There has been a lot of huffing and puffing this past weekend from the Obama campaign about a (Ripublican) Bob Novak column. Here at Big Pink we have ignored the story. We know better.
We know that Obama and the little that remains of his campaign is looking for any excuse, any excuse, to change the conversation from the thumping he received at the Las Vegas debate.
Obama gambled that he could bamboozle and charm and mudsling his way to the presidency but now, as they say in Vegas, Obama crapped out.
After the Halloween debate when Tim Russert led the attacks against Hillary we wrote this blunt assessment in The Real Danger:
The real danger for Hillary Clinton, the Hillary Team and Hillary supporters is that after Tuesday night’s debate there is now a template for attacking Hillary. Big Media, the debate “moderators” – Russert in particular, and other candidates for the Democratic Party nomination attacked Hillary in a united probably coordinated manner.
The Hillary Team has responded to the Russert/Obama/Edwards template effectively. The Las Vegas debate conclusively demonstrated that the attack Hillary template has been smashed by Hillary’s outstanding win in Las Vegas.
Obama is now forced to go back to his desperate and futile attacks.
Here in brief is what happened this past weekend and the results:
Bob Novak took to the airwaves today to defend his recent controversial column, in which he claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was sitting on a bit of juicy dirt concerning her rival, Sen. Barack Obama.
Why the need to defend? Well, to put it bluntly, Novak’s Saturday column has been ridiculed as – among the more noteworthy descriptions — “shamelessly unethical” and “unconfirmed crap,” for naming no names and containing no tangible information. So, to clear up the facts and keep his name in the news cycle, Novak went on Fox News this morning.
Novak disclosed that his source for the story was not anyone close to Clinton but rather, someone who was “told by an agent of the Clinton campaign” about the alleged dirt. Got that? So Novak was not privy to the dirt itself, nor did he talk to Clinton’s people. Rather, he heard it from someone who had heard it from someone else. Another secondary source, Novak went on to say, claimed to have heard the same thing. Fact-checking = completed.
For the record, in the original column, Novak suggested he had more personal knowledge of that rumor-mongering. “Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton,” the piece began, “are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination…” There was no mention of a source.
Also during his Fox appearance, Novak used his unconfirmed rumor to further smear Clinton, calling her campaign’s supposed tactic “very similar to the kind of tricks that Richard Nixon used to pull, where he would say, ‘I know some very bad information about the communists supporting George McGovern, but I can’t put that out because it wouldn’t be right, because I’m too good of a guy.'” Again, Novak is dragging down both Obama and Clinton.
And if it seems that this whole episode was just concocted up by some Republican operative to make Clinton and Obama look bad, rest assured.
Desperate Obama, like desperate Edwards, is working mud in hand with Ripublicans to smear Hillary.
Marc Ambinder identifies the Obama rumor. Readers of Big Pink know this is no rumor – it is reality. Ripublicans know that Rezko and Michelle’s hospital dealings are a big problem for Obama. Here’s the Ambinder story:
The murmured charge is that as an Illinois state senator, Mr. Obama engaged in a real estate deal that benefited him in exchange for legislative favors. In short, what might pass for standard operating procedure in the Illinois legislature could nonetheless prove embarrassing to someone campaigning as a paragon of political virtue for president. So far, however, no proof of the allegation has been presented.Pretty thin stuff. And haven’t we heard the Tony Rezko tale already?
Ambinder has heard only some of the Rezko stuff. Obviously he needs to read The Case of the Missing State Senator.
Obama at the time was a State Senator representing the mostly African-Americans who lived in the Rezko owned tenements. These residents of the Rezko owned tenements presumably contacted elected officials when they found themselves living in substandard housing and freezing in the winter. Where was Obama with consitutent services? Obama should have known and it strains credulity to think he did not know. Obama had helped Rezko obtain government subsidies for these tenements and we presume some type of due diligence was performed by Obama in which he would uncover the nature of the Rezko housing.
In that same article we quoted from the Chicago Sun-Times:
”Obama, who has worked as a lawyer and a legislator to improve living conditions for the poor, took campaign donations from Rezko even as Rezko’s low-income housing empire was collapsing, leaving many African-American families in buildings riddled with problems — including squalid living conditions, vacant apartments, lack of heat, squatters and drug dealers. The building in Englewood was one of 30 Rezmar rehabbed in a series of troubled deals largely financed by taxpayers. Every project ran into financial difficulty. More than half went into foreclosure, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found. “Their buildings were falling apart,” said a former city official. “They just didn’t pay attention to the condition of these buildings.” Eleven of Rezko’s buildings were in Obama’s state Senate district.“
We concluded The Case of the Missing State Senator by writing:
When it came time to defend the defenseless or protect and enrich the powerful. Obama made a decision. He protected his powerful friends and provided them with even more government money. Same old Chicago politics. The poor shivered in cold tenements. Obama bought a new house. Now he wants a bigger White House to entertain his Chicago friends.
Maybe now Big Media will understand why Obama is hiding his state senate records. What did Obama know and when did he know it? Clearly Ripublicans know about this story and its devastaing impact were Obama ever to get the Democratic nomination.
TPM had a little more on Obama’s Novak “turn the page” gambit:
In case you missed it, Novak’s column prompted a furious exchange between the Hillary and Obama camps. Critics lined up to blast Novak for putting out such murkily sourced info.
Now Novak has “clarified” his sourcing: It’s second-hand. In the interview, he says he was told of this by someone who was “told by an agent of the Clinton campaign.”
Not content with all his previous smears and mud slinging, Obama now literally takes a page out of the Ripublican smear book:
Barack Obama has unveiled a new line of criticism against Hillary: In speeches he’s started to point to the allegation made in Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta’s Hillary book that the Clintons secretly formulated a 20-year-plan to deliver the presidency first to Bill, and then to Hillary.
“I’m not in this race to fulfill some long-held plan or because it was owed to me,” Obama said the other day.
Asked if that were a reference to the Gerth allegation, an Obama spokesperson left virtually no doubt that it was, telling Newsday: “Barack Obama has not been mapping out his run for president from Washington for the last 20 years like some of his opponents.”
But the source that Gerth and Van Natta cited with supposed first-hand knowledge of this plan — historian Taylor Branch — has since vehemently denied that any such pact existed. “The story is preposterous,” Branch told The Washington Post, adding: “I never heard either Clinton talk about a ‘plan’ for them both to become president.”
It’s hard to see how the use of Gerth’s allegations could possibly play well among Dem activists. Many of them dislike Gerth for his role in “breaking” the Whitewater story and see Gerth’s book as an anti-Hillary hatchet job.
Congratulations Obama, you have sunk to a new low.
Hillary meanwhile lays out the case for her clear-headed, experienced leadership. We especially appreciate Hillary denouncing Obama/Ripublican fear mongering to destroy Social Security:
The economy needs help and fast, Hillary Rodham Clinton declared Monday, claiming the experience for the job and saying the nation can’t afford to break in a newcomer.
In speech that kicked off a two day campaign swing through Iowa, the New York senator painted a bleak picture of a U.S. economy battered by home foreclosures, rising oil prices and lack of good jobs for middle class workers.
The former first lady compared the situation to 1992, when her husband ran against the first President Bush.
“There seems to be a pattern here. It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush,” she said to applause.
Without mentioning names, she suggested Democratic rival Barack Obama – less than three years into his first term in the Senate – and other candidates lack the experience necessary to address the nation’s myriad fiscal challenges.
“There is one job we can’t afford on-the-job training for – our next president. That could be the costliest job training in history,” Clinton said. “Every day spent learning the ropes is another day of rising costs, mounting deficits and growing anxiety for our families. And they cannot afford to keep waiting.” [snip]
The former first lady, speaking in a community gymnasium, outlined steps she said she would take to stem the housing crisis and help consumers in cold-weather states pay to heat their homes. Among other things, she said she would create a $1 billion fund for states to help homeowners who risk foreclosure.
She also addressed global challenges to the economy, including funds controlled by foreign governments to invest in U.S. stocks, real estate and businesses. She called for greater transparency for such funds, which are currently not required to disclose their assets or investment returns.
While she directed much of her criticism at the Bush administration and GOP presidential candidates, the subtext of Clinton’s speech was clear: She has more detailed understanding of U.S. economic woes than her rivals. [snip]
Her speech also tackled the issue of Social security.
In recent weeks, Clinton and Obama have traded barbs over the retirement program for seniors, which is forecast to run out of money around 2041 Presently, the first $97,500 in individual income is subject to the Social Security tax – a level Obama has said must be increased in order to keep the program solvent.
Clinton has refused to say what she would do as president to preserve Social Security but has insisted such a tax increase would place an undue burden on middle class families.
She reiterated that point Monday, even suggesting that Social Security is not under imminent threat.
“We don’t need more Republican scare tactics about a ‘Social Security crisis,'” Clinton said. “And we don’t need a trillion-dollar tax increase that will hit families already facing higher energy, health care and college costs. What we need is to focus on the real crises of health care and Medicare, and on expanding opportunities for poor, working and middle class families who are struggling now.”
Hillary is ready to lead from day 1. Americans don’t need Rezko economics in the White House.