Sunday :: Mar 23, 2008

How an Election Campaign Works - Part 1


by eriposte

Yesterday, we had the "pleasure" of talking about the offensive statements from two of Sen. Obama's key foreign policy advisors - Retired General Tony McPeak and Zbigniew Brzezinski. Today, let's look at three other key advisors/surrogates (Greg Craig, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and former Sen. Tom Daschle) and their recent statements. I'm going to borrow much of the content from Scan's more extensive post at MyDD titled "It's Called Swiftboating" [*see my footnote]. (We've reviewed The Art of Swift-Baiting before.)

1. Greg Craig, a key Foreign Policy Advisor to Sen. Obama

Greg Craig on March 11, 2008:

Hillary Clinton’s argument that she has passed “the Commander- in-Chief test” is simply not supported by her record.

Greg Craig on March 14, 2008:

No, I think, look -- I think she would be a capable commander in chief.

2. Sen. Ted Kennedy, a key Advisor to Sen. Obama

Sen. Ted Kennedy on July 31, 1997 (talking about SCHIP, emphasis mine throughout this post):

..."we pay tribute to Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton has made the issue of children's health and well-being her really first priority in this country, and she was of invaluable help, both in the fashioning and the shaping of the program, and also as a clear advocate, in terms of having an effective outcome, during the discussion and the debate on the children's health issue." [Federal News Service, 7/30/97; Vote #209, 7/31/97]

Sen. Ted Kennedy on October 6, 2007:

"The children's health program wouldn't be in existence today if we didn't have Hillary pushing for it from the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue," Kennedy told The Associated Press.

President Clinton signed the bill in August 1997.

While Kennedy is widely viewed as the driving force behind the program, by all accounts the former first lady's pressure was crucial.

"She wasn't a legislator, she didn't write the law, and she wasn't the president, so she didn't make the decisions," says Nick Littlefield, then a senior health adviser to Kennedy. "But we relied on her, worked with her and she was pivotal in encouraging the White House to do it."

[Another article...]

..."She was a one-woman army inside the White House to get this done," Mr. Littlefield of the Health, Education and Labor Committee said. He said that he and Senator Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who was the major force behind the bill, enlisted Mrs. Clinton's help in the spring of 1997...

Sen. Ted Kennedy on March 14, 2008:

Asked whether Clinton was exaggerating her role in creating SCHIP, Kennedy, stopped in the hallway as he was entering the chamber to vote, half-shrugged.

"Facts are stubborn things," he said, declining to criticize Clinton directly. "I think we ought to stay with the facts."

Yes, Sen. Kennedy, facts are certainly stubborn things.

3. Former Sen. Tom Daschle, a key Advisor to Sen. Obama

Bob Somerby has this on former Sen. Tom Daschle's Ode to Matt Drudge (emphasis in original):

MISTER DRUDGE SI, NEWSMAX NO: Bill Kristol made a major misstatement in yesterday’s column about Obama. Just like that, Josh Marshal swung into action, snarkily saying that Kristol “forg[ot] that fact-checking is important, even in a hit piece.” In this subsequent post, even the superlative Greg Sargent had some fun, rolling his eyes at the idea that Kristol’s misstatement was “based on reporting by NewsMax, of all things.” (By the way, what ever happened to Horse’s Mouth? We could guess—but we hate such vile conduct.)

For ourselves, we got a bit snarky too—when we read these posts. After all, it was just a few weeks ago that many liberal “lovable losers” were happily citing Matt Drudge as a way to trash Hillary Clinton. Just to establish the historical record, we’ve been meaning to post this exchange from the Charlie Rose show, which we mentioned in real time. Let’s see if we have the current rules straight. Citing NewsMax is abhorrent. Citing Mister Drudge is OK:

ROSE (3/3/08): What did you think when they released the photo to Drudge of Obama in tribal clothing?

DASCHLE: What it said to me was that they still haven’t learned, you know. We thought that after the South Carolina experience, where race was raised, that they had been burned adequately. That led them to believe that this isn’t going to work, and that we shouldn’t be exploiting that kind of tactic again. But nonetheless, it happened. It was a desperate move on the part of some—somebody in the campaign. Hillary of course denies it.

ROSE: Are you convinced that it came from the Clinton campaign to Drudge?

DASCHLE: I’m not convinced of it. Drudge said that it had. Hillary has denied it. Barack has accepted her denial. I’m satisfied with that myself. But if it did come from the Clinton campaign—and again, as I said, that is what Mr. Drudge has insisted—I think it’s a desperate move.

Here at THE HOWLER, we’ve always liked Daschle. But in that exchange, you see a major Democrat utterly disgracing himself. To state the obvious, Daschle had no earthly idea if that photo “came from the Clinton campaign.” (By the way, that isn’t what “Mister Drudge” had said.) But he was perfectly happy to say that it had (before later admitting his ignorance). All based on what “Mister Drudge has insisted,” of course.

Has insisted! Simply astounding.

At any rate, please remember the rules—at least the rules that obtain this week. It’s outrageous to take your facts from NewsMax. From Mister Drudge? Please! A-OK!

*FOOTNOTE: Why does the MyDD diarist Scan use the swift-boating reference? Well, if you look back at the campaign run by the Swift Boat Veterans against Sen. John Kerry, one of the dead giveaways that they were a pack of liars was that prior to the 2004 election, many of them said positive things about Kerry's leadership and character, among other things - however, once their 2004 campaign got going on behalf of George Bush, they sang a very different tune and directly contradicted what they said previously. For example, see here, here, here, and here to just name a few examples. I am going to give Greg Craig and Sen. Kennedy some benefit of the doubt here and not apply the swift-boating term to them (at least for now).

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