, when he helped to set up a task force that says there has to be a mandate,” she said. “And there are lots of ways to do it, through default enrollment, through going to schools, workplaces to enroll people.”
Obama said he is open to assessing fines against parents who fail to enroll their children in health care.
“If they don’t have health care, we will work with the parents to make sure that it’s provided and it would be mandatory,” he said. “Parents would not have an option. … I would fine parents if for some reason they refused.”
One way to “fine” parents is for the government to withhold the costs of a child’s insurance from a parent’s paycheck, said David Cutler, a Harvard University economics professor who advised Obama on his health care reform plan.
“Probably the easiest way to treat it is like deadbeat dads and say, ‘Look you have this obligation and if you don’t do it voluntarily, we will do it for you,’” Cutler said in a telephone interview today.
Hillary Clinton is very clear in what she is proposing on healthcare – UNIVERSAL heathcare.
“If we don’t get universal health care, then we will be betraying the Democratic Party’s principles. And it’s important that those who will caucus on January 3rd understand this difference. Senator Obama’s [plan] does not, and cannot, cover all Americans. He called his plan universal, then he called it ‘virtually universal,’ but it is not either. When it comes to truth in labeling, it simply flunks the test.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton accused her leading Democratic presidential rival Wednesday of flinching from the struggle to provide health care for all Americans and said, “I am not afraid of the Republican attacks” on the subject.
“We’ve got to put up a candidate who’s willing to stand up for it and fight for it,” said the former first lady in her most pointed criticism to date of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
Frequently accused of ducking key issues, Clinton said it was Obama who is seeking to finesse a difficult question. “He has called his plan universal, then he has called it `virtually universal,‘ but it simply does not deserve that label,” she said. “When it comes to truth in labeling his plan simply flunks the test.” [snip]
Clinton said that by turning his back on universal health care, Obama was essentially siding with Republicans.
“If anything, Democrats should stand for universal health care. That distinguishes us from the Republicans. The Republicans don’t believe in it. Democrats do and we should fight for it,” she said.
As first lady nearly 15 years ago, Clinton spearheaded her husband’s attempt to achieve universal health care. It failed in the Democratic-controlled Congress, and now, she says she is eager to try again.
She said Obama’s plan would leave 15 million Americans uninsured, including 100,000 Iowans, about half the population of the capital city, Des Moines.
She also said Obama favors a mandate for coverage of children, a point she said made no sense. “If you believe you can enforce a mandate on children, that means you enforce the mandate on the parents of the children to enroll the children. So why would you leave out the parents?”
Clinton’s plan requires all Americans to obtain health insurance. Those without it would be able to choose from among options that are currently available to members of Congress.
“If we don’t move toward universal health care coverage now, if we don’t have an election about it where I stand against whoever the Republicans nominate and let them answer the questions about why they won’t take care of covering every single American, why they want to still be in bed with the health insurance companies, that is an election we will win,” she said. “ But we’ve got to put up a candidate that’s willing to stand for it and fight for it.”
“More than anybody else in this race, I have a plan to reduce the cost of health care by $120 billion a year. And I think its important that we understand the differences among us who have plans.
You know, among the Democrats, all of us except Senator Obama have universal health care, they have put forth a plan. [Governor] Richardson, Senator Edwards, Senator Dodd. We’ve put forth universal health care plans, because we know if we don’t cover everybody, we’re going to leave millions and millions of people out. Its a substantive and important difference. Because if you don’t start with the goal of covering every American, you will never get there.
Here’s how my plan works: if you already have private insurance and you’re happy with it, nothing changes. You keep that insurance. But if you don’t have health insurance or you don’t like he insurance you have, you can choose from a wide variety of options that are available to members of congress.
All Americans will have a responsibility to get and keep health insurance. I believe if we make this the law of the land, Americans will follow it and will purchase health insurance far more than if we don’t have that requirement.
We’ll provide tax credits to ensure that people can afford it, and we’ll give tax credits to small businesses so that they can cover more of their employees. If you want to cover everybody you have to make health care a shared responsibility.
I know you need to have the willingness to stand up to the insurance companies and the drug companies and demand universal coverage.
And that’s why I don’t understand why we have this difference on the Democratic side, because if anything, democrats should stand for universal health care. That distinguishes us from the Republicans. The Republicans don’t believe in it. Democrats do. And we’ll fight for it.
It will be a president with the experience and strength to make that happen, otherwise we’ll be right back here in another ten or twelve or fourteen years, and we’ll still have tens of millions of people uninsured and in fact our problems will be even worse and we will have lost more jobs because employers won’t be willing to provide insurance. They’ll move jobs off shore because they don’t want to have those benefits. And we will not be either competitive or living up to our ideals.
It is impossible to get to universal health care if you don’t have a mandate. That is a key difference between my plan and Senator Obama’s plan.
Now when Senator Obama was a state senator in Illinois, he helped to create a health care task force that looked into how best to cover everybody in Illinois with health insurance. They released their report earlier this year – and they made it very clear, if you want to cover everyone you need to require people to get health insurance. Otherwise you will fail to cover 60-90% of the uninsured.
Now, there are a number of ways of doing this. one sensible step would be to use what’s called default enrollment. If you don’t make a choice, well we set up a system where people are automatically enrolled when they come into contact with the health care system or with schools or colleges. We could also work with employers so they automatically enroll people. The Congress has ideas about this, it will work to make sure that these mandates are enforceable.
But what’s strange is that Senator Obama’s plan actually does have a mandate, but only for children. No requirement for adults. Now I’ve worked on this issue a very long time. And if you believe you can enforce a mandate on children, that means you enforce the mandate on the parents of the children to enroll the children?
Why would you leave out the parents of the children? Because what happens when you leave out the parents is that they’re less likely to get health care for their own children. See, this is all connected.
And I’m proud that Senator Edwards agrees with me, Senator Dodd agrees with me, Governor Richardson agrees with me. Congressman Kucinich has a different approach, but he gets everyone covered to have universal health care.
If we don’t have universal health care, then we will be betraying the Democratic party’s principles. And it’s important that those who will caucus on January 3rd understand this difference. Senator Obama’s plan does not and cannot cover all Americans.
He’s called his plan universal, then he called it virtually universal, but it is not either. When it comes to truth in labeling, it simply flunks the test.
He’s been saying there’s no difference between our plans, but his plan would leave at least 15 million Americans uninsured, including more than 100,000 people right here in Iowa.
So why don’t we just say everybody against the wall, you don’t get insurance. We’re very sorry, but we’re just not going to have a plan that covers you. Who’s going to choose who doesn’t get covered? Who’s going to leave out 15 million people, or 100,000 people in Iowa? That’s more than half the population of Des Moines. That’s a huge difference for those who get left out, like the daughter of the woman I met from Greenville.
And its a huge difference to me, to leave 15 million people virtually invisible, because that is what we would do. Well when I’m president, there will be no invisible Americans, and there will be no Americans without health care. That is one of my highest priorities.
And I know its going to be a tough fight. But I have been fighting the republicans and the special interests for 15 years.
I have to admit I get amused when any of my opponents try to claim they’ve fought more fights than I’ve fought. Well I don’t remember them being with me in 1993 and 1994, to tell you the truth.
So I don’t mind standing up and fighting. That’s what I want to do for all of you.
And I know that you are not going to get the health insurance companies to say, oh ok, we’re going to cover everybody, and therefore its going to be hard for us to make money because we’ll to have to do it the old fashioned way. Instead of eliminating people from coverage and refusing to pay doctors bills and hospital bills, we’re just going to eliminate you in the first instance, or deny coverage for you and refuse to pay your bills. I know they’re not going to like my plan. That’s not the point.
Just because it’s controversial or ambitious, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. The time is now. If we don’t move toward universal health care coverage now, if we don’t have an election about it where I stand against whoever the Republicans nominate and let them answer the questions about why they won’t take care of covering every single American, why they want to still be in bed with the health insurance companies, that is an election we will win. But we’ve got to put up a candidate that’s willing to stand for it and fight for it.
Imagine if President Roosevelt had said, ‘well, lets have Social Security, but lets start by leaving out millions of our seniors.’ Or suppose President Johnson, fighting the fights over Medicare , said, ‘you know, lets just cover some of our seniors with Medicare. Eventually the others will catch up.’ That is not the way it works.
They knew what it took to make big, important changes in our country. They also knew that if you aim too low, if you give up before the fight has started, then you have no chance of making it to the finish line. And I intend to not only make it to the finish line, but to be there with all of you. Because we’re going to do this together.
Those that don’t have insurance, they don’t just struggle with costs themselves, they impose costs on everyone else. When you leave 15 million Americans uninsured, the result is a hidden tax on every other American. What do I mean by that? Well when someone is finally forced to go to the emergency room because they can’t afford a doctor’s appointment, we all pay the bill. When they can’t pay their medical bills, insurance companies just raise the rates on everybody else.
And when you leave 15 million uninsured, insurance companies will just continue to cherry pick the healthiest people and discriminate against the sickest. Those that need the coverage the most.
We’re going to eliminate health care discrimination. Were going to require insurance companies to insure everyone, including preexisting conditions. You will not any longer be denied insurance, you will be entitled to insurance. And as long as you pay your share of the costs, no one can take it away from you
And that will also be a cardinal principle when it comes to how we’re going to make it absolutely clear to people that having insurance is a shared responsibility. Everybody’s got to pitch in. No more hidden taxes. No more insurance company cherry picking.
I know we can do this, and even the Republicans, at least some of them, do. That’s why Governor Schwarzenegger has a mandate in his proposal. No one who looks seriously about how we get to universal health care can come to any other conclusion.
So this is a fight worth taking on. I’ve never shied away from tough challenges., and neither has America. You know, we’re the nation that split the atom, that sent a man to the moon, that mapped the human genome. We’ve got the best doctors and nurses and health care professionals in the world. We’ve got the most exciting research, the most promising treatment and cures. And it’s long past time that all of our people benefited from that.”
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Hillary booed by PINOs when fighting for UNIVERSAL healthcare in 1994:
Hillary calling out Obama to his face, for abandoning 15 million Americans, during televised debate:
Earlier today we posted an article which clearly provides the Obama template for attacking Hillary. The article was about the Hillary Clinton vs. Rudy Giuliani Senate race in 2000. Obama is melding Rove with Rudy tactics to slime Hillary. Here is the relevant paragraph from today’s earlier article:
Mr. Giuliani pounced on Mrs. Clinton’s slightest misstep, sensing vulnerability in this new and nervous candidate. The mayor, a former prosecutor, often exaggerated her misdeeds and slightly mischaracterized her positions, aides said, in a deliberate effort to goad her into correcting his version of her record — while Mr. Giuliani skipped on to his next attack. He was brash and theatrical, flying to Little Rock one day to announce that he would fly the Arkansas flag over City Hall in New York to highlight the fact that Mrs. Clinton was running for office in a state where she had never lived.
Obama is lying about Hillary’s record in a blatant fashion so that Hillary supporters exhaust themselves defending Hillary on the lie. Obama then simply moves on to lie on something else.
Obama uses the tactic of repeated big lies frequently. In this past Tuesday’s Adult Experience we catalogued Obama’s outright lies regarding his “preconditions” statements and his “Probably the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact that I spent four years living overseas when I was a child in southeast Asia.” statement. Obama has also blatently lied about his “attack Pakistan” statements.
Now Obama is lying about healthcare.
We are not going to drown ourselves in detailed refutations of Obama’s lies on healthcare issues. We are likewise not going to invest our energies in fighting off Obama’s lies about lies (Obama lies then he accuses others of lying – this tactic he acquired from Bill Bradley). Too many valiant Hillary supporters have already brilliantly explained the differences between Hillary’s truly universal healthcare plan and Obama’s plan which does not provide coverage for 15 million Americans.
For us the response is very simple – Obama says his healthcare plan is UNIVERSAL but Obama’s plan does not cover 15 million people – Obama is lying to 15 million people – its that simple. “Universal” means “universal”. “Universal” does not mean “partial”.
Obama is lying — deliberately and repeatedly and tactically — it is that simple.
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For those interested in the policy dispute we will discuss the Universal Healthcare plan proposed by the experienced and intelligent Hillary Clinton and the not universal but lies that it is universal plan pushed by Obama – tomorrow.
In the meantime here is the plucky blond lady herself explaining the differences:
One of the laughable myths Hillary Clinton opponents for the Democratic nomination love to perpetuate is the “she’s never had a tough race” myth. They are wrong. Hillary Clinton made it look easy in 2000, but the race itself was a tough race.
While we doubt we will ever see a Hillary vs. Rudy race we are happy to know that in such a race Hillary Clinton would keep New York’s crucial 31 electoral votes in the Democratic column. We can’t say that for any other Democratic candidate (more on this later).
By the time Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York stepped before a wall of television crews in the Public Hearing Room at City Hall on May 19, 2000, there were no surprises left.
In the course of three tumultuous weeks, Mr. Giuliani had been told by doctors that he had prostate cancer. He had announced he was leaving his wife after tabloids reported he was having an affair. And now, he had come to withdraw from the Senate race against Hillary Rodham Clinton, bringing a sudden end to what was arguably the most anticipated Senate campaign of modern times.
Oh, Rudy, we here on Big Pink can’t wait to relive those days – if you ever get the Ripublican nomination (which we most sincerely doubt you will ever get). Here’s the pertinent part of the Times article:
But the 12 months leading to Mr. Giuliani’s departure are as instructive today as they were riveting then: a blistering year of mental gamesmanship, piercing attacks, contrasts in personalities and positions, and blunders, played out by two outsize political figures in a super-heated atmosphere.
It was a year in which both Mr. Giuliani and Mrs. Clinton gained many of the political skills the nation is seeing now as they campaign for president. It was a time in which they took a measure of one another as opponents. And it was a shared chapter in their lives that offers a window into what a 2008 White House contest between these New Yorkers might be like, should they each win their party’s nomination.
In 2000, like in 2007, Hillary was ridiculed, mocked, insulted, derided, and attacked. Hillary, after a few misteps due to that being her very first run as a candidate, regained her footing and typically fought back – effectively.
On the morning when Mr. Giuliani quit, the two sides were deep into preparing for a fall campaign. After an uncertain start in which Mr. Giuliani kept her off balance, Mrs. Clinton had found her way to handle the gibes thrown at her by the confrontational mayor. Rather than engage him, Mrs. Clinton became the foot-tapping, arms-folded sighing mother of a forever misbehaving teenager, a mien intended as much to infantilize Mr. Giuliani as to provoke him.
“I can’t be responding every time the mayor gets angry,” Mrs. Clinton said, smiling as she campaigned in upstate New York a few days before Christmas 1999. “Because that’s all I would do.”
Rude Giuliani was prepared to trash Hillary. He prepared the script alleged Democrats are using to attack Hillary today.
Both sides were prepared for the battle. Television advertising scripts had been drafted (“She says she is a Yankee fan, but she hasn’t even been to a Yankee game,” was the tag line of one Giuliani advertisement), vulnerabilities had been identified and campaign themes tested. Mr. Giuliani’s aides had prepared an indexed 315-page dossier compiling positions and potentially damaging quotes from throughout her life, according to people who saw it. (It included an 11-page chronicle titled “Stupid Actions and Remarks.”)
Mr. Giuliani was going to portray Mrs. Clinton as inauthentic, inexperienced, a liberal champion of big government and a carpetbagger, his advisers said in interviews. Mrs. Clinton was going to paint Mr. Giuliani as divisive and undignified, temperamentally unsuited for the Senate, and profoundly uninterested in national and international affairs, her advisers said.
More than anything, the early stages of the 2000 Senate race offered a lesson on the politics of psychological warfare, as each campaign sought, in the words of one Clinton adviser, to “get inside the head” of the other’s candidate.
Like Obama and Edwards today, Rude Giuliani attacked and attacked.
Mr. Giuliani pounced on Mrs. Clinton’s slightest misstep, sensing vulnerability in this new and nervous candidate. The mayor, a former prosecutor, often exaggerated her misdeeds and slightly mischaracterized her positions, aides said, in a deliberate effort to goad her into correcting his version of her record — while Mr. Giuliani skipped on to his next attack. He was brash and theatrical, flying to Little Rock one day to announce that he would fly the Arkansas flag over City Hall in New York to highlight the fact that Mrs. Clinton was running for office in a state where she had never lived.
Hillary of course, won that race. Her victory does not stop Hillary opponents from dragging out the same old tired line of attacks which have failed year after year after year.
As their presidential campaigns look to the past in preparation for a possible renewal of their aborted contest, they have reached strikingly similar conclusions about their potential opponent: Eight years older and more experienced, Mr. Giuliani and Mrs. Clinton are each far tougher and more rounded candidates than they were in 2000.
“She is a great candidate now,” said Frank Luntz, who was Mr. Giuliani’s pollster in 2000. “She is a tough-as-nails candidate today. She has learned how to turn people who were openly hostile to her into supporters.”
Anthony V. Carbonetti, one of Mr. Giuliani’s chief political advisers, said Mrs. Clinton’s lack of executive experience was a critical liability with New York voters in 2000, and would be again with national voters.
“But she is a completely different person,” Mr. Carbonetti said. “You have to give her credit for the Senate experience now. She is not the demon now that she was coming out of the White House. I would not underestimate her at all.”
Rude Giuliani was prepared to attack Hillary in 2000, the campaign was tough and would get tougher:
He instructed two of his top consultants from the 1997 campaign for mayor — Adam Goodman and Rick Wilson — to prepare a comprehensive catalog of her public statements, writings and positions going back to when she was a student at Wellesley, a road map into her foibles and vulnerabilities. (Turn to Page 39 for the Lincoln Bedroom; 139 for Whitewater.) [snip]
In these sessions, Mr. Giuliani and his aides concluded that Mrs. Clinton would run a highly ordered, meticulous and policy-driven campaign, make an appeal to women on Long Island, and seek to discredit Mr. Giuliani by identifying him with Washington Republicans.
In Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Giuliani’s aides told the mayor, he was facing a smart, cold and tentative opponent, unprepared for the maelstrom of a New York City campaign. The issue of her residency became more than a way to win tabloid headlines: Mr. Giuliani saw it as a way to underline voter perceptions of her as inauthentic, opportunistic and untrustworthy. When Mrs. Clinton flew to New York from Washington for a parade, Mr. Giuliani welcomed her with sarcasm. “I hope she knows the way,” he said. “I hope she doesn’t get lost on one of the side streets.”
The New York Times on how Hillary prepared for her Senate run:
Mrs. Clinton began that spring with a series of talks with advisers about what she should do now that her husband was leaving the White House. By late spring, the discussion — typically a half-dozen people gathered in the Yellow Oval Room in the second-floor family quarters of the White House — had evolved into a political tutorial on how to be a candidate, how to run in New York and how to deal with Mr. Giuliani.
Her advisers could not have been better suited to the task. Four of them had worked in tough New York campaigns, and two of those had worked in campaigns against Mr. Giuliani. (They remain the nucleus of Mrs. Clinton’s political cabinet today.)
Mandy Grunwald, Mrs. Clinton’s media adviser, was the media consultant to Ruth W. Messinger when she ran unsuccessfully for mayor against Mr. Giuliani in 1997. Mark Penn, who was Mrs. Clinton’s pollster and is today her chief strategist, advised David N. Dinkins when he defeated Mr. Giuliani in the 1989 mayor’s race.
Mr. Wolfson was communications director for Charles E. Schumer when he beat Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato in 1998. Harold Ickes, a longtime close adviser to the Clintons, has been a warrior in New York City politics for 40 years.
This group had observed Mr. Giuliani in three mayoral campaigns, and there was little disagreement about how to run against him: focus on his temperament, his identification with Republican policies and the notion that he was running for a job that did not interest him. Perhaps more significant, when viewed in the context of a potential 2008 rematch, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers suspected that the first lady, who grew up in suburban Chicago, would be a culturally more appealing candidate to rural voters than Mr. Giuliani.
Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reached many of the same conclusions about her weaknesses that Mr. Giuliani’s advisers had.
So it was that Mrs. Clinton began her campaign that summer not in New York or its suburbs, but in rural Republican upstate New York, sitting down with small groups of voters. The ostensible purpose of what was called her listening tour was to defuse the criticism of her residency. But it allowed her to learn how to be a candidate and test her upstate appeal.
Democrats in 2000 acted like Turkey Lurkey and Henny Penny:
Yet her low-profile, make-no-waves campaign style worried New York Democrats as they watched Mr. Giuliani gleefully goad her from City Hall.
Those worries peaked in November, when Mrs. Clinton traveled to the West Bank city of Ramallah and sat silently as Suha Arafat, the wife of the president of the Palestinian Authority, accused Israel of deploying carcinogenic gases to control Arab protesters in Gaza and the West Bank. It took 12 hours before Mrs. Clinton rebuked Mrs. Arafat; by that point, she had been repeatedly assailed by Mr. Giuliani.
But the sky was not falling. Soon the only thing falling – because of Hillary and her Team – were Giuliani’s poll numbers:
In the weeks after her return, Mrs. Clinton and her advisers determined that they could not win the race unless they turned attention away from Mrs. Clinton and on to Mr. Giuliani: to cast him in “the angry frame,” as one described it. At every opportunity, Mrs. Clinton and her advisers suggested that Mr. Giuliani was slightly out of control, a characterization that was intended to raise doubts about Mr. Giuliani and knock him off stride.
And there were signs it was working. Mr. Giuliani suggested he was the victim of a Clinton-directed conspiracy that included pushing the Brooklyn district attorney, a Democrat, to investigate his campaign manager, Bruce Teitelbaum. “You’ve got to be living on Mars not to figure out what’s going on,” Mr. Giuliani said.
As spring arrived, Mr. Giuliani had yet to give a major speech on federal issues. He was barely campaigning upstate. Mr. Giuliani dismissed the concerns of Republican leaders, explaining that he, unlike Mrs. Clinton, had a full-time job.
Mr. Giuliani’s campaign began to falter in March. New York police officers shot and killed an unarmed black man, Patrick Dorismond, after he ran from undercover agents who asked if he had any drugs to sell. Mr. Giuliani authorized the release of Mr. Dorismond’s sealed criminal records from when he was a juvenile and went on Fox News Sunday, where he proclaimed that Mr. Dorismond was “no altar boy.” The remarks ripped across an already polarized city.
Mr. Clinton had already been scheduled to appear the next night at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Harlem. The church was packed with cameras and reporters as Mrs. Clinton, clasping hands with prominent black leaders, walked in singing “We Shall Overcome,” before delivering a speech accusing Mr. Giuliani of dividing the city.
Mr. Giuliani headed upstate, for a Republican dinner in Binghamton. He spoke for exactly 22 minutes, stood for an eight-minute news conference, and then turned for home. Less than a week later, he abruptly canceled four upstate events because, he said, he wanted to attend the rescheduled opening game of the Yankees.
Mrs. Clinton’s campaign pounced. Overnight, aides arranged a trip for her to the cities Mr. Giuliani had snubbed and worked the telephone with upstate reporters to stoke the story.
Giuliani had been winning. Hillary turned things around:
By the time Mr. Giuliani stepped in front of the cameras to announce he was dropping out, Republicans had already concluded that the mayor would not stay in the race: indeed, many were praying he would not. His cancer seemed almost beside the point.
Evidence of his lack of interest had been building for months: the erratic campaign schedule, his treatment of upstate voters, the public way he was carrying on his relationship with Ms. Nathan. His poll numbers were sinking (a New York Times/CBS News poll taken after the Dorismond episode found Mrs. Clinton leading the mayor by 10 points statewide), and he had become a punch line on late-night talk shows.
It was a frazzled end for Mr. Giuliani’s aides, concerned about the health of a friend, bewildered by the humiliating political meltdown they were witnessing, and frustrated that all their preparation for this epic battle would be put aside and that Mrs. Clinton would be left with a relatively easy start for her solo political career.
To this day, their aides quarrel over how the race would have ended had Mr. Giuliani not withdrawn. “If he would have stayed in the race, we would have won,” Mr. Penn said. Told of that, Peter Powers, Mr. Giuliani’s longtime political adviser and close friend, responded, “We viewed her as somebody we can easily beat — not easily, but someone we could beat.”
Mr. Giuliani’s advisers said he could have overcome the collapse of his marriage, assuming he was physically well enough to stay in. But they are not sure they could have overcome another obstacle: that Mr. Giuliani was running for a job that he did not seem to want.
Should their status as their parties’ national front-runners bear up under the actual voting in the primaries, Mr. Giuliani could get the fight against Mrs. Clinton he has been spoiling for. And this time, it is for a job that he by all appearances covets. That may well be the most significant difference between the Clinton-Giuliani race that almost was and that Clinton-Giuliani race that could now be about to unfold.
The lesson for political observers in all this is that inexperienced Hillary had a strategy for beating Giuliani. Hillary and her team followed up on that strategy and pounced and took advantage of every Ripublican misstep while throwing the opposition into constant disarray. Rudy and his team comfort themselves with thoughts that they could have beaten Hillary but the truth was that Hillary had devised a successful strategy and followed up on that strategy.
The Quinnipiac poll on October 3, 2007 had Hillary beating Giuliani by 11 points (52% to 41%). Obama however merely ties with Giuliani at 45%-45%. Democrats cannot afford to lose New York in a general election.
Barack Obama and his acolytes have concocted a new Domino Theory which is just as harebrained as the Vietnam era Domino Theory. Obama supporters parade and trumpet this crackpot theory with all the sublety of a hoochie-koochie dancer in a traveling carnival.
The original Domino Theory, which President Dwight Eisenhower postulated, declared that American Cold War interventions around the world were necessary because nations were like dominoes: You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly.
Eisenhower thought neighboring nation-states would fall one after the other to Communism – if the first domino (Vietnam) fell. We now have, Barack Obama’s very own narcissistic Domino Theory.
Obama’s Domino Theory is that, during the primary, states will fall like dominoes in worship of him if Iowans give him a caucus win on January 3, 2008.
In a new, public memo, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe makes the case for Obama’s strategy: A win based on organization and the hunger for change in Iowa, followed by a roll through the rest of the early states.
The memo had one interesting claim, of South Carolina: “We believe South Carolina is now a very competitive two-way race, with Edwards, who won this contest in 2004, in a very distant third.”
You can also tell from the memo one way in which this race hasn’t changed from Day One: Experience is still Obama’s central challenge. Plouffe quotes Obama’s line that he he “may not have the experience that Washington likes, but he has the experience that America needs,” and stresses his “20 years in public service.”
To effectuate Obama’s Domino Theory requires a minimal Obama presence in some states and concentration of forces on Iowa. After Iowa, victories in New Hampshire and all the early primary states will fall into his lap. Obama supporters, bereft of hope after months of bad poll news, have embraced this Domino Theory like corrupt Saigon Colonels embraced Eisenhower’s discredited theory.
Obama’s Domino Theory fails for the same reason Eisenhower’s Domino Theory was flawed. Both did not take into account the stability of neighboring states and the strength of the opposition which will resist public relations hoopla. Both theories also did not take into account a realistic assessment of the “hearts and minds” of the citizenry. For Obama’s Domino Theory to have validity, post-Iowa primary/caucus states would have to be lukewarm for Hillary and Hillary supporters would have to be lukewarm in their support as well.
There is plenty of long-term, scientific and anecdotal evidence which demonstrates Hillary’s frontrunner status (nationwide and in individual early primary states) and strong support, particularly from her base – women.
Six weeks out from the first round of presidential voting, Hillary Rodham Clinton gets better reviews than Barack Obama among African-American voters, a crucial voting bloc in Democratic politics, a new poll shows.
The survey of 750 African-Americans, conducted from Oct. 5 to Nov. 2, and released Tuesday found that the senator from New York was rated favorably by 83 percent of respondents, while 10 percent perceived her negatively.
Obama, meanwhile, garnered favorable ratings from 74 percent of blacks, with 10 percent viewing him negatively. [snip]
For Obama, the poll provides one more indication of just how steep a climb remains for his campaign to overtake Clinton.
Obama has mounted possibly the most viable presidential run by a black candidate ever.
But Obama’s symbolic status has not so far won black voters to favor his campaign.
In contrast, Clinton’s status as the first woman to have a feasible chance at winning the presidency has won Democratic women overwhelmingly to her candidacy and largely explains her lead in the race.
The expectation that Obama would win African-Americans has led the campaign to flatly predict, as Obama pollster Cornell Belcher did to Politico this summer, that they would win the Jan. 19 South Carolina primary.
The state is 29 percent African-American, but the Democratic primary electorate is at least half black.
The Palmetto State was expected to play a pivotal role in the Democratic nomination fight, allowing Obama to halt momentum Clinton may gain after Iowa and New Hampshire, two states that are overwhelmingly white.
In South Carolina, Obama aims to siphon off some of Clinton’s core supporters — women — making African-American women key players in the Palmetto contest.
“If Obama was really going to challenge Hillary, I have always thought he was really going to have to challenge her among women, not just black women but even white women,” said David Bositis, senior research associate at The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, which conducted the poll.
Obama plans to tour the early primary states with Oprah Winfrey in early December.
Notably, they are spending the most time in South Carolina.
But the campaign will also stop off in New Hampshire and Iowa.
Obama currently is locked in a head-to-head race with Clinton in the Hawkeye state. [snip]
Nine in ten black voters supported Al Gore and John Kerry in the previous two general elections.
Oprah is not going to sell Obama like she does books. If celebrities sold candidates, Barbra Streisand would be touring with Hillary right now. Hillary is and will maintain her lead with women voters. Hillary support with African-American voters appears equally strong. Obama, how is he doing?
My colleague Carrie Budoff Brown e-mails over the explanation from South Carolina State Rep. Harold Mitchell, who reiterated at an endorsement event with black ministers today that he was switching his support from Obama to Clinton:
“I got caught up in the hoopla,” Mitchell said of Obama.
The “hoopla”. He got caught up in the hoopla. The transitory effects of a flimflam show versus the steady support of a long time friend can be measured in this “hoopla” statement.
Nearly half of South Carolina’s Democratic primary voters are black, and ministers can play a huge role in shaping the political direction of their congregations. More than 60 ministers gathered with Clinton on a stage at a hotel and her campaign said 88 were in the room where the endorsements were announced.
Clinton, in a wide-ranging speech to a crowd of more than 450, touched on her plans to expand health care, better public education and improve the image of the U.S. She said she would send emissaries around the globe – and mentioned former Secretary of State Colin Powell as “someone I know very well” – to send a message the era of “cowboy diplomacy is over.” [snip]
The Rev. Timothy Brown, of Cleveland Chapel in Spartanburg, said Clinton will get government to a “better plateau.” He also referenced Obama, a first-term senator who wrote a book called “The Audacity of Hope.”
“We need to look for a leader that is ready to lead right now,” Brown said. “We don’t need to be filling our heads with hopes and dreams.”
Also Tuesday, Clinton’s campaign released her proposal to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS, which in part focuses on fighting the spread of the illness in minority communities. Clinton would double the HIV/AIDS research budget at the National Institutes of Health to $5.2 billion annually and spend at least $50 billion within five years around the globe, according to an e-mail from her campaign. [snip]
The endorsements from the South Carolina ministers came as Clinton tries to widen what one recent poll showed was as much as a 10 percentage point lead in the state over Obama, an Illinois senator.
“This is just the beginning,” said state Sen. Darrell Jackson, a Columbia minister working for Clinton. Similar announcements are in the works in other regions of the state, he said.
Another state senator, Harold Mitchell, told CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod that his heart had him backing Obama early on, but he switched to Clinton last month.
“We’ve got to get away from these emotional feelings,” Mitchell said. “If you put that aside and look at the candidates… it’s a no-brainer.” [snip]
Don Fowler, a former Democratic National Committee chairman, said courting the pulpit is key for the black vote here.
“The church and individual members play an extremely important role in black politics,” Fowlers said in an interview last month.
“There’s very stiff, intense competition for the hearts and minds of the African-American clergy,” he said. “Collectively, they have huge influence.”
Hillary is increasing her lead in a state where Michelle Obama is practically living in. Hillary visited supporters in Spartanburg as well as Aiken, South Carolina yesterday:
New York Senator Hillary Clinton drew a large crowd of at least a thousand people on her presidential campaign stop. It was a very energetic crowd. On Tuesday, Senator Clinton telling them her experience in Washington at the White House and in the Senate, is what makes her the best choice for the next US President.
“It’s sort of a once in a lifetime opportunity to see her speak,” says Sandy Vogus.
She wasn’t alone. This man standing right by her side.
“Have an opportunity to meet someone I think in my belief is going to be the next President of the United States,” says Robert Lans. [snip]
“I think her plan to reestablish our stature on the world scene again. Very rational, reasonable. And I’d love to see her win,” says Van Lunans.
Democratic White House hopeful Hillary Clinton said she will cut minority dropout rates in half during the next decade by spending $1 billion to identify at-risk children, get teachers into high-need areas and through early childhood education programs.
The New York senator told a group of educators at a middle school in this early voting state, which is plagued by high dropout rates, that she wanted to address the “crisis of untapped potential” that comes from students leaving school.
“A lot of our children are going to be fine. They’ve got families backing them up. They’ve got great schools and communities in their corner. But a lot of our kids need some extra mentoring and support in order to make it,” Clinton told The Associated Press in an interview after discussing her plan. “I want to start in the preschool years to give disadvantaged kids a chance to get the same benefits of readiness that we take for granted with our own kids.”
“They leave school before they have the skills that are going to give them a chance for a good job and a good standard of living and in the global economy we can’t afford that,” she said. “And the costs associated with someone who drops out of school are extraordinary because they’re eight times more likely to end up in jail or prison.” [snip]
“I’ve been to large endorsement meetings, but this was significant,” Clinton said in the interview. After the meeting, more than a dozen other pastors signed on, Clinton said. “So it’s mushrooming. So it’s not just a static number. People are hearing about it and coming on board. And that is a real vote of confidence that I appreciate,” she said.
At a later stop in front of a crowd of about 1,400, Clinton talked about health care, ending the war in Iraq and her qualifications to be the next president.
Jesse Jackson, writing in the Chicago Sun-Times today about the presidential candidates, manages not to mention the name of the candidate he’s nominally endorsed, Barack Obama.
He does have this to say:
The Democratic candidates — with the exception of John Edwards, who opened his campaign in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward and has made addressing poverty central to his campaign — have virtually ignored the plight of African Americans in this country. The catastrophic crisis that engulfs the African-American community goes without mention. No urban agenda is given priority. When thousands of African Americans marched in protest in Jena, La., not one candidate showed up.
Though his son cut a radio ad for Obama in South Carolina that cast the candidate as Jackson’s heir, a piece like this suggests that there’s just a bit of friction there.
Of course, Hillary spent the entire day (not to mention the past 35 years) addressing the needs of African-Americans specifically. Be that as it may, the Chicago Sun-Times column was not the first time Reverend Jesse Jackson has expressed unhappiness with Obama. On September 19, Jackson blasted Obama on the Jena 6 issue in an interview with the influential The State newspaper in the vitally important to Obama, South Carolina. Hillary had spoken on the Jena 6 issue earlier in the month while addressing the NAACP convention in South Carolina.
For all the Big Media/Big Blog hoopla about ‘Hillary Sinking – Obama Surging’ the facts on the ground remain the same. Hillary is still doing exceptionally well nationally and in just about every state other than Iowa.
Obama’s Domino Theory is as flawed as Eisenhower’s.
Hillary’s support is strong and is not going to dissolve. Not only does Hillary have strong support among all of the Democratic base groups, the Democratic establishment and elected officials can see Hillary’s strengths and Obama’s many weaknesses. Obama should tend to his own dominoes, like Jesse Jackson, which appear ready to fall.
Update: Other sources have taken notice of what we pointed out regarding the Big Media narrative and the Big Media use of polls. Is this not the type of disinformation that the internet was supposed to fight against? Big Media is taking control of our Democratic nomination process and trashing our frontrunner in the same way Big Media will trash our Democratic Party nominee in 2008. They did it to Gore in 2000 and to Kerry in 2004. Big Media will try to do it again in 2008.
As much as we have derided, and will continue to criticize, MyDD – they are to be commended for noting how Big Media is trashing our elections. As usual Dailyhowler is on the job. TPM which usually participates in any Hillary bashing they can find (usually by the owner) has Greg Sargent on the job and doing good work. Taylor Marsh speaks up too. Hillary’s FactHub is counting the coverage as well.
When our elections get trashed by Big Media we learn who is willing to speak out and who is more concerned with their own self interests. PINOs, Naderites, and Big Blogs that pretend to fight Big Media – while getting book contracts and writing columns for Big Media that enrich the owners but do not take Big Media to task – are unmasked at these moments. These Quisling PINOs, Naderites, and Big Blogs are not our friends – they are the problem.
Poor Americans. Yesterday they had to be confused. Common sense told them Hillary is ahead and doing well in the presidential race. Big Media told Americans something else.
A reputable Gallup poll is published showing Hillary ahead, but all Big Media will discuss is a faulty interactive poll which shows Hillary behind. One (1) poll shows Obama barely ahead in Iowa and Big Media uses that one poll to negate all the polls showing Hillary ahead in Iowa, nationwide, and just about everywhere else. Little wonder that Americans do not trust their media. And Big Blogs which were supposed to be a remedy to Big Media misinformation – are no better.
We can only conclude that Americans will once again be surprised by the election results when Hillary wins.
While Big Media/Big Blogs continued their march into misinformation yesterday, Hillary continued to gather strength. In New Hampshire, Dr. Susan Lynch, spouse to the Governor, endorsed Hillary. In all likelihood the endorsement will help Hillary maintain her already substantial lead in New Hampshire.
Meanwhile Obama appeared on Nightline last night and kept up his weeks long slimy attacks on Hillary. Typical for Obama he began the Nightline interview with a lie.
TERRY MORAN: So let’s talk about experience, which you talk about a lot. You said recently that the strongest experience you have in foreign relations is that you grew up for four years as a child in Southeast Asia.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA: Well, that’s not exactly what I said. What I said was I think one of the things that sets me apart is that I spent time in other countries.
After his initial Nightline lie, Obama attacked Hillary’s experience:
MORAN: So you think her being first lady isn’t all that, isn’t as much as she’s claiming?
OBAMA: Well, look, I have no doubt that she is an intelligent, capable woman. There’s no doubt that Bill Clinton had faith in her and consulted with her on issues, in the same way that I would consult with Michelle, if there were issues. On the other hand, I don’t think Michelle would claim that she is the best qualified person to be a United States senator by virtue of me talking to her on occasion about the work that I’ve done.
And I think that Senator Clinton certainly has experience that she should tout, and I don’t think anybody would suggest that somehow she’s not qualified to be president of the United States, in terms of the work that she’s done in the United States Senate. I think she’s done some good work. But I think that, you know, there is a tendency to overestimate some of the experience that is out there. In fact, our most successful presidents have been people who were successful not because of their wealth of Washington experience, but because of the life lessons and schools of hard knocks that they had gone through. And that’s true whether you’re talking about Lincoln, or FDR, or any of our greatest presidents.
Maybe Obama is just dense. Michelle after all works in a hospital while he works as a Senator whereas Hillary worked with Bill Clinton in the White House. Can anything be clearer? Either Obama is being deliberately obtuse or he is not very bright. As to this nonsense about Lincoln not being experienced Obama needs an American History lesson to clue him in on Lincoln – the founder of the Illinois Whig Party and the National Republican Party, and long term player in national politics particularly on abolition and tarriff issues. And the dynastic FDR was no slouch when it came to be a major player in national politics.
She always came prepared. From the first planning sessions for her husband’s victorious 1992 presidential run through the final 1994 White House meetings she chaired as the Clinton administration’s ill-fated healthcare initiative collapsed, Hillary Rodham Clinton was a force to be reckoned with as a decision-maker.
Her debut on the national stage in the early 1990s was a defining era for Clinton, a period when she emerged as Bill Clinton’s most influential campaign strategist and policy advisor. She was forceful and methodical in shaping the Clinton administration’s domestic policies and political strategy, and proved to be a disciplined partner to her famously disorganized husband: commanding, opinionated, daunting.
“Bill talked about social change, I embodied it,” Clinton wrote in “Living History,” her autobiography.
Meetings were her milieu. She would arrive toting the crisp yellow legal pads she had carried habitually since her days as a corporate lawyer. Armed with an exhaustively researched grasp of the issues at hand, she would press for still more options while lacerating opposing arguments with surgical precision.
Clinton’s all-access pass into the West Wing gave her an intimate education in presidential decision-making that none of her opponents can claim. She observed at close range how big government works, and she learned painfully from her missteps how easily it bogs down.
The L.A. Times notes that there were difficulties in the White House years and that Hillary never had ultimate executive authority. But the difficulties then are pluses now:
Presidential historian James McGregor Burns, who studied the uneasy dynamics of the Clinton White House, said that even her setbacks amounted to “educational failures” that toughened her for the long run.
“She’s been tested over and over again,” Burns said. “The question for voters is whether they feel she passed those tests and whether they think she learned from them.”
Hillary’s history as an advisor in 1991’s presidential election campaign was presaged by experience in the 1972 and 1976 McGovern and Carter presidential campaigns. Once in the White House Hillary was a major player:
From the start, Clinton’s campaign role was left as amorphous as possible, allowing her to carve out her own domain.
“No one raised a question about how her role was defined,” recalled lawyer Mickey Kantor, the campaign chairman. “It was assumed. You wanted her involved at the highest level.”
Involved she was, and in everything. She used her ties to New York legal circles to raise cash and tap political pros. While staffers took a breather on a bus caravan through Texas, old friend Bill Burton watched as “Hillary sat in the back and took charge of a press release on natural-gas policy.” As she peppered her husband’s aides with strategy, she was empire-building — cherry-picking loyalists who would work at the core of her White House staff.
Kantor and other campaign veterans credit her as the driving force behind the rapid-response “war room” operation. Later, she rode herd on the “defense team,” a cloistered group of staffers and lawyers who fended off media queries about the couple’s financial deals, rumors of Bill’s infidelity and his youthful dealings with Arkansas draft officials during the Vietnam War.
“She methodically set down the counter-strategy in a disciplined way,” said Betsey Wright, who ran the unit from Little Rock, Ark.
Democrats who think the Ripublicans will sit back and sing Kumbaya after the next election have not been paying attention. Newt Gingrich deliberately set out in the 1990s to remove Democrats from power. Using tools such as “term limits”, scandal mongering (which drove out the Democratic Speaker of the House) and other hardball tactics coordinated with allied media outlets and talk radio the Ripublicans took control of the government.
The full sum of the Hillary White House years, the good and the bad, will prove valuable when Hillary becomes the chief executive.
Obama can tout his child tourism all he wants. But for the office of the President, we need someone with adult experience.
Today the Washington Post described the difference between Obama’s flowery words and what Obama actually does. Apparently Obama, the denouncer of insider Washington is using all sorts of Washington insider financial tricks to salvage his campaign. Experts in the campaign finance field are not amused.
Kent Cooper, the FEC’s retired chief of public disclosure, said the commission, if it chose, could declare that Obama’s presidential campaign and PAC were “affiliated,” meaning some activities involving the PAC could be declared in-kind contributions to the presidential campaign that would exceed current donation limits.
“At this stage of the race, for a presidential candidate, it is a brazen effort to use every avenue to influence an election,” Cooper said. “I can’t believe the Obama people can keep a straight face and claim these aren’t part of the presidential race.”
In response to a report this morning in the Washington Post revealing that Senator Obama’s leadership PAC has given the majority of its campaign contributions to officials and committees in the early nominating states, the Clinton campaign released the following statement:
This morning, we learned that Senator Obama has been using his leadership PAC to give political contributions to officials in the early primary states. In fact, 68 percent of contributions from his PAC have gone to those in states that are scheduled to hold nominating contests on February 5th or earlier.
It is our understanding that a candidate’s campaign is barred from using the candidate’s leadership PAC to benefit his or her campaign which is why we shut down HillPAC when Senator Clinton announced her run for the White House.
On the campaign trail, Senator Obama is outspoken about his desire to reform the campaign finance system so it was surprising to learn that he has been using his PAC in a manner that appears to be inconsistent with the prevailing election laws. Considering how often Senator Obama talks about his efforts to be transparent, we presume he will answer the following questions regarding the behavior of his PAC:
1. Who decided what contributions would be made by Hopefund?
2. Did any presidential campaign staff, consultants or advisors participate in any discussions about Hopefund contributions? Who?
3. Did the decision-makers know who was endorsing the presidential campaign? If so, how did they find this out?
4. Who told Hopefund which Iowa and New Hampshire candidates and committees should get contributions?
5. Are there any overlapping employees, consultants and advisors between Hopefund and the presidential campaign?
6. The Washington Post article suggests that Hopefund was dormant earlier in the year. Who made the decision to start making contributions again and on what basis was that decision made?
In 15 days the first votes of the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination election cycle will begin to be cast.
As the last two weeks before voting actually begins approaches, the British newspaper The Telegraph is writing a series of articles on the American presidential race. The article, touted by Drudge, is called America Hates Hillary Clinton and Co.
Mrs Clinton might be the frontrunner in the polls, but almost everywhere we went people questioned her candidacy. Many stated bluntly that they did not want a woman in charge. “It’s a man’s world,” said Hugh Laflin, 62, a Kansas truck driver. “Would a Middle East sheikh talk to a lady president?”
A Vietnam veteran in Arizona and a Florida gun-shop owner were among those who made crude jokes about America “going to war every 30 days” under a female president. We never brought up Bill Clinton’s sexual dalliances, but many ordinary Americans did. “She couldn’t keep her own home together, so how can we trust her to manage America?” asked Micki Martinson, a housewife in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
Either The Telegraph found voters who actually think so backwardly or The Telegraph is pushing an undiluted, unmasked misogynistic line of attack against Hillary. In either case, we all need to be aware of what we are up against as voting days approach.
The incense burners at the Obama temple should not rejoice at the unmasked misogyny nor the repetition of Michelle’s “family values” Ripublican style attacks on Hillary.
But the anti-Hillary mood does not necessarily translate into happy days for her Democratic rival, Barack Obama, or the Republicans such as Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney queueing up to take her on. Beyond the coasts and outside the college towns, Obamamania was difficult to find. His lofty, professorial manner has made it difficult for him to connect with ordinary Americans and he could well go the way of earlier “outsider” Democrats running on a platform of change, including Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas and Bill Bradley. Obama’s lack of experience was a staple of conversations about him.
Although few people cite Obama’s race as a negative factor, there are clearly worries about whether he is too exotic a creature for Middle America. Some openly speculated that he was a Muslim – the result of snippets from his background cited in emails that have dropped into inboxes everywhere.
A childhood in Indonesia and Hawaii and mixed-race parentage in some ways epitomise modern America. But voters are often most comfortable with the candidate they can best relate to – something Bush tapped into in 2000 when he played down his Yale education and chose not to reveal how often he had travelled abroad.
As the Thanksgiving holiday ends we are entering the two important weeks before New Hampshire absentee balloting begins.
The Christmas holidays will be upon us soon.
It’s time NOW to redouble all our efforts if we want a truly happy, new year.
The backbone is an important feature of human anatomy. Vision, muscles, connective tissue, strong heart, powerful brain, locomotive legs are important too. But the backbone is what keeps us standing up.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign is capitalizing on an overlooked strain of feminism in blue-collar women – nurse’s aides, factory workers, farmers, and single mothers – to help fuel her strength among the Democratic candidates for president.
Even many working-class women who have spent their lives in traditional roles at home and work have been animated by Clinton’s effort to shatter what she has called “the highest, hardest glass ceiling.”
In recent interviews, some of these Clinton supporters say that they have been impressed enough by her advocacy for healthcare and children to jettison their previous views of her as a brash, ambitious lawyer and politician. Some said a female president would do things not just differently, but better.
“We need to have a woman president,” said Honey Davis, 64, of Onawa, Iowa, a longtime nurse’s aide who has diabetes. “A woman would be a little more tender-hearted toward the people, and knowledgeable about family issues.”
In addition, Davis said, because of Clinton’s experience watching the wheels of power grind while she was first lady, the New York senator “will have some ways of getting around the old-boy type of thing.”
Clinton is viewed more favorably in general by women than men. Increased support among college-educated and professional women – her peers – helped fuel a late summer surge that nearly doubled her lead in the national polls.
The finger bowl courtesans of Washington are upset that Hillary does not invite them to tea. The finger bowl courtesans complain to their Big Media husbands about mean ol’ Hillary. The finger bowl courtesans start websites and write columns and get the vapors just thinking about that, that, that… Hillary. That mean ol’ Hillary would rather listen to those other… women… than the finger bowl courtesans.
But the backbone of her support, going back to her first US Senate race seven years ago, remains among those who resemble her the least – blue-collar and working-class women, as well as black women. Analysts say she connects with working-class women emotionally by presenting an image as a fighter who has overcome obstacles in her life, and appeals to them politically by offering proposals that would help their pocketbooks. As the most recent polls show her neck-and-neck with Barack Obama in Iowa and the gap closing in New Hampshire, one constituency she consistently wins hands-down is working-class women. A Boston Globe poll this month of likely primary voters in New Hampshire suggested that Clinton has higher support among Democratic women without a college degree than among better-educated women. Several national polls have shown the same trend.
Clinton’s campaign has tried to exploit this advantage with several events geared toward working-class women, including a series of evening telephone calls called “The Dishes are Done,” when Clinton gets on the line to speak with groups of undecided New Hampshire women. [snip]
Last month, she regaled an audience in Manchester, N.H., with stories about how awkward it was at her Little Rock, Ark., law firm when she became visibly pregnant, and how she didn’t know what to do when baby Chelsea was crying inconsolably. [snip]
The Globe poll found that New Hampshire Democrats of both genders consider healthcare the biggest issue facing the country, ahead of the war in Iraq. Clinton has campaigned proudly on her bid to enact universal healthcare in the early 1990s, despite the fact that she failed. She also speaks often of how her first job out of law school was at the Children’s Defense Fund.
“My guess is it’s a combination of her experience on healthcare, and being a woman,” said Schildkraut.
Ann Lewis, Clinton’s top adviser on women’s outreach, attributed the candidate’s success with blue-collar women to her history of working on healthcare and children’s issues, as well as her personal story.
“They know she’s been a good mother, and that’s very important to them,” Lewis said. “Here’s someone who’s juggled a job, raised a family, and volunteered. That’s what they think people should do.”
Democratic women in Iowa who haven’t participated in caucuses in the recent past will be targeted by a national group seeking to boost Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The campaign by Emily’s List is called Iowa Women Vote and comes as part of an intensifying effort to reach out to particular groups of new voters who could be key to success for the winning candidate in Iowa.
The initiative includes both a new Web site at www.yougogirl.com and eight-page, how-to-caucus booklets to be sent to Iowa women who didn’t caucus four years ago. About 100,000 Iowa women will get some kind of mailing.
“Caucusing can be fun! See for yourself!” announces the Web site, where women share stories about caucuses they have attended and a step-by-step guide explains what happens at a caucus. [snip]
Maren Hesla, director of the women’s vote program for the group, said Tuesday that an estimated 80 percent of active registered Democratic women in Iowa did not attend the 2004 presidential caucuses. “So there’s a large universe of women we can be targeting,” she said.
An October online survey commissioned by the group showed Clinton leads among women who were somewhat less likely to caucus, Hesla said. The survey also identified a need to “demystify the caucus process,” with a majority of respondents saying it would be helpful to have a Web site with caucus information, she said.
The campaign’s first voting state has become so vital that all the Democrats are focused on it. It’s where front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton hopes to begin a no-stumbles sprint to the nomination, and it’s the one place her opponents have a chance to slow her.
Most state and national polls indicate Clinton is strong, but her opponents see reason for hope in just the past couple of weeks. [snip]
Yet if Clinton can win Iowa, she seems headed toward the nomination. She has comfortable leads in the states that follow and tens of millions of dollars to continue a vigorous fight.
First she must get past Iowa, which she has called her “toughest state.”
The state of play in Iowa with 45 pledged delegates:
State polls show a tight race among Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards with the rest of the field lagging behind. But polling is notoriously difficult among potential caucus participants, making the true state of play very difficult to gauge.
Clinton’s strategists believe a key source of potential strength lies with women who have never attended one of the state’s 1,784 precinct caucuses. The campaign is building a “buddy system” to match experienced caucus participants with the novices, and is offering transportation and child care.
The Obama campaign has a similar strategy with young voters, connecting them with veteran caucus goers. The “Barack Stars” are high school seniors supporting the Illinois senator – they can vote in caucuses if they’ll turn 18 by the time of the general election Nov. 4 – and he has strong support among college students.
Edwards is concentrating on a strategy that served him well four years ago when he finished a close second in Iowa – bringing out the reliable caucus goers, particularly in rural areas. He’s the only Democratic candidate to have visited all 99 Iowa counties, and the 2004 vice presidential nominee has gotten some key labor support here.
The state of play in New Hampshire with 22 pledged delegates:
Clinton’s once-commanding lead in New Hampshire has diminished somewhat in recent weeks, but it’s still in the range of 11 to 15 percentage points. Her strategy here is to build a New Hampshire firewall that would withstand an unpredictable outcome in Iowa.
Clinton has traveled to each of New Hampshire’s 10 counties and has secured the backing of most of the Democratic establishment. The campaign has made more than 250,000 phone calls to voters.
Obama has started advertising in New Hampshire and is courting Democrats as well as the independents who can participate in the party’s primary. His campaign stages house-to-house canvassing and phone banks every night and weekend, with 800 people knocking on doors one weekend in November. “When people begin to decide, we’re going to be at their doors,” said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.
Edwards is in a distant third place here. He has more than 60 staff on the ground and bought air time touting his health care plan in commercials that were already airing in Iowa.
The state of play in Michigan with 128 pledged delegates (Hillary pretty much has won this state already because most of the other candidates have foolishly insulted Michigan and pulled their names from the ballot):
The parties wanted a state-run primary on Jan. 15, and the Michigan Supreme Court gave the go-ahead this week. It could be irrelevant to the candidates, however. They’ve signed a pledge to skip the state if it goes ahead and holds the contest that early -against the early-primary rules of the national party.
The state of play in Nevada with 25 pledged delegates:
Clinton is far-and-away the leader in Nevada with double the support of Obama in a recent poll.
The Clinton and Obama campaigns have been working with experienced Iowa caucus organizers, developing a precinct-by-precinct system similar to Iowa’s. Edwards moved staff from Nevada to Iowa over the summer, but recently has added organizers back to his Nevada operation.
The campaigns are awaiting a coveted endorsement expected in early December – that of the 60,000-member Culinary Union, which represents most employees on the Las Vegas strip.
The state of play in South Carolina with 45 pledged delegates:
Clinton holds a wide lead in most polls, and the campaign is working to reinforce her position in South Carolina amid an expected strong challenge from Obama. He is running to become the first black president, and blacks make up about 50 percent of Democratic primary voters in the state.
Campaign officials note two major advantages for Clinton in the state: her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and her strength among older voters and women, no matter what skin color. Former President Clinton remains popular among blacks and has campaigned extensively for his wife here.
Obama has been advertising on three dozen black radio stations across the state – the most recent spot features him talking about growing up without his father.
Edwards, who was born in South Carolina, won the state’s primary in 2004. But he’s been polling a distant third this time. Last week he became the first Democratic presidential candidate to advertise on South Carolina television, touting his roots.
The state of play in Florida with 185 delegates (Hillary has pretty much won this state already too. Hillary is very far ahead in the polls and none of the candidates can campaign in Florida.)
Florida falls under the candidates’ pledge not to campaign in states that violate national party rules in scheduling their nominating contests. Florida plans to hold a primary a week earlier than allowed.
The candidates have not been holding campaign events in Florid, but still have been aggressively raising money there.
The Super Duper February 5, 2008 25 states with minimum 1,370 delegates:
With 370 pledged delegates, California remains the biggest prize. Clinton maintains a wide lead in California polls, and has launched “Hillcorps,” an extensive volunteer outreach effort. Obama is holding “Camp Obama” training for volunteer organizers in California and in other Feb. 5 states such as Georgia, Missouri, Alabama and Illinois, his home state.
Clinton is expected to cruise in her home state of New York and neighboring New Jersey. Besides the large delegate states, Obama’s campaign is focusing on caucus states like Colorado and Minnesota where local organizations are necessary for victory.
Edwards does not have staff in Feb. 5 states, banking that a win in Iowa can propel him to victory elsewhere, particularly Southern states such as Arkansas and his home state of North Carolina.
Richardson is counting on strong support in New Mexico and other Western states, including Colorado, Arizona and Wyoming. But he’ll have to beat expectations elsewhere to make it that far.
Things look good with 40 days until the first voting date (remember those absentee ballots though, Hillary Team).
Maybe we misjudged the quality of Tim Russert’s questions.
At the time of the Halloween debate, we appropriately criticized Russert for leading the assault on Hillary, with wedge issue questions, while asking Obama little of substance.
Russert questioned Obama as to his choice of Halloween costume. We mocked Russert’s question. Now as we recall that Obama answered he would wear a Mitt Romney mask, perhaps we were wrong. It turns out Obama decided to adopt Romney not just as a mask but as a role model too.
Recently the Obama campaign was in full drama mode over a Ripublican Bob Novak column. Mitt Romney too was in full drama mode. There were similarities to both dramas:
Former Bay State Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign furiously denied rumors yesterday that his own supporters were involved in calls placed to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire that spread anti-Romney smears under the guise of conducting a poll.
Political strategists and bloggers slung accusations at Romney’s camp yesterday after a scathing article appeared in the National Review titled “Did Mitt Romney Push Poll Himself?” which identified several Romney supporters at Western Wats, a Utah-based firm believed to have made the calls. The practice of using phony polls to plant a negative message is commonly known as push-polling. [snip]
Among the questions asked during the 20-minute calls placed last week were whether the person polled knew Romney received Vietnam-era military deferments while serving in the Mormon missionary in France, that none of his sons served in the military and that the Mormon religion didn’t accept blacks as bishops until the 1970s. [snip]
The National Review article cited sources who speculated Romney’s camp put the hit out on itself “because his campaign wanted polling data regarding the negative perception of his Mormon faith for internal use.” But others speculated a motivation to pre-empt attacks on Romney’s faith.
Deepening the mystery surrounding the anti-Mormon polling calls, the Romney campaign is confirming that it referred reporters to two recipients of the calls without disclosing that the two were also on the Romney campaign payroll, TPM Election Central has learned.
In response to questions from TPM Election Central, Romney spokesman Kevin Madden confirmed that the campaign had failed to disclose this info to reporters. Madden suggested that the campaign had identified them as “supporters,” which is a far cry from being directly paid by the campaign, as the two call recipients were.
The revelation could add grist to the theory — now spreading on conservative blogs and even getting coverage by news organizations — that the Romney campaign itself is behind the calls. Some have speculated that the calls — which attack Romney and refer to his Mormon faith while saying positive things about McCain — are an effort by the campaign to test negative messages about itself while getting McCain blamed for the calls.
The new revelation could give more ammo to those who question whether the firm making the calls — which is already reported to have on staff several people who have donated to the Romney campaign — knowingly called Romney supporters because they could be counted on to tell the press about the calls and to suggest to reporters that Romney rival John McCain was behind them.
It also raises the question of whether the Romney campaign referred reporters to the callers — without disclosing their relationship with the campaign — for the same purpose.
Over the weekend, Robert Novak printed what used to be called a “blind item” but now is called “daily journalism.”
Novak wrote: “Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed.”
The item probably would have died a quiet death — there have been a number of presidential candidate scandal rumors percolating on the Web that have not gotten much attention — when Obama assured that it would reach critical mass.
Obama issued a vigorous and lengthy statement saying the Novak item was “devoid of facts” and was “Swift Boat politics.”
But the guilty party, Obama made clear, was not Novak; it was Clinton.
“If the purpose of this shameless item was to daunt or discourage me or supporters of our campaign from challenging and changing the politics of Washington, it will fail,” Obama said in language that neatly fit into his campaign theme. “In fact, it will only serve to steel our resolve.”
And he issued a challenge: “In the interest of our party, and her own reputation, Sen. Clinton should make either public any and all information referred to in the item, or concede the truth: that there is none.”
Obama also whacked Clinton for hypocrisy, because she had stated during last Thursday’s debate in Las Vegas that she did not like the politics of “throwing mud” but was now engaging in it herself.
Politico listed several reasons for the Obama reaction, two of which we find interesting: “it served as inoculation so that if more stories surface, Obama can claim they are just more Clinton-inspired dirty tricks” and “it shifted press attention away from Obama’s poor debate performance in Las Vegas and onto Hillary’s allegedly poor behavior in leaking scurrilous information.”
Obama does not want to answer questions about Rezko or about his previous non-public life. Any question about Obama’s ethics and associations and finances is blasted as being “old”, “answered”, or “swiftboating”. But all the questions about Rezko are recent, open and relevant.
If Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Hillary Clinton’s campaign told him that they had some dirt on Obama, would Obama’s staff react as they did to the Robert Novak column of November 17? And yes, I am putting Novak in the same category as the crazy Iranian leader. Novak has damaged U.S. national security as much as Ahmadinejad with his exposure of Valerie Plame and the subsequent destruction of her clandestine intelligence network.
Why has Senator Barack Obama kept the Novak story alive through repeated statements for days? Is he just naïve or is he misinformed? Is he really so unfamiliar with the journalistic incest of Washington and Novak’s status as a Republican hit man? Why would Obama focus his campaign on unfounded “smears” circulated by Novak? Why would Obama, the candidate of “hope,” pump up the claims of Novak, “the prince of darkness”?
Larry Johnson, author of Why is Obama in Bed with Karl Rove? needs to read this site more often. For Obama smears is normal operating procedure:
The Republican smear masters had already tipped their hand for dealing with Hillary Clinton. Look at Karl Rove’s debut column in Newsweek, where he lays out the strategy that Obama appears to be parroting:
“And so the question to John McCain from a woman at a town hall in South Carolina last Monday was tasteless, but key: ‘How do we beat the [rhymes with witch]?’ Right now, Republicans are focusing much of their fire on Senator Clinton. Criticizing her unites the party, stirs up the unsettled feelings many swing voters have toward her and allows each candidate to say why he is best able to beat her.”
With Rove’s instructions to Republicans in mind, take a new look at Obama’s reaction to Novak. Is Obama wearing a wrist bracelet that says, “what would Karl Rove do”?
Robert Novak is a seasoned conservative columnist with a long history of publishing falsehoods, distortions and gossip. And he has been in bed with Karl Rove in running “information ops” against democrats. For decades he has been renowned for inflating shreds of tidbits of rumors into major stories to support various Republican efforts. In 1992, Karl Rove, one of Novak’s regular sources, was fired from the campaign of President George H.W. Bush for leaking derogatory information to Novak about Bush’s campaign manager and friend, Robert Mosbacher. In 2003, Rove again served as a source to Novak, leaking the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson. Even though the CIA warned Novak not to disclose her CIA identity in the interests of national security, he did so, insuring that Rove got a copy of the column before it was published. In 2004, Novak promoted the smear campaign of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth against Senator John Kerry’s heroic Vietnam War record. When it was revealed that Novak’s son was the marketing director for the right-wing publisher of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth tract defaming Kerry, Novak expressed disdain about the conflict-of-interest: “I don’t think it’s relevant.”
By his own admission Novak’s latest hyped controversy has no basis in fact. On November 17, he wrote, “Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it.” His sourcing consisted of “word of mouth” and unnamed “experienced Democratic operatives.” Two days later, on Fox News, where Novak is a commentator, he confessed that he had heard a rumor from someone who had heard a rumor from someone. In short, he had no facts, perhaps explaining why Novak has been dubbed “No Facts” for years.
Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson’s categorical statement would seem to have put an end to this pseudo-event: “The Clinton campaign has nothing to do with this item.” But it did not end. Instead, it is being kept artificially alive.
As soon as Novak published his rumor, Obama elevated and dignified it as though it had credibility. “But in the interest of our party, and her own reputation, Senator Clinton should either make public any and all information referred to in the item, or concede the truth: that there is none,” he declared. Obama turned the alleged smear upside down. Rather than acknowledge that the predictable right-wing smear artist Novak was responsible for the innuendo, Obama accused Senator Clinton of being ultimately to blame. With this extraordinary statement, Obama lashed himself to Novak’s credibility as a reliable source on a story that transparently lacked any true source.
Larry, Larry, Larry — we deal with Obama’s smears every day – Obama knows exactly what he is doing.
Even when the Clinton campaign forthrightly again denied the item was false and that no one involved in the campaign had anything to do with it, Obama’s campaign refused to let the matter die. Obama campaign manager David Plouffe once again accused Senator Clinton and her campaign of doing what Novak claimed: “Are ‘agents’ of their campaign spreading these rumors? And do they have ‘scandalous’ information that they are not releasing?”
Once again, the Clinton campaign openly stated it had nothing to do with the story at all. Then, Plouffe made another statement that suggested Obama had somehow wrung a confession out of the Clinton campaign and still implied that it was behind Novak’s lie: “The Clinton campaign has admitted that they do not possess the ‘scandalous information’ in question and we take them at their word. But what we don’t accept is their assertion that this is somehow falling for Republican tricks.”
The following day, November 19, Obama began a new line of attack, picking up a discredited story circulated months ago. “I’m not in this race to fulfill some long-held plan or because it was owed to me,” Obama said. An Obama spokesperson reinforced the point: “Barack Obama has not been mapping out his run for president from Washington for the last 20 years like some of his opponents.”
Wow, Larry Johnson does get it.
But where did this new attack originate? Just as he had used Novak’s false story for the previous two days, now he tried to damage Senator Clinton’s reputation by using another patently false story. Months ago, Jeff Gerth, the reporter who spent years hyping the Whitewater fables as real, and his co-author Dale Van Natta, attempted to promote their anti-Hillary screed, “Her Way,” with the supposedly startling revelation that Hillary and planned to run for president 20 years ago. But Gerth and Van Natta had no actual source. And the one source to whom they did attribute the story, Pulitzer Prize winning historian Taylor Branch, was someone they never interviewed and who told the Washington Post, “The story is preposterous. I never heard either Clinton talk about a ‘plan’ for them both to become president.”
Despite this story’s exposure as false for months, Obama eagerly exploited it to try to portray Senator Clinton as Lady Macbeth. First using Novak and then Gerth for his materials, he painted her as a dirty trickster, dishonest and recklessly ambitious.
But why does Obama do this? Once Novak’s story was exposed as a smear itself, why didn’t he stop? Why did he keep it going? And why did he revive the Gerth falsehood to tarnish Senator Clinton’s character?
Obama’s tactics appear in sync with Rove’s script. His feigned victimhood is a negative attack on Senator Clinton’s character to drive the numbers, which in turn Obama hopes will determine the nomination. While posing above the fray, but executing Rove’s strategy and exploiting Novak’s innuendo, Obama has embraced the audacity of hype.
“Audacity of hype” is a weak description of what Obama is doing. A correspondent sent us this:
“all his moves and attacks are in this manner, being dirty, and stupid (i guess his stupidity and the willingness of the press to play along is really what bothers me) and then hiding behind high-minded rhetoric is the CLASSIC bush move – and it IS NOT that the deomcrats went along, as obama says and dirties the well for his own party. it’s the media that really fell for it, and created a political climate in which it was very hard to oppose bush, because doing so would get you hammered in the press. If the democrats were tougher from the begining, yes they might have been able to stop that, but you need massive organizational, coordinated strenght like the republicans have wielded in the past 20 years to push things in the other direction. And when Obama comes out and attacks the democrats it’s just a form of sabotage – shows that this guy cares nothing but for himself – ofcourse he actually believes progressive ideas, but when you are so self-obsessed with yourself, and dastardly as he is, the actual result is counterproductive to the overall progressive effort. He has gotten so caught up in his own abilities, that he is sacrificing everything he thinks he believes in. That’s the other reason Im pissed- it’s hubris in the most classical greek sense, his story really is the backbone of greek tragedy, because everything he does is self-inflicted. Anyway, just a real lowlife all around, not taking a shot at the media, because as we discussed he really craves these peoples respect, not realizing they deserve nothing but contempt”
Sounds about right to us. Obama’s models appear to be his cousin Cheney, Romney and Rove.