Obama Camp's False Description Of Hillary's 60 Minutes Statement

By Big Tent Democrat

Obama chief campaign strategist David Axelrod is making stuff up. Today he said:

[T]his has been a pattern that we've seen throughout the campaign, whether it was the Bill Shaheen incident, the Bob Johnson incident, Sen. Clinton's own inexplicable unwillingness to make a direct statement on '60 Minutes' about Sen. Obama's Christianity, even though they've shared prayer groups together in Congress. All of it is part of an insidious pattern that needs to be addressed.

(Emphasis supplied.) Politics is politics. And false outrage is false outrage. But Axelrod has dipped into flat out falsehood here. Forget that Bill Shaheen was fired. Forget that Bob Johnson was forced to apologize.

Axelrod is simply making a deliberate false statement when he accuses Hillary of being unwilling to to make a direct statement about Obama's Christianity on 60 Minutes. She did make such a statment. Eric Boehlert demonstrated that this was all trumped up nonsense.

Axelrod is making stuff up here.

NOTE - Comments closed. It is clear that these subjects are difficult to discuss. Tonight may be even more difficult regarding the Mississippi primary. Understand I will be ruthless in deleting inflammatory comments. Write with care please.

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    I'm thinking (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by OldCoastie on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:10:39 PM EST
    the Obama campaign is getting a little desperate... Wasn't it only yesterday when Obama reversed himself and said that Clinton had released the picture of him in the native garb?

    I thought it was pretty well proven that it was Drudge that got that one going.

    Totally Agree: It is desperation time (none / 0) (#35)
    by felizarte on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:23:22 PM EST
    perhaps the campaign is seeing the handwriting on the wall. Momentum is definitely with Hillary.  Once she overtakes Obama on the popular vote and pledged delegates, the superD's will have all the pressure on them to go with the (1) winner of the popular vote (2) leader in pledged delegates (3) who is the stronger candidate vis-a-vis McCain.

    They are going to keep going with this... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:11:48 PM EST
    ...because in this mad, mad world the Obama camp is now picking up their talking points from TPM and Dkos. I said it in another thread, and I'll say it again. The "darkened photo" accusation is not far behind.

    I don't know why it is (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by Steve M on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:16:42 PM EST
    but false accusations of racism get me so much angrier than all the other false accusations that get hurled around in politics.  If Obama won the primary because he convinced people that Hillary wants to invade Iran, oh well, that's how politics goes.  If Obama won the primary by portraying Hillary as a racist, though, that's really hard for me to swallow.  I have to vote for the Democratic nominee but it's really hard to feel like you're condoning that sort of tactic.

    No you don't have to (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by diplomatic on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:20:01 PM EST
    If Obama and Axelrod continue down this road, I'll be sitting the whole thing out if he's the nominee.  Honestly, I've had enough.  It is too removed from how a true Democrat should be running a campaign.

    Swiftboating. . . (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:21:38 PM EST
    is what it is.

    Take your enemy's strong point and, through slander and innuendo, turn it against them.  Thus, the Clintons with their long history of civil rights work must be turned into racists.


    interesting (1.50 / 2) (#18)
    by moe21885 on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:19:24 PM EST
    And if Hillary legitimately has engaged in race-baiting politics? Is he evil for pointing that out?

    if that is his belief (none / 0) (#28)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:21:50 PM EST
    let him say it.
    she could probably let him take it up with Maxine Waters or any of her other 10s of thousands of AA supporters.

    Course not (none / 0) (#38)
    by Steve M on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:23:46 PM EST
    but she hasn't, and claiming otherwise is one of the sleaziest campaign tactics I can imagine.  It's not just a matter of opinion whether Hillary was trying to imply that Obama might be a Muslim.  Axelrod's claim is flat-out false.

    Of course, the whole point of building the argument around an "insidious pattern" is to force a game of whack-a-mole.  You can debunk one claim, but then it's like, well what about this one? or that one?  As if repeated cries of racism have more credibility, rather than less.

    Like I said, I don't know why I deplore this tactic so much more than any other sort of dishonesty in politics.  I'm mostly sanguine when it comes to accepting the games politicians plan.  But this one really outrages me.


    I deplore it because it hurts real people... (5.00 / 3) (#53)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:32:56 PM EST
    ...and really divides us. I mean, as a Puerto Rican I don't consider myself a white person and half my family is African American, but seriously doesn't this kind of stuff make those of you who consider yourselves white wonder wtf you can possibly say? Offense can be found just about anywhere if you think about it long enough. Wasn't this the kind of stuff we were supposed to be transcending? And if Obama doesn't stand for that anymore, then what does he stand for? Are we back to a speech in 2002? He doesn't distinguish himself from Hillary Clinton in any other way, except that he is more inspirational. But if its based on BS, then of what value is it?

    IT should be done with the utmost care (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:23:51 PM EST
    and with strong evidence.

    What if the Clintons started accusing Obama of playing the race card?

    In THIS campaign, this is a dangerous road to go down.


    Because (none / 0) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:22:42 PM EST
    It is a serious charge about a serious issue.

    How does this help them? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Kathy on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:18:11 PM EST
    How does continually talking about the Muslim thing, which will inevitably bring the photo up again, help them?  They freaked out over the charges because they realize that a majority of Americans associate "bad" with "Muslim."  We can argue how stupid that belief is until the cows come home, but it will not change the fact.

    So, why does Axelrod bring up the point again here, and make specious allegations about Clinton's motivation?  Because all it's going to accomplish is headline after headline and news toss after news toss with the words "Obama" and "Muslim" tied together.

    This is politicking at its stupidest.  Who are they trying to outrage?  What does it accomplish that helps them?

    What does it help them accomplish? (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Josey on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:27:52 PM EST
    wins in SC and MS, specifically.
    A shortsighted tactic FOR Obama and against the Dem Party and Clintons.

    NC (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by Kathy on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:35:18 PM EST
    And, yeah--that's my point.  It's so stupidly shortsighted.  How does this help them going down the road?  They know they already have MS wrapped up.  What does this accomplish?  Are they setting up some kind of disenfranchisement narrative for MI and FL?

    It just really sickens me, because racism is a huge issue, and making these baseless charges is only going to dull the publics' response to real instances of racism.

    If he gets to the ge, it won't spin.  "They called Hillary Clinton a racist, for the love of peeps. They tote out that charge against anybody who disagrees with them."

    So, so stupid.  Wins the battle but not the war.


    Obama campaign becoming unhinged (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by diplomatic on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:18:42 PM EST
    My blood is practically boiling at the faux outrage and reverse race-baiting that has become the "go to play" whenever the Obama supporters and/or his campaign is periodically feeling down.

    Far too many are allowing their anti-Clinton hatred to launch them into full-fledged bouts of mental instability.

    please (1.00 / 1) (#22)
    by moe21885 on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:21:09 PM EST
    They're up in the tracking polls, pledged delegates, popular vote, states won, and dollars raised. I don't think there's any "feeling down" in the Obama campaign. Merely pointing out the disturbing truth of the racially-charged campaign the Clintons have waged.

    Even more deranged and UNHINGED then (none / 0) (#36)
    by diplomatic on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:23:29 PM EST
    If he is up in the polls (oh, maybe he was looking at Pennsylvania) and he has all this momentum and the "math" guarantees his nomination, then resorting to these tactics and FALSE smears of Senator Clinton is unecessary and anger-provoking BS.

    Aside from the absurd "state won" . . . (none / 0) (#40)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:23:58 PM EST
    metric everything you say is true and apropos.  So why the hysteria?

    Yeah because that's how you give hope... (none / 0) (#42)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:25:51 PM EST
    ...to people and unify them.

    Is Axelrod (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:19:29 PM EST
    Making a direct statement? No. A direct statement would be to condemn Steve Kroft for asking such a disingenuous question. Instead he is giving a nod to Kroft by milking his hit job and turning it around to impugn Hillary. Nasty.

    I would be particularly pissed if I were a Muslim.

    Exactly, Squeaky. (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:23:01 PM EST
    ...I'm agreeing with you a lot today.

    Like Minds... (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by squeaky on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:28:54 PM EST
    Likewise. I appreciate your clarity, levelheadedness and humor....

    It won't work; only proves how tough she is (none / 0) (#54)
    by felizarte on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:33:05 PM EST
    and more and more voters are appreciating that in her.  Ohio and Texas votes, and of course Rhode Island proved that.  And if BTD's post analyzing the Mississippi vote comes true, that will only reinforce Hillary's staying power.  She has truly learned to keep her nerves of steel and still not appear abrasive. While Obama has shown that he is fairly easy to distract, lose his timing, and his campaign not quite sure about how to react.

    The only (5.00 / 6) (#24)
    by eric on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:21:22 PM EST
    insidious pattern here is that of the Obama campaign complaining about the "pattern" of Clinton's behavior.  It's a fabrication.  The "pattern" was invented as a strategy in and of itself.

    It works, actually.  Create the narrative:  "Hillary Clinton and her campaign have consistently shown a pattern of racial attacks".  The facts will invent themselves from there on.  A few misstatements, some dumb mistakes, and some twisted facts later, and the narrative has become a reality.

    BTW, the other narrative that has been created is: "Hillary has shown that she will do anything to win."

    More ugly games (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by esmense on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:37:34 PM EST
    The Obama campaign's very dishonest but effective strategy of accusing the Clintons of making racist appeals relies on a mostly unspoken, although in terms of older white women and Hispanics sometimes more overt, assumption or accusation -- that Clinton voters are racists.

    Why? Because although Clinton isn't exploiting white racism -- a pretty foolish strategy for Democratic primaries -- the Obama camp is hoping to exploit understandable black distrust of the sincerity and commitment of white politicians,  and, most important of all, the class bigotry of many elite white liberals.

    There was a charming video on YouTube awhile back, entitled "Clinton Supporters," made by a young Obama supporter at a university in Texas that beautifully illustrated the mindset of the kind of white Obama supporters I'm talking about -- to a banjo accompaniment it featured half-naked, scaggle-toothed and toothless white people, most likely the director and his friends having fun with make up, including one man sitting naked on a toilet on a porch. Imagery so assaultive to dignity, so bigoted and ugly, that if the people being portrayed had been anything other than white, there would be serious issues raised about whether or not a hate crime was being perpetuated.

    YouTube appears to have applied some standards, because that video is no longer available for viewing. But its verbal equivalent is easily found anywhere Obama supporters gather.

    Is it fair to hold Obama and his campaign accountable for this? Yes. Exploiting bigotry and prejudice for political advantage is morally reprehensible -- even when it is the bigotry of class, and the prejudices of people against members of their own race.

    In 2004 I was outraged at the attack ads against Dean that attacked "latte-sipping" liberals. I find political appeals based on stereotyping voters and exploiting prejudices of any kind reprehensible. But, let's be clear, we affluent latte-sippers are doing well enough to bear a little name calling between ourselves. But affluent and advantaged people who, for personal advantage, and, as is the case with Axelrod and Gibbs, for money, demean and dismiss the concerns of the poor and working class, of any color, especially advantaged people who call themselves "progressives," deserve their own very special circle of hell.

    One quote (none / 0) (#1)
    by jcsf on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:08:39 PM EST
    "As far as I know"

    That is not a quote (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:11:37 PM EST
    That is a gross distortion.

    You are making a false statement.


    I don't believe Clinton meant anything by it (none / 0) (#6)
    by jcsf on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:14:06 PM EST
    But it's a strange qualifier.  And she DID use that qualifier.  

    Now, is it misleading to take "as far as I know" out of context?  

    Possibly.  But I still think it a bit strange that the qualifier got in there.

    The rest is just politics.


    It is misleading to ignore (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:18:05 PM EST
    everything that was said before.

    what would you have preferred (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:15:59 PM EST
    she said on the 5th try to produce a soundbite?

    may be right, simply a "gotcha" moment (none / 0) (#29)
    by jcsf on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:22:21 PM EST
    That didn't reflect what she was saying.  And with the interviewer pressing, she then resorted to a politician's safety, "as far as I know".  

    "Of course not" was sufficient (none / 0) (#8)
    by Josey on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:15:21 PM EST
    but with Kroft continuing to press the issue as if he had info Hillary didn't, she said "as far as I know."

    quote (none / 0) (#5)
    by deminma on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:13:55 PM EST

    Have you seen this interview?   I think the way she answered the question was odd at best  .   Would she have said "as far as I know"  if she was talking about John McCain or George Bush.  

    Of course not (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:16:08 PM EST
    was her answer.

    Croft kept pressing.

    Frankly, I think this is ugly stuff from the Obama camp and Obama supporters.


    please read BTD's post below (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by otherlisa on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:17:59 PM EST
    and the Boehlert piece it references.

    There was no slur by Clinton, and the fact that Axlerod is trying to make one up should put to rest the image of the Clintons who are willing to do anything and the above the fray, Obama camp.

    Well, it would in a world that didn't operate by the Clinton rules, that is.


    Would the reporter have kept.... (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:18:42 PM EST
    ...pressing her and badgering to answer after she already had if it had been John McCain?

    reporter (none / 0) (#32)
    by deminma on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:22:43 PM EST
    I would agree with BTD that this is not a great topic for Obama and his supporters,  i think the reporter went too far  -   and I think she have just said no.     but its all politics....

    I saw the interview (none / 0) (#27)
    by echinopsia on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:21:40 PM EST
    Would they have asked the question about McCain or Bush? No.

    Have YOU seen the interview and read the Boehlert piece? You should.

    What was odd about it was that the question was asked repeatedly after she'd already said "No. Of course not."

    It was as though they were trying to get her to say something else. If it had been me, I'd have been wondering (as you can tell by the look on her face, she was )"WTF are you getting at?"


    "Of course not" isn't direct refutation? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Josey on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:19:39 PM EST

    yes, it is (1.00 / 2) (#30)
    by moe21885 on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:22:22 PM EST
    But of course, we all know that that's not all she said.

    "Steve, of course Hillary's not a feminazi. As far as I know."


    That is a mischaracterization (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:26:32 PM EST
    You simply are not telling the truth here.

    I have no problem (none / 0) (#57)
    by Joan in VA on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:42:59 PM EST
    with that. They are not involved in each other's personal lives and cannot speak with authority on such things.

    Nothing says staunch support for civil rights (none / 0) (#44)
    by JJE on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:26:04 PM EST
    like signing the AEDPA, DOMA, and taking time out of your campaign to execute a mentally-disabled black guy.  The Clintons truly are the spiritual heirs of MLK.

    Take it easy (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:27:20 PM EST
    BTW, this goes for all of you.

    I am likely to close comments now and delete the most inflammatory of them.


    Not much you can do (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Steve M on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:29:21 PM EST
    when the "Hillary and Bill really ARE racists, and David Shuster was right, and so was Samantha Power" people decide to do one of their drive-bys.

    I really wish they could just stick to their little orange echo chamber of hate.  I'm not posturing one bit when I say listening to these accusations against the Clintons makes it harder for me to support Obama in the GE.


    This is just another flavor of the establishment (none / 0) (#47)
    by Salt on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 03:26:47 PM EST

    Is trying to keep the poor Obama and the We down, just keep beating them down, the only thing different he is out in the open desperate to inflame so they will turn out for his guy, what he better hope is that is how this manipulation plays out.  And he also no doubt picked up in the most recent polls that the Clinton campaign is co-opting his previously stealth approach successfully.

    I would just like to say... (none / 0) (#58)
    by CST on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 04:47:49 PM EST
    Thank GOD Axelrod and Penn are not the candidates themselves.  This latest from Axelrod is pretty bad.  Penn, also bad.  Let's keep in mind they are just trying to do their jobs (win a campaign).  This is bad, but there has been a lot of terrible campaigning on both sides.  I don't think either candidate is as bad as their campaigns have been (yes, BOTH of them).  I think it brings out the worst in people.  That being said, lets step back, take a deep breath, and remember what's really important.  A DEMOCRAT IN THE WHITE HOUSE.