Friday :: Dec 14, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Unconscionable and Despicable Mudslinging

by eriposte

No Democrat should be bringing up the past personal lives of other Democrats in discussions on electability and especially not in a way that has racial overtones. So, I was thankful to see that Billy Shaheen apologized and resigned after his completely out of line comments against Sen. Obama. This follows the incident where two campaign volunteers of the Clinton campaign were fired after it was discovered that they had forwarded along a despicable smear email about Sen. Obama that they had received (unlike a Clinton staffer who had responded to the source of the same email by denouncing it and calling it "racist and ignorant").

That said, there are others who ought to resign or be fired as well - although I would guess that Chris Matthews and Joe Trippi* don't agree. For example (emphasis mine, throughout this post):

[Obama's] campaign staffers, too, have become frustrated by the focus of the media’s attention, specifically that the press has not covered Clinton in the way they expected it would. During an interview this summer, Obama’s friend Valerie Jarrett said to me, unbidden, “He is a man who is devoted to his wife. There aren’t going to be any skeletons in his closet in terms of his personal life at all. Period.” And at a campaign event in Iowa, one of Obama’s aides plopped down next to me and spoke even more bluntly. He wanted to know when reporters would begin to look into Bill Clinton’s postpresidential sex life.

I'm not sure who got fired for this:

The Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama said his campaign made a "dumb mistake" when it circulated a memo criticizing Hillary Rodham Clinton's financial ties to India.

Obama on Monday disavowed the memo, which was headlined, "Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)," a play on the standard reference to a candidate's party and constituency. The memo referred to investments in India by former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton; her fund-raising among Indian-Americans; and the former president's $300,000 in speech fees from Cisco, a company that has moved U.S. jobs to India.

"It was a dumb mistake on our campaign's part, and I made it clear to my staff in no uncertain terms that it was a mistake," Obama said, referring to the memo as "unnecessarily caustic."

The memo has created a furor in the Indian-American community and raised questions about Obama's claims that he is above attack politics, which are epitomized by secretly distributing opposition research about a rival.
Obama's campaign sent the memo to some reporters Thursday, demanding that it not be attributed to the campaign.

Unlike the Clinton campaign, which has the bad habit of firing people or making people resign when they do things they should not be doing, another campaign had (has?) a different standard on smears:

Asked about the document, Bill Burton, a spokesman for Mr. Obama, said: “We did give reporters a series of comments she made on the record and other things that are publicly available to anyone who has access to the Internet. I don’t see why anyone would take umbrage with that.”

Asked why the Obama campaign had initially insisted that it not be connected to the document, Mr. Burton replied, “I’m going to leave my comment at that.” ..

I also don't recall seeing any resignations or firings over this incident discussed by Taylor Marsh where Sen. Obama decried Sen. Clinton's hypocrisy on the "politics of personal destruction":

Remember that Novak column? You know, the one that warned the Clinton camp was ready to spread dirt on Obama that had Barack parroting the Prince of Darkness's drivel in a statement about being "swiftboated."

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. ... ..

Hillary vs. Obama?

As the Clinton campaign said at the time, Novak was full of it. Howard Wolfson:

Once again Senator Obama is echoing Republican talking points, this time from Bob Novak.

This is how Republicans work.

A Republican-leaning journalist runs a blind item designed to set Democrats against one another. Experienced Democrats see this for what it is. Others get distracted and thrown off their games.

Voters should be concerned about the readiness of any Democrat inexperienced enough to fall for this.

There is a campaign in this race that has engaged in the very practice that Senator Obama is decrying, and it's his.

We have no idea what Mr. Novak's item is about and reject it totally. Instead of pointing fingers at us, Senator Obama should get back to the issues and focus on what this election is really about.

According to Ben Smith, we once again learn that believing anything Novak says is a mistake. Smith reports that tomorrow's Novak column will allegedly say that the "scandal" was nothing but the information on Obama's Hopefund PAC. In early December, Clinton challenged the legalities of what Obama's team was doing with Hopefund in regards to election law on her presidential site, making no secret about it. Also, it's not very sexy stuff. It raised some sharp criticism in some places about Obama's PAC, but it's not exactly "scandalous information," now is it? In the end, everyone yawned and moved on. It wasn't anything near the pitch of Obama's big presser. As Ben Smith states, it's also unlikely any reader had election law in mind when Obama went screaming to the media about Novak's gossip, obviously in the hopes of sliming Clinton for dirty tricks. Who caares if the campaign denied it and it wasn't true? It had the added benefit of taking the attention way from Obama's dismal debate performance out of Las Vegas.

Obama jumped the gun and was quick to go after a Democrat, even when the Plamegate traitor Novak was involved. At least Mr. Obama let's us know his priorities.

To quote Greg Sargent, any chance we can all agree not to waste our time talking about it the next time Novak says something like this?

We didn't have to talk about it in the first place if Obama had understood that taking bait from Novak, a congenital trouble maker for Democrats, is never a good idea. Let right-wing talking points lie.

And I didn't see any firings or resignations after this incident either:

In August, Obama’s team scored a significant hit by helping to place a story in several newspapers revealing that Norman Hsu, a major Clinton donor, had skipped town after having pleaded no contest to a charge of grand theft 15 years earlier and still faced an outstanding warrant... (Hsu had also contributed to Obama.)

Well, I am gratified that Sen. Obama is "against" the "politics of personal destruction" and runs a campaign with complete accountability, unlike the Clinton campaign.

As for Sen. Clinton - who I am supporting, I am beginning to think that perhaps some of the downdraft in her polling has more to do with stuff like this - I guess we'll never find out who all the volunteers and staffers are that are forwarding this junk, will we?

Chase Martyn, managing editor of Iowa Independent, is on my radio show every Wednesday....The rough transcript of Chase's response is below, but listen to the podcast of my radio show to get the full story.

....Obama has been the subject of a lot of different types of emails. But I should also say though that on a daily basis I get far worse emails accusing Hillary Clinton of things than anything... .. ... but the things I get told about Hillary Clinton on a daily basis are just so much worse. ... ..

P.S. *The Trippi reference is to call out his bald-faced mendacity (see here for why) in yesterday's Spitball with Chris Fabulist Matthews:

PENN: Really, the change was not in us. The change was that both Senator Edwards and Obama went negative, clearly so. Senator Obama announced on the front page of "The New York Times" he was going negative. And they went negative in that debate.

TRIPPI: There`s -- there`s no one -- there`s absolutely no one -- no one who`s watching any of this believes that. We all know what`s happened here.

PENN: Well, come on, Chris. You have got the tapes. Replay them.

Anyone want to bet that Matthews is even remotely interested in reporting the truth?

eriposte :: 1:21 AM :: Comments (18) :: Digg It!