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Posted by on Dec 5, 2007 in Politics | 7 comments

Obama Muslim Smear Email Confirmed To Have Come From Hillary Clinton Camp


It’s now getting close to the point where even people who sympathize with and admire certain attributes have to wonder if her campaign has “jumped the shark” — when we learn that a campaign worker was involved with reprehensible bilge such as this:

A day after the Hillary campaign hit the Obama camp for bullying voters in nasty phone calls, the Hillary crew has just acknowledged that an Iowa county chair volunteering for the campaign passed along the now-notorious email that smears Obama as a Muslim by repeating the false claim that he attended a madrassa as a child.

The Hillary campaign confirms that they are asking the county chair to step down from the campaign.

The charge was made by a Daily Kos diarist who identified himself as planning to “caucus” for Chris Dodd, suggesting that this happened in Iowa.

Read the entire post on TPM yourself for the details. But it quotes Clinton’s respected internet media coordinator Peter Dao (we’ve linked to his stuff for years and he is a solid pro) as confirming, yes, it came from a Clinton campaign worker. This does NOT mean, by the way, that it was a decision from high-up in the Hillary Clinton camp.

Remember: this is the smear that was picked up by right wing talk show hosts and some (but NOT all) conservative bloggers. Some Democrats at the time blamed it on Karl Rove or Republican operatives.

Some thoughts:

(1) If this indeed came from a worker and not higher-up somewhere, then the campaign will need to exert better quality control. All of this politics-of-personal-destruction stuff is imploding the Clinton camp’s carefully constructed imagery.

(2) So how does this differ from the smelly, nose-picking reprehensible tactics used by Karl Rove & Co over the years? Just what kind of pleasant option does this present voters who want to cast votes in 2008 against the way political campaigns have been conducted recently? This, in fact, smacks of the racist appeals to bigotry that Rove & Co instigated in 2000 against Arizona Senator John McCain in South Carolina.

(3) WARNING TO HILLARY CLINTON: The press will now leap on stories about your campaign’s ruthlessness and Obama will come across as more issue-oriented and dignified. The narrative of a campaign that perceives itself to be in trouble will be confirmed and fed by this. You need to reverse this or it could sink your candidacy (Press narratives: The Candidate Rises, The Candidate Near Triumph, The Candidate Suddenly Falls…then The Candidate Rises Again)

Meanwhile, Robert Novak has a piece that has good news and bad news for Ms. Clinton.

First, the good news:

Despite a slip in the polls by front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Republican confidence about winning the presidency actually has declined. The reason is the dispiriting performance put on by the Republican candidates in last Wednesday’s debate in St. Petersburg, Fla. We have had several Republicans tell us that after watching that affair, they wondered not only about the outcome of the ’08 presidential election but also the long-range future of the GOP.

And now the bad news:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has gone on the attack against Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), and she has not reacted well. Clinton’s poor reaction last month to a series of attacks in a debate, and her attack on Obama’s “ambition” for wanting to be President in grade school draw out one concern among many Democrats—that she is creepy. Along those lines, she told CBS’s Katie Couric that she “never considered” the possibility she could lose the election.

Obama leads in the latest Iowa polls, and a victory there would set up a legitimate one-on-one between him and Hillary. It’s will be difficult for Hillary to recover in the last month. The question now is: Will she beat former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) for second place in the caucuses.

In other words: Clinton could still win the nomination — it’s easy to be sucked into the latest Flavor Of The Week Conventional Wisdom narrative — but most assuredly a lot of the image of inevitability of Clinton and the seeming early dignity of her camp’s political campaign have evaporated.

A new poll says Hillary Clinton may well be inevitable in terms of the Democratic nomination.l

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  • Somebody

    The narrative of a campaign that perceives itself to be in trouble will be confirmed and fed by this. You need to reverse this or it could sink you candidacy

    Joe it simply is too late.

    This is the 21st century. The cry is “CRY HAVOC and let slip the dogs of war!”

    Internet blogging machine determines what can and cannot be done. This nation thirsts for drama. A clean campaign is not what anyone wants. They want the dirt and filth. They want the scum to seep to the top to be skimmed into the cream we pour into our political coffee each morning.

    This is now officially out of control. Hillary will go down to defeat because its what the bloggers want. The scum seekers of the far left and the far right. They both want Hillary’s demise because while she might be a cold, ambitious (can’t control my language)she is not far left enough for the left and she is a Clinton for the right.

    “CRY HAVOC….” Hillary’s campaign is going down in flames. The same thing that Happened to President Bush and the GOP is now happening to Hillary Clinton.

  • StockBoySF

    I think Hilary can redeem herself by issuing a statement that says the person involved with the e-mail was a volunteer and she acted o her own. Such actions are not acceptable. Hillary can also say that there were other volunteers in her campaign who acted responsibly and spoke out against the e-mail. She might also throw in something about the volunteers who make up her campaign reflect the diverse communities they come from and that we all mistakes. Or something like that.

    To be honest, when I first heard of the Obama/Islam/madrassa e-mail chain a couple weeks ago it was my brother who got it (I never saw it). But my brother, being the pro-Bush, anti-Dem (and rabidly anti-Hillary) person took the e-mail as gospel…. I actually didn’t know who started it, but since it was making many right-wing rounds and my brother received it I assumed that it was totally a Republican doing. I should know better than that.

    But I am glad that Hillary does not support it and has said as much. That is a lot better than what happened with Bush’s supporters doing all the swiftboating for the 2004 election and Bush just happily let them do their thing.

  • Somebody

    A brief follow up.

    When will the candidates learn. The internet is running our lives now. (666??)Those of you screaming at the government for potentially spying on us havent seen nothing yet. The internet is moving into our Televisions. It is beginning to controll the way we talk, communicate. It is about to put the post office out of business. Instant communications and instant awareness of the truth. Instant gratification.

    Wanna murder someone? Why make yourself a star and publish yourself on UTUBE. Want to know what your neighbor shops for online? Why just look at his surfing habits. You can find out exactly what he reads, eats, talks about.

    There is only ONE candidate who understands the internet. RUDI.

    What was the first thing he did? He took his book and published it. You know the book that said how you beat Rudi. Essentially he smeared himself.



    The web bloggers will rush to your rescue.

    End of internet lession one.

  • domajot

    I’ve been defending Hillary, because the attacks aginst her started coming even before she officially declared her condidacy.

    What is making me shake my head in dismay, however, is not this revelation, but her comment about the vote to declace the Iranian guard a terrorist organization. She claimed, in full Bush impersonation, that the Iranians have backed off in Iraq because of that vote! Oh, the lack of dredibility!

    It’s too bad. She is smart and capable. For now, the darker side of her personlity seems to be winning.
    The same could be said about Nixon, another smart and capable personality.

  • Sam

    She’s still part of the immediate family of a former president, doesn’t that bother anyone?

    On the topic at hand, one of the most important reqs for the next president, especially in light of the current one, is going to be responsibility for what those under you do. We are all getting pretty tired of the line used whenever there is a blunder, it wasn’t me, it was the people that work for me. Ultimately its HER campaign. The candidates are responsible for what their PR machines churn out. Ifs she’s already going to be passing the buck to her underlings it does not bode well for any administration she might run.

  • DLS

    The Bush-bashing that started this thread is more pathetic than predictable. This issue is about Hillary Clinton and secondarily about Obama, in case you “forgot”; it has nothing to do with Bush.

    Remedial and remonstrative lesson ended. [sigh]

    * * *

    What is making me shake my head in dismay, however, is not this revelation, but her comment about the vote to declace the Iranian guard a terrorist organization.

    It is. The only thing wrong with the resolution was that it was non-binding, i.e., style over substance. That’s the lame Democratic way on a number of issues and you actually decry even that? Why would you defend a sponsor and committer of terrorism? Simply because Bush correctly said it is a terrorist organization, too? Is your hatred of Bush really that bad?

    * * *

    She’s still part of the immediate family of a former president, doesn’t that bother anyone?

    Yes, because dynasties and perpetual parasite public-sector quasi-nepotic family presences in government are offensive, but there are more relevent issues at stake here, namely the nature and character of Clinton and the darker side of her campaign.

    This is not surprising to those of us who have observed her before, which was not limited to seeing her lunge sharply leftward after inauguration, and engage in some of the most offensive conceited behavior we have encountered (both of which contributed heavily to American revulsion of her, not just her husband, and the 1994 election results — which along with a desire for re-election may temper her leftward move this time), but also the vicious side of her that surfaced early (as vicious or more so than Nixon), as well as her secrecy and need for control (which may already have surpassed Cheney and is likely to do so once she is officially rather than unofficially President, without necessarily having Bill around to bungle anything).

    Ultimately its HER campaign.

    She is responsible, just as she will be as responsible in the White House (actually, more so given the criticism we hear of Bush and the reality of him and his inner circle, about excessive delegation and Cheney actually running many things), given that it is her decisions that are ultimately carried out and we know she has firm control over things. We can reasonably assume she knew about the “madrassa” tactic and approved it, and it may well have originated from her.

    I’m not waiting for Shaun and other Bush-bashers to be equally angry-all-the-time, and attack her over and over and over and over and over and over the way Bush is being treated (cause of the common cold, cancer, an extra-cold winter, global warming, etc.). That’s expecting too much, likely the impossible.

    * * *

    But I am glad that Hillary does not support it and has said as much.

    Do you believe anything, or everything, Hillary says?

    * * *

    Hillary will go down to defeat because its what the bloggers want.

    I disagree. The far-left bloggers are not characteristic or representative of the majority of Americans (the vast majority). The Web and the Nutroots are too hyped. The odds heavily favor Clinton to win the nomination and to win the White House. For all the far-lefties who hate her, there are plenty who want to coalesce around her, and she is a well-proven product and very capable, because the truly rabid anti-Hillary crowd (not the larger mainstream anti_Hillary crowd) is dwarfed by the general liberal anti-GOP crowd (which is not merely projecting an anti-Bush sentiment on other Republicans, except among the rabid). There’s also the appeal that she has among many women (sex- as well as race-consciousness and reverse sexism are alive and well in this country and its electorate).

    * * *

    The same thing that Happened to President Bush and the GOP is now happening to Hillary Clinton.

    I disbelieve that. The far left considers her to be a conservative, which is delusional, but she will never be treated the way Bush has been treated, including by the media, and she isn’t being treated that way now, even if many in the media find Obama to be their darling. It will be “Saint Hillary” as early as if she begins to gain in the polls and outrun the rest of the field during the primaries, before she even can be nominated.

    We’ll get more insight about the media when we see and hear how it reacts to her speeches at the Dem convention. (I can’t wait: “St. Hillary,” cluck-cluck-cluck)

  • DLS

    Elsewhere I posted links to two Pew reports, one about the Dems and the Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina early primaries (caucuses), and the other about the GOP.

    Current nation-wide Democratic view of which candidate is most likely to win in 2008:

    Clinton 62%
    Obama 12%
    Edwards 11%
    Other, none 5%
    Don’t know 10%

    Dem report is here.

    GOP report is here.

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