Mudslinging By The Clinton Campaign?

Speaking for me only.

The answer appears to be yes. Responding to this Edwards ad:

the Clinton campaign said:

"If John Edwards really cared about working people, he wouldn't have taken a $500,000 salary from a hedge fund that is foreclosing on working people around the country," said Clinton campaign spokeswoman Hilarie Grey. "Sen. Edwards should spend his time talking about how he's going to help those people instead of launching ridiculous attacks against Sen. Clinton."

Empty, stupid GOP talking points from the Clinton campaign. Awful. And in case you are wondering, I remain a STRONG supporter of NAFTA and free trade. Edwards is dead wrong on NAFTA and trade. Explaining why would be good from a candidate. But if unable to do so, going to personal attacks in response is unconscionable. Shame on the Clinton campaign.

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    I totally disagree (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 10:20:56 AM EST
    If you watch the entire Clinton segment on the NAFTA segment of the debate, she gave full answers.  Edwards' ad chooses to repeat only her opening line and then inserts the audience laughter to that one line throughout his ad while showing pictures of suffering.  It's false and it's a personal attack.

    Hillary's response to Edwards' ad was not a personal attack. It questions his position on NAFTA.

    Questions it how? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 10:30:36 AM EST
    By bringing up that Edwards made money in a hedge fund?

    It seems to me that you are complaining about Edwards ad, ot defending Clinton's response.

    I thought Clinton's aswer at the debate on AFTA was, in fact, quite weak. But trade is a demagogued issue.

    As I have said repeatedly, I have dropped Edwards from my list of casndidates I may support precisely because he is appealing to the basest natures of populism and is engaging in an ugly campaign filled with personal attacks. the Edwards camapign is easily the most contemptible of this race. I have lost almost all repsect for him and believe he will lose and neve rbe heard from again. A just result.

    But the Clinton campaign just adopted the Edwards tactic in response. Shameful.


    Help me here (none / 0) (#3)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 10:36:35 AM EST
      Why is it wrong either for Edwards to criticize Clinton for failing to support trade measures designed to protect domestic jobs or for Clinton to publicize the fact that Edwards accepted very large sums of money from an entity  taking actions which hurt working people who are in debt to that entity?

      Is none of that relvant information for people to consider in choosing a candidate?

    The Edwards information (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 10:38:43 AM EST
    strikes me as utterly irrelevant.

    It is the very definition of a irrelevant personal attack in the GOP style.


    It might be irrelevant (none / 0) (#5)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 10:45:12 AM EST
      to the specific issue of the worthiness (or clarity) of Clinton's views on trade policy, but is it totally irrelevant to Edwards' desirability as a candidate?

    To me it is (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 10:48:13 AM EST
    But even if you think it relevant, you accept it is irrelevant to trade policy.

    BTW, I vehemently disagree with Edwards' views on trade.


    Disappointed (none / 0) (#7)
    by BDB on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 10:57:12 AM EST
    I don't know if I'd go so far as call it mudslining (and after what Edwards has said about HRC, I'm not sure he's in any position to complain), but I'm nevertheless disappointed in the Clinton response.  The Edwards' attack video is ridiculous, but usually the Clinton response is better than this. I can understand them getting frustrated by Edwards' constant attacks, but I thought HRC had the better response at the debate, which was to point out his prior positions. There is a truckload of stuff to mine there, it undermines Edwards' populism argument while it plays as much less of a personal attack.

    I hope they get back to that because, frankly, the hedge fund stuff is beneath them.  Not because I think they're too nice to use it, but because they're a smarter campaign than that. It gives Edwards ammunition and it does so, when based on that ridiculous NAFTA video, he appears to be struggling for it. (Don't get me wrong, I think there are differences on trade between Edwards and Clinton and that Edwards would probably benefit from highlighting those, but that video is a rather pathetic - and disingenuous - effort at making this argument.  It's trying too hard to recapture the Politics of Parsing video and it just doesn't work here, IMO.)  

    In other news, according to TPM, Obama is now referencing the discredited allegation that HRC and the Big Dog had a pact on power and so she has been plotting to be president for 20 years. I thought the early attacks on him abandoning the politics of hope were ridiculous, even if politically smart, but lately he does seem to be using the very tactics he complains about. And I can't believe any Dem. would trust anything Novak or Gerth has to say about Clinton (or any other Dem). It comes across as desperate and, given his fundraising and the close Iowa polls, he has no reason to be desperate, so I honestly can't figure out what the deal is with Obama lately. The Clinton response to this (see http://facts.hillaryhub.com/archive/?id=4258), btw, is a much better one than the hamfisted response to the Edwards' NAFTA stuff, IMO.

    P.S. I can't believe the other candidates haven't started their own "fact" hubs. It's a brilliant idea. It permits the Clinton campaign to respond immediately and aggressively. I hope whoever the nominee is, he or she adopts it for the general because we're going to need it.

    I do not know if Edwards is complaining (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:01:32 AM EST
    I know that I am.

    I just posted on Obama's gutter politics.

    This campaign is the worst I can remember from Democrats.


    edwards and clinton on hedge funds (none / 0) (#8)
    by selise on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 10:57:12 AM EST
    from an early debate

    Williams: And, Senator, I have a follow-up for you. On modern day America, you've been of counsel to hedge funds.

    Do hedge funds make America any better in any way?

    Edwards: Well, I think what -- first of all, I think the financial markets are an important component of trying to figure out what it is we need to do about the fact that we have 47 million people without health care, 37 million people who wake up in poverty every day.

    They play an enormous role in how money moves in this country. And I happen to believe that we have a responsibility to the people in this country who wake up every day worried about feeding and clothing their children.

    And I think those people in New York who work in financial markets understand -- in some ways, at least -- what can be done and can play a significant role in trying to lift people up who are struggling.

    I am proud of what I've been doing for the last few years. You know, I've been all over the country, organizing workers into unions and raising the minimum wage, and also working at a poverty center at the University of North Carolina.

    Williams: I'm afraid time is up.

    Senator Clinton, you represent the state of New York -- just mentioned. How is America a better place because of all these burgeoning hedge funds?

    Clinton: Well, I think that America is a great place because we have an entrepreneurial economy. We have people who are willing to make stakes and new enterprises and invest their money.

    And, obviously, one of the other reasons we're a great country is because we've learned over the years how to regulate that, so nobody gets an unfair advantage -- and that we, you know, have a framework within which our free market system operates.

    Obviously, for me, it's exciting to represent both New York City, the global capital market leader, and yet I also represent a big state where there are a lot of poor people and people who have no access to health care. They don't have access to affordable college. They're worried about their futures.

    So what we've got to do here is get back to having a Democratic president who will set the rules, so that we can continue to build our economy, we can inspire and incentivize people to take those risks, but we begin to repair the damage that has been done by this president and Republican Congress.


    my bold

    Good answer from clinton (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:00:39 AM EST
    Better than Edwards'.

    neither impressed me.... (none / 0) (#11)
    by selise on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:04:41 AM EST
    btd - curious as to why you are still a big supporter of nafta. care to elaborate? thanks!

    Because it helped all the countries (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:13:19 AM EST
    It increased trade among our closest neighbors.

    Do you believe in trade? Then you should believe in NAFTA.


    no. (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by selise on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 02:00:49 PM EST
    i like trade. i hate nafta. nafta is not the only way we have to benefit from  trade.

    that's like saying that because i like vegetables i must love pesticides.


    helping? (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by selise on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 02:20:04 PM EST
    how does a 25% decrease in wages = helping?

    if nafta is so helpful why is it so hated? have you followed up my previous suggestions and read any stiglitz on our trade policies?

    The North American Free Trade Agreement is neither a free trade agreement, nor a fair trade agreement. If it was a free trade agreement, it would be a short agreement, a few pages, as each country promises to eliminate its tariffs, its non-tariff barriers, and its subsidies. A few additional pages would define the pace in which these barriers would be eliminated. But the agreement runs for hundreds of pages. It is a managed trade agreement, and managed in many ways to protect special interests, like America's agricultural interests. American subsidized corn depresses the price of corn in Mexico, which is one of the reasons that NAFTA has contributed to the growth of rural poverty. The agreement keeps in place a host of non-tariff barriers, which have been repeatedly used to keep Mexican goods out of the American market.

    Equally troublesome, however, is the fact that NAFTA represents an intrusion into areas that go well beyond trade. Chapter 11, which is supposed to be a provision ensuring investor protection, threatens the ability of the member state to impose effective environmental and other regulations. The Clinton Administration successfully opposed such initiatives, when they were proposed by anti-environmentalists in the U.S. Congress. Yet virtually without discussion, the provision became law, snuck in "under the radar screen" in NAFTA.

    NAFTA has been a disappointment. The advocates hoped that it would help Mexico grow, and by closing the disparity between incomes in the U.S. and Mexico, it would reduce migration pressure. But in the first decade of NAFTA, the disparity in incomes actually increased, and, as I explain in Making Globalization Work, NAFTA was at least partly to blame. Especially with incomes of the poor corn farmers falling as a result of NAFTA, migration pressure actually increased.

    Nothing could generate much more ill will between America and its neighbors to the south than the wall which it is constructing, the new "iron curtain." This is not the way to curtail the flow of people, who are desperate to have a job and earn a decent living. The way to reduce the migration pressure is to increase incomes in Mexico and the other countries of Latin and Central America. A true free trade agreement would do that. America would benefit too by eliminating (or at least severely curtailing) its agricultural subsidies. Taxpayers would be better off, and the environment would be better off. (But of course the large corporate farms would stand to lose the most.) Hopefully, in the not too distant future, America will be able to stop this hypocrisy and stand by its principles.. - stiglitz

    "Trade" (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 03:18:26 PM EST
    isn't just some simple neutral objective thing. There are many ways it can be done, many ways to shape its effects.

    Here's a succinct assessment of some of what the impact of NAFTA has been on Canada and Canadian society:

    The impact of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and the North American Free Trade Agreement should be measured against the only standard that ultimately counts when evaluating public policy: has "free trade" bettered the lives of the people affected by it?

    The answer is that not only has NAFTA failed to deliver the goods it promised, but its cumulative effect on the well-being of a large majority of Canadians, and on the social cohesion of our society, has been negative. While personal income growth under free trade has registered its worst performance of any comparable period since World War II, income inequality (after tax and transfers) has increased for the first time since the 1920s.

    It is important at the outset to state that NAFTA alone is not to blame. The culprit is the neoliberal--or market fundamentalist--agenda that has dominated policy-making in Canada. NAFTA is a central component and locking-in mechanism of a package of mutually reinforcing policies--including tax and public program cuts, privatization, deregulation, and monetary austerity.

    The most striking feature of the growing inequality driven by this agenda has been the massive gains of the richest 1% of income earners at the expense of most of the population. The growth of precarious employment, the undermining of unions as a countervailing power to transnational capital, the erosion of the Canadian social state, and heightened economic dependence on the U.S.--all are additional hallmarks of the free trade era in Canada.

    NAFTA is about much more than deregulating trade. It is about removing restrictions on the mobility of capital. It goes way behind the border to the heart of domestic policy-making. It is an economic constitution, conferring enforceable rights on investors, limiting the powers of government, and making it extremely difficult for future governments to change. At its core, NAFTA is about shifting the power in the economy from governments and workers to corporations....

    Canada's social model differs significantly from that of the U.S. Canada has a more equal distribution of earnings, reflecting higher unionization rates, higher minimum wages, and a smaller pay gap between the middle and the top of the earnings spectrum. It has a more progressive tax system and a more generous system of social transfers.

    Thus, while the average disposable income in the U.S. is higher than in Canada, the bottom third of Canadians are much better off than their U.S. counterparts. The gap between middle-income Canadians and Americans is small, particularly if adjusted for out-of-pocket health care costs. It is only among the richest third where the disposable income of Americans is much greater than that of their Canadian counterparts. The after-tax-and-transfer income gap between the top and bottom 10% of families is 4:1 in Canada compared to 6.5:1 in the U.S. The poverty rate (defined as less than two-thirds of the median income) is 10% in Canada compared to 17% in the U.S.

    That said, however, growing wealth and income inequality and a shrinking Canadian social state have been hallmarks of the free trade era. NAFTA, while adding pressure, does not mandate this kind of harmonization downward to the U.S. social model, nor is it inevitable. But NAFTA competitiveness considerations have provided a pretext for the tax-cut and "smaller government" agendas of our neo-con provincial and federal governments.

    After four decades of narrowing the income gap in Canada, after-tax-and-transfer family income inequality has widened during the free trade era. The bottom 20% of families saw their incomes fall by 7.6% during 1989-2004, while the incomes of the top 20% of families rose 16.8%.

    If Canadians had wanted a red in tooth and claw society instead of a more economically egalitarian one they would have created it. NAFTA is mandating social changes Canadians don't want and were promised wouldn't happen. All for the benefit of the wealthiest 1% of the population.


    "Helped all the countries" (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Alien Abductee on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 03:26:14 PM EST
    Also see Maude Barlow, of Council of Canadians.

    What she says may sound like socialist raving to conservative-conditioned US ears, but I assure you it's very much a mainstream position as to the value placed on Canadian culture and social programs.


    I actualy agree more (none / 0) (#12)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:05:29 AM EST
     with Edwards with regard to trade (and probably domestic economic policies broadly) than either Clinton or Obama, but I do think that capitalizing on his fame and influence to suck in director's fees or whatever from corporations is relevant to assessing him as a person. I personally also think that perhaps the single most important issue with regard to any candidate is what kind of person is he or she.

      This anything goes with regard to character  as long as he agrees with my policy preferences view has never appealed to me. I prefer people with whom I have some profound policy differences (within reason) whom I can trust and respect to people who share more of my views whom i cannot trust and respect.


    How can you REALLY know (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:12:13 AM EST
    the character of someone you can only see on television?

    Character questions are utter nonsense. These are pols putting on a performance.

    Watch what they do and say, which is what you can know. I defy you to really argue you knoew any pols' character.


    So you have (none / 0) (#15)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:20:20 AM EST
     no opinions as to the relative level of character (admittedly a nebulous concept) of, oh,  say,  Richard Nixon v. Jimmy Carter?


    I do indeed (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:21:37 AM EST
    Their PUBLIC characters were revealed by their PUBLIC words and PUBLIC deeds.

    This seems a concept you are having trouble grasping.


    You believe people (none / 0) (#17)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:31:05 AM EST
      are readily dissected into dichotomous public and private beings each co-existing in the same corporeal entity but without any crossover influence?

       Interesting theory.


    Interestingly (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:33:28 AM EST
    You ewither cxhoose not to uderstand me or can't.

    What I said was WE, people like you and me who do not know these people personally, can only know the PUBLIC character.

    you pretend you can discern the private character of people you do not know.



    Or (none / 0) (#19)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 11:43:23 AM EST
      we can use our abilities to think and make judgments (ooh, yes I'm advocating being judgmental) about a person's honesty, integrity, sincerity, compassion, courage, consistency, and all the other conceivable characteristics based upon decisions they make about how they live their lives.

      For instance, someone who never met Rudy Giuliani and "knows" him only from TV might consider his family relationships,  choice of associates and confidantes, business enterprises, conduct in previous positions and the like to be somewhat edifying (not perfectly so but enough to be probative) in predicting what kind of President he owuld be.

      The  notion that because we cannot know someone perfectly we can't make valuable and at least partially accurate judgments based on what we do know seems rather ridiculous.

      Moreover, if your complaint is that our judgments are flawed to the extent they are based on incomplete personal information about them, that would seem to support the position that we need more not less of such information.

      Unless, of course, we just don't care about what kind of people run things as long as they promise to pander to us.

    I love that (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jgarza on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 12:38:58 PM EST
    there isn't a criticism of Hillary that hasn't at some point been used by a crazy right winger.  But according to bloggers if you have a criticism that sounds remotely familiar to something someone right wing has said, you crossed the line.

    from a commenter on TPM:

    DonnaG  wrote on November 19, 2007 11:15 AM:

    Oh, I see, Greg. If one wants to discredit Obama's statement about Hillary's long term planning for a run for president, one must tie it up into the Gerth account which has already been addressed and challenged. That way the statement Obama is making can be diverted into nitpicking and away from how, in fact, Clinton has been planning for years to run.

    Here is food for thought: Did Hillary Clinton move to NY and run for the Senate in order to prepare for a run for the Presidency? Did Hillary straddle fences in her Senate career in a way to prepare for a future presidential run? Did Hillary's Senate campaign raise outsized sums with an eye to accumulating extra millions to transfer as seed money for a presidential run?

    ha (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jgarza on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 12:58:32 PM EST
    I completely put this in the wrong post.

    Not Such a Great Answer (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 01:51:32 PM EST
    I'm torn.  You see.  Edwards has been hitting Clinton on where she gets her money for months now.

    I think "No" is a perfectly valid answer to "Do two wrongs make a right?"

    just as a comparison: (none / 0) (#23)
    by cpinva on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 01:52:33 PM EST
    candidate is accused of carrying on an affair with a young slave girl (jefferson - 1803)

    nyt's portrays republican candidate as an ape (lincoln - 1860)

    comparitively, the current crop pales.

    frankly, edward's revenue from the hedge fund is totally irrelevant; it was earned, and received before the current sub-prime meltdown.

    public character is a window into private character, none of these people is that good an actor, to sustain a facade over the long-term. we know bush is a public and private idiot, i don't have to know him personally to recognize this. i'd have to agree with decon on this.

    Why is it "totally irrelevant" (none / 0) (#25)
    by Deconstructionist on Mon Nov 19, 2007 at 02:05:19 PM EST
      simply because he grabbed the money before the current market melt-down. First, he intentionally associated with people who facilitated the actions which greatly contributed to the current situation.  If he failed to understand how the bundling of sub-prime mortgages backed with the credit of vulnerable creditors could create problems in the future he lacks understanding. If he wasn't fully aware of the actions relating to the mortgage bundles  of his associates he did not perform due diligence.

      Second, there is the (and this is where he is more likely vulnerable in public perception)  fact that he is a person willing to trade on his celebrity and influence to make sums of money quickly with little or no effort that most people have to work very hard for a very long time to make. that might make it more difficult to convince some people that he is truly for the "common man."

      He has opportunity to explain himself and convince people not to hold it against him, but why is it wrong for his competitors to draw attention to what he did?