Friday :: Jan 11, 2008

Rumor, Hysteria, and Reflexive Hillary-bashing

by Turkana

Yesterday, the internet went viral with claims that New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo made an odious racist remark about Senator Obama. Even though Cuomo doesn't even have an official capacity with the Clinton campaign, she, once again, was held personally accountable, as if she is responsible for every person who merely supports her. Well, it turns out that Cuomo didn't actually say what he was purported to have said.

The Albany Times Union has this update:

The transcript, that is, that includes Wednesday’s remark during which AG Andrew Cuomo said politicians can’t “shuck and jive at a press conference,” but instead have to answer questions in person in people’s homes when they campaigning in small primary/caucus states such as NH or Iowa, which demand lots of personal interaction.

I’ve been getting some panicky calls from Cuomo’s office, who are concerned that in today’s web-driven political culture, the comment is going viral and could be used to accuse Cuomo of making a racially divisive remark about Barack Obama, who narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s NH primary.

Of course, it did go viral, as does every rumor that can be used to demonize Senator Clinton. But the Times Union now offers the actual transcript of Cuomo's comments:

You know I’ve spent a lot of time in other races, especially in Iowa and in New Hampshire, back with Gore and back with Clinton. Those races require you to do something no other race does, you know, and I like it, and I agree with you, it’s a good thing. It’s not a TV-crazed race, you know, you can’t just buy your way through that race [FD: Airport press conference and the media markets…..], it doesn’t work that way, it’s frankly a more demanding process. You have to get on a bus, you have to go into a diner, you have to shake hands, you have to sit down with ten people in a living room. You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference, you can’t just put off reporters, because you have real people looking at you saying answer the question, you know, and all those moves you can make with the press don’t work when you’re in someone’s living room. And I think it’s good for the candidates, I think it makes the candidates communicate in a way that works with real people because you know in a living room right away whether or not you’re communicating, and I think the questions are good and I think the scrutiny is good, so you can, you can say they’re small states and they get a lot of attention — they are very good for the process, I believe that.

In other words, he wasn't talking about Senator Obama, at all. He was talking about the game of politics, in general, and all politicians, in general. His actual comments on Senator Obama? Politico's Ben Smith offers this:

"Barack Obama is a beautiful symbol. He's a powerful speaker. He's a charismatic figure. And what he has to say is important for the Democrats," Cuomo says in the interview, with the New York Post's Fred Dicker.

Will the Obama supporters who have used this misreported story now apologize to Cuomo and Clinton? I'm guessing not. Will Senator Obama be held accountable for the despicable comments of his own campaign co-chair? I'm guessing not. This race is getting ugly, and it's going to take a great deal of effort to get people to focus on the honest facts.

(h/t standingup; and those of you visiting from Wonkette: look!)

Turkana :: 9:28 AM :: Comments (42) :: Digg It!