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March 30, 2008



The Plouffe memo is nasty stuff, very characteristic of the nasty memos the campaigns have been firing back and forth for some time now. I do hope the Obama campaign ceases and desists, as there is really almost no upside to it any more. Their goal should not be to get 1% more votes in Pennsylvania through negative attacks on Hillary. Their goal is to look presidential and not screw up horribly for the next two months, and to unite the party for the fall.

I agree the memo implied Hillary has almost no chance, but I continue to think there's a distinction between saying "she has almost no chance" and actually calling for her to drop out. One is a barb, the other is a command.

Ultimately, the criticism in your post only makes sense in the context that Obama should hold himself to a higher standard. Otherwise, it's obviously in his interest to let a negative story for Hillary work its way through the media cycle, particularly if it's not coming from the campaign itself. Politicians in political contests usually do not make a point of diffusing attacks on their rivals.

Compare and contrast:

- The "Hillary should drop out" meme: grows to a crescendo, and at its peak Obama himself makes a clear statement that he disagrees with the criticisms. The statement (or garbled, stronger versions, like MSNBC's "Obama: Clinton should stay in race for White House") makes the top page on all the major media outlets.

- The Wright controversy: grows to a crescendo, and gradually fades after Obama's speech. Once it dies down, Hillary (reading from a carefully prepared statement) makes an attempt to renew the controversy.

So, Obama's campaign is the more negative one?

At any rate, this whole story is pretty pointless. As one saying goes, campaigns don't continue until they run out of hope, they continue until they run out of money. As such, THIS is the real Hillary deathwatch:

D. Cupples


If Hillary drops out for lack of funds, then Obama wins the nomination. These things happen.

About racist remarks: ye, my criticism makes sense only in the higher-standard context. I look at everything he does through that lens, because HE created that standard (however unwittingly).

Forgetting what I know (pieces of context) as I go from argument to argument would be illogical.

About Hillary's mentioning Wright: are you talking about the Philly editorial board interview?


I don't know when or where she said it, but it was a public statement - the "if Wright was my preacher, I would have left the church" statement. She was reading from notes at times when she said it. The words were carefully chosen to be conditional, in an effort to be seen as answering a hypothetical as oppose to directly criticizing Obama. While I have no problem at all with the content of what she said, the point of the comments was to get the story more play.

D. Cupples


I DON'T think that Hillary should bring up Wright sua sponte. I've never thought that it was a real issue.

You're talking about the editorial-board meeting with Scaife. They asked her about it.

As a candidate, I faced a couple of editorial-board interviews: you answer their questions, or they slam you for being evasive when they endorse.

Here's the link: the videos are to the right of Scaife's editorial.

Snark forthcoming, but a valid point: Obama must have liked her answer, given that he parroted it on The View after Hillary said it.


Ah yes, Pittsburgh not Philly. Richard Scaife's paper, yeah. The guy who dug up Paula Jones, and the guy who tried to pin the "murder" of Vernon Jordan on the Clintons. That's the guy she sat down with. That's the guy whose endorsement she was seeking. That's... odd.

I found the video - from your least favorite talking head, on your least favorite website:

Yes, she was asked. She knew damn well it was coming up when she sat down with a mudslinger like Scaife. She could have easily said "I reject the statements of rev. Wright, and I believe Barack when he says that he hadn't heard those comments and that he rejects them as well", which would have been a non-story. In stead, she said what she said. It was also echoed by several surrogates during the day. It was a conscious decision.

To be clear - I have no problem whatsoever with the content of Hillary's comment. But I think it's abundantly clear that the situation was crafted to get the Wright story a little more air time. It's negative campaigning - nothing dirty, nothing unusual, but negative.

D. Cupples


I don't remember ever telling you that I don't like Kos. I used to write diaries there back in 2005. I stopped regularly reading it a long time ago but still occasionally go there.

That Scaife hated the Clintons was part of my whole point. And yet -- after 90 minutes with Hillary -- he was able to say, "Hey, we don't agree on everything, but we have some common ground and I don't hate her anymore."

That's evidence of diplomacy and powers of persuasion.

I appreciate that, because my father used to really mad and hang up on me if I said anything against GWB. THat and I had some hyper-Republican acquaintances that I managed to find common ground with even before Hurricane Katrina made it ok to crticize GWB.

Our next president will have to persuade foreign interests that don't like the U.S. and will have to deal with a significant number of Republican senators.

All I was saying is that Hillary's success with Scaife shows that she has some skills that would be useful IF she becomes president.

You're right, answering the Wright question as she did was negative. If Hill had said: " I believe Barack when he says that he hadn't heard those comments and that he rejects them as well," she would have been factually wrong.

Barack knew about Wright's embarrassingly controversial nature at least a year ago, which is why he dis-invited Wright from some sort of campaign kick-off event.


She persuaded Scaife of nothing. I'll comment on the thread specific to that.

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