Hillary Clinton: “Shame on You, Barack Obama”

Hillary Clinton really cannot learn. The longer her campaign goes on, the more it seems like a re-run of 2008 against Barack Obama.

Example: In his rallies Sanders has been calling Hillary Clinton the “outsourcer in chief” because of her past support of trade deals such as NAFTA and the TPP. She very recently changed her tune on TPP — her pollsters must have told her it’s not a popular position. (In one of the debates, Anderson Cooper accused her of “political expediency.”)  And now she’s playing one of her classic victims games to say she’s being smeared.  “Bernie Sanders stoops to desperate tactics” her surrogates shriek.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a blast from the past. Here is a moment from the 2008 campaign against Barack Obama.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, needing wins in delegate-rich Texas and Ohio to overtake Sen. Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, ramped up her criticism of Obama Saturday, accusing his team of negative campaign tactics “straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook.”

Clinton addressed two mailings the Obama campaign distributed in Ohio – one that lambasts her position on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which her husband, former President Bill Clinton, signed into law, and another that criticizes her proposed health-care plan.

“I have to express my deep disappointment – he is continuing to send false and discredited mailings with information that is not true to the voters of Ohio,” she said, shaking the mailings to punctuate her remarks.

The NAFTA mailer accuses Clinton of switching her position on the trade agreement, saying the senator from New York was a “champion” for NAFTA while first lady, but now opposes it. …

The mailers are “blatantly false and yet he continues to spend millions of dollars perpetuating falsehoods. That is not the new politics that the speeches are about,” she said. “It is not hopeful; it is destructive.”

She added, “Shame on you, Barack Obama – it is time that you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That is what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio and let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”

Obama spokesman Bill Burton denied Clinton’s assertions that the mailers were false.

Her pattern is to just love those job-killing trade bills until she’s running for the presidency, and then she suddenly realizes they were a bad idea after all — until the next job-killing trade bill comes along later.

Here’s another one, from another 2008 news clip.

Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of stooping to “desperate” tactics, as polls put her on track for a solid, morale-boosting win in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania presidential primary. …

The New York senator argued in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer that despite trailing Obama in nominating wins and elected delegates, she was still the most likely Democrat to beat Republican John McCain in November.

“He can be elected; I will be elected,” Clinton said, and accused Obama of resorting to sharply negative tactics in the final hours of the battle for Pennsylvania, which heralds the end-game of the contentious White House battle.

“I think he’s doing what candidates do when they get desperate at the end of an election,” Clinton said. “He is now undermining his message. He has spent all this time crossing Pennsylvania talking about how he runs a positive campaign, except when he gets pressed, and he starts throwing … the ‘kitchen sink’ at me.” …

… She argues that only she can capture big states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, by wooing socially conservative blue-collar voters that Democrats need to piece together a route back to the White House.

Clinton’s people also are pushing for Sanders to get out of the race, as she has a nearly (but not completely) insurmountable lead. This is rich, coming from someone who didn’t concede to Obama until June, and even then was spectacularly ungracious about it.  Read this post by Chris Suellentrop from the New York Times, June 4, 2008:

Maybe it was her night after all: Hillary Clinton decided not to withdraw from the presidential campaign tonight, and the liberals in blogville are not happy about it, to put it mildly. Matthew Yglesias of The Atlantic begins his blog post on Clinton’s speech by writing, “I probably shouldn’t write any more about this woman and her staff. Suffice it to say that I’ve found her behavior over the past couple of months to be utterly unconscionable and this speech is no different.” He continues,  “I think if I were to try to express how I really feel about the people who’ve been enabling her behavior, I’d say something deeply unwise. Suffice it to say, that for quite a while now all of John McCain’s most effective allies have been on Hillary Clinton’s payroll.”

At The American Prospect’s Tapped blog, Dana Goldstein calls Clinton’s speech “troublesome.” “The more I think about it, the more it seems that Hillary’s entire speech was manufactured to rile up her supporters instead of priming them to shift their allegiance to Obama,” Goldstein writes. “Yes, there’s a situation with Michigan and Florida. But is it really fair for Clinton to claim that her 18 million supporters nationwide have been made “invisible?” Who’s supposed to be the bad guy here, scary Howard Dean? Clinton is offering more fighting rhetoric. But the fight should be over. Hillary tonight was a woman standing down more than half her party’s supporters and practically the entire Democratic establishment.”

The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait uses even tougher language. “I’d say that anybody on her staff who cares about their party has a moral obligation to publicly quit and endorse Obama,” he writes at The Plank, TNR’s staff blog. Chait also writes of the speech:

Incredible. She justifies her continuing the campaign by saying that she finished the campaign. She doesn’t concede that Obama has a majority of delegates, let alone that he’s won. She repeats her bogus popular vote argument. She congratulates Obama’s campaign on its “achievements,” but barely musters a single good word about him.

Chait’s colleagues at The New Republic are almost as exercised. Isaac Chotiner, also writing at The Plank, calls the speech “combative and petty” and headlines his post, “A Total Disgrace.” He concludes, “If Clinton wants people to believe that she cares more about the Democratic Party than her own career, she is failing badly.”

There’s a lot more to that. It’s not pretty.  I guess a lot of people have forgotten this; I have not.

Veep Debate Live Blog

I refuse to listen to the pre-debate commentary on teevee, but you can begin commenting here if you like. I’ll start the live blog at 9 o’clock.

* Well, it’s 9 o’clock. Wish us luck.

* Joe Biden says the last thing we need is another war.

* There’s a split screen on MSNBC that shows Biden reacting to Ryan.

* I want Biden to call Ryan out for saying anyone is “apologizing for our values.”

* There is no subsidy of abortion in Obamacare.

* Well, Ryan was clear about something. He wants to criminalize abortion.

* Ryan is anti-abortion because of reason and science?

* I think Joe is doing well so far. I like the question to Ryan, how will you change minds in two months.

* 47 PERCENT! Joe got it in!

Sic ’em, Joe. He’s on a roll.

Ryan is saying the economy is getting worse, and I don’t think that’s what people are feeling now.

Is Ryan even making sense now?

*Show me a policy!


No, Social Security is not going bankrupt.

Sorry I’m not posting; I’m having a good time watching this.

Privatizing social security!

Who do you trust.

Oh, is Ryan leaving himself open.

No, he doesn’t have the specifics. He has a framework, no details.

Push him on the math.

How is American foreign policy “unraveling”? Does it seem that way?

Ryan is smacked down on Afghanistan.

Ryan is not making sense. We’re supposed to work with our allies but he doesn’t want to wait for allies.

If we don’t get to women’s issues there is going to be a of griping, but that would be the moderator’s fault.

Ah ha! abortion!

Joe said “forcible rape.”


Ryan has been neither a convincing wonk nor a convincing salesman. He comes across as a callow little twerp.

Well, Chris Matthews is happy. Should everybody be happy?

* Twitter is alight with calls for Martha Raddatz to take over Meet the Press. And with that I will sign off for the night. See you tomorrow!

Live Blog Tonight

If you plan to watch the veep debate (beginning 9 pm eastern time), you’re welcome to hang out here for moral support. As before, I make no predictions. However, I do not make the assumptions that Captain Ed assumes we liberals are making.

Democrats are too quick to deride Ryan as a colorless wonk. They know he will bring an encyclopedic knowledge of policy, especially on budgets and entitlement programs, but assume that he will come across as bland and unemotional.

If that meathead has an encyclopedic knowledge of anything more complicated than mayonnaise, I’m Prince Harry.

Lately Zombie Eyes hasn’t even been faking it well, although I assume he is being drilled with misinformation he can use in place of actual facts. And when he’s on his game, he’s good at presenting a right-wing caricature of a policy wonk, so anything can happen tonight. But no, I am not concerned that I will be bored by Paulie’s emotional blandness.

The moderator will be Martha Raddatz, ABC News’s chief foreign correspondent. She has not moderated a debate before, so there is no way to know how she will do. However, after all the criticism leveled at Jim “the Marshmallow” Lehrer, I hope she will provide a bit more of an edge to the evening.

Speaking of debates, there was another Warren-Brown debate in Massachusetts last night, and from the descriptions I read Warren did very well and Brown is a jerk, although it seems he has backed off harping on Warren’s family heritage. Current polls have Warren ahead by 4 points.

Finally, the eternally pathetic Darrell Issa and his witchhunt hearings on Benghazi, eagerly trying to find political ammunition to use against the Obama Administration, accidentally blew the cover of a secret CIA base. Thanks loads, guys.

Dem Convention Night 2

If you are watching, feel free to comment.

* Anyone catching the salute to veterans? I’m betting Mittens is kicking himself for overlooking the veterans.

* Now they’ve got a nun. This is covering the bases.

* Crowd is getting fired up for Sandra Fluke.

I have to say the Dems have not been shy about voicing support for abortion and reproductive rights.

*Elizabeth Warren onstage now.

*Shout out to Teddy Roosevelt. Yay!

*It’s the Big Dog.

Republicans have been in power for 28 years of the past 52, Democrats 24 years. “So what’s the job score? Republicans 24 million, Democrats 42.”

“Politics does not have to be a blood sport.”

If the righties were hoping that Bill undermined the President in this speech, they’re very disappointed now.

Talk about a love fest. Wow.

President Obama, 4.5 million jobs. Congressional Republicans, zero.


The Big Dog did not disappoint. This was a brilliant speech, and I hope a lot of people watched.

Thoughts on Last Night

It struck me that the GOP convention featured speaker after speaker talking about the hardships their grandparents had overcome. Last night we heard speaker after speaker talk about the hardships they had overcome themselves.

To be fair, several Dem speakers spoke of parents and grandparents also. But the hardship stories were different in another way — the Dems connected the hardship stories to real policies in a way that the GOP did not. John Dickerson noticed this, too.

If the speech is effective beyond the power of well delivered rhetoric, it will be because the first lady took this description of Obama’s core self and linked it to policy. This is what Ann Romney and Mitt Romney never did. The message of the GOP convention was “Trust Mitt.” That was Michelle Obama’s message too: Her husband could be trusted because he came from a background and has lived a middle class life. But then she started connecting the biography to the policy. This was always Bill Clinton’s great gift. If this connection is successfully made, then that’s what will make this pitch more politically [word missing?] than just a pretty speech by a loving wife who thinks her husband deserves an A for effort.

“We were so young, so in love, and so in debt,” she joked about their early student loan debt, which was higher than their mortgage. “That’s why Barack has fought so hard to increase student aid.” She made the same connection between Obama’s grandmother and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work. Tax cuts, the auto bailout, and every other policy, she argued, grew out of his biography.

You got that from most of the Dem speakers; a personal connection, a story of how their own experiences shaped their views and inspired them to enter public life. With Republicans there’s a huge disconnect; their experiences of real hardship are second and third hand. We ended up listening to Ann Romney — who is having an elevator installed in the garage of one of her homes to manage her several cars — pretend to care about the price of gasoline.

Another difference between GOP and Dem “hardship” narratives is that Republicans like to tell these stories to show how Grandpa succeeded without anyone’s help, whereas Dems talk about coming together to achieve success. Mayor Julian Castro, for example, talked about “investing in opportunity.” I liked this part of his speech —

Of all the fictions we heard last week in Tampa, the one I find most troubling is this: If we all just go our own way, our nation will be stronger for it. Because if we sever the threads that connect us, the only people who will go far are those who are already ahead. We all understand that freedom isn’t free. What Romney and Ryan don’t understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.

Another thing that struck me is that the Dems talked a lot about veterans, a group absent from last week’s GOP rhetoric. And when Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth said,

President Obama pushed for fairness in the military, listening to commanders as we ended “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and on how to allow women to officially serve in more combat jobs—because America’s daughters are just as capable of defending liberty as her sons.

— I saw a roaring ovation from the women in the hall. (Duckworth also reinforced the “working together” theme by talking about how her Blackhawk helicopter crew didn’t abandon her after a rocket-propelled grenade tore her legs off.)

In Tampa, the GOP seemed to have entirely dropped its long-standing conceit of being the pro-military and pro-national security party. Maybe somebody said this, but I didn’t hear them talking about supporting the troops or getting tough on terrorists. It was like they forgot. Why was that?

After Osama bin Laden was killed, I wrote,

The larger point is that, while the death of bin Laden might not be a front-burner issue in 2012, it certainly has changed the trajectory of U.S. politics in President Obama’s favor.

Some commenters argued that the polling bump the President got from bin Laden’s death would be short-lived, and I didn’t disagree, but my point was that the killing of bin Laden would force the GOP to make narrative adjustments it didn’t want to make. And I think the lack of talk about security and terrorists in Tampa was the result of that adjustment.

Righties still can, and do, reassure each other that Obama is soft on terrorists. They still like to compare President Obama to President Carter, who in rightie mythology plays the role of the Specter of Wimpiness. But it must have sunk in to at least some of them that they can no longer credibly claim to be the party of Tough Guys Who Will Protect You From Scary Things versus the wimpy Dems. That part of their sales pitch was kneecapped when Bin Laden was killed.

And given the rolling embarrassment that was Mitt’s “world tour,” I suspect Mitt himself may have banned talk of foreign policy from the convention.

Here is Deval Patrick’s speech, if you missed it.


Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

Blackbird fly
Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

News item: Beatles Stars Reunite at Concert, dedicate song "Blackbird" to President Obama.

Don’t Forget to Breathe

The final pre-election polls show Obama in the lead. I would have said “comfortably” in the lead, but you know us lefties. We always expect a cartoon anvil to drop out of the sky and flatten us.

The Right is still running a signature right-wing campaign. They’ve got the illegal immigrant aunt, more 1960s terrorist ties, claims that Obama will destroy entire industries/ban Christianity/start another holocaust. A vote for Obama is a choice to go to hell.

Good thing the election is tomorrow, or in a few more days they’d be claiming Obama wants to eat your baby. With fava beans and a nice chianti.

Michael Tomasky theorizes
why the smears aren’t working the way they used to:

That coalition of affinity that Reagan created between right and middle, Bush has put asunder. His failures have made the average, apolitical American as distrustful of conservatism as he or she once was of liberalism – indeed somewhat more so, since the memory of conservative failure is fresher in the mind. This is a new context. Many experts have yet to grasp it. Certain elements within the mainstream media haven’t quite got it yet. And clearly some liberals just can’t believe that it might be the case.

This is not to say that negative campaigning will disappear as of tomorrow. But it is to observe that political contexts change, and eras end. I’m still suspicious enough to use the conditional tense, but by Wednesday morning even the most paranoid liberals may be forced to accept that fact.

I believe we are looking at an enormous political re-aliagnment, bigger than 1980. More like 1933. But these things don’t begin and end neatly. The re-alignment has been going on for a while — at least since Katrina — and I don’t expect it to end tomorrow. I’ll have more thoughts on that later.