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Tilting at Windmills

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November 14, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

WHAT'S WRONG WITH HILLARY?....In the LA Times this morning, Peter Nicholas writes a piece about Hillary Clinton's operation being "too scripted." The hook, of course, is the planted question at a campaign stop last week:

"It's a small thing that could be a metaphor for a bigger concern for people — over-management and too much caution," said Robert M. Shrum, a senior advisor to the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry.

Exactly. As everyone acknowledges, campaigns plant questions all the time. It's literally a nonstory. There hasn't even been a suggestion that Hillary does it more than anyone else, let alone that she's doing anything unusual.

But it gives the press an excuse to write about something they've all been itching to write about anyway. The planted question itself may be trivial, but the license it gives everyone to build enormous fairy castle metaphors about "what's wrong with Hillary" isn't. Is it any wonder that she's so cautious around the media?

Kevin Drum 12:46 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (71)

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Comments

They don't like her and I don't blame them.

Posted by: goethean on November 14, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Kevin Drum: Why can't the media just cover up Hillary's deceptions?? They did it for Bill, after all!

Sorry Kevin.With the right-wing blogosphere now, the days of the media being able to hide things like this are over.

Posted by: Al on November 14, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

WHAT'S WRONG WITH HILLARY?

One other thing Kevin. I think one scandal Hillary will need to explain is dumping her cat Socks on her ex-secretary Betty Currie immediately after she left the White House. It shows how cold, calculated, and politically motivated she is that she used her cat as a political prop to further her political agenda for 8 years in the White House and them immediately got rid of her cat when she was no longer needed.

Posted by: Al on November 14, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

[i]"As everyone acknowledges, campaigns plant questions all the time."[/i]

Do you have any evidence for this assertion, Kevin?

Posted by: DaveWoo on November 14, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

For years, the current president has conducted "town hall meetings" that consist of nothing but potted plants and partisan suckups.

I don't see the story here, unless the story is the one-sidedness of Hillary coverage.

Posted by: skimble on November 14, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Al,
How do you compare this to the troops being given questions to ask President Bush?

Maybe you should STFU until you get your house in order.

Posted by: DR on November 14, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Can Shrum please just go away? Hasn't he done enough damage to the party already without fellating DC reporters' hate-Clinton hardons? Jesus Christ.

Posted by: jimBOB on November 14, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

That's right, Al, she should have used the cat to sell medical supplies like Rudy's wife. Or used it practice surgery like Bill Frist.

What a heartless woman.

Posted by: DR on November 14, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

What DaveWoo said.

Even if "everyone" does acknowledge this practice, "everyone" doesn't include me, and I read this and other blogs every day, read the paper, watch the Friday shows, etc. Question-planting seems sleazy, paranoid, controlling (whether or not "everyone" does it), to me and I'm sure to many others. People don't like it when a Clinton does it, they don't like it when Pres. Bush does it, they didn't like it when Rumsfeld did it... (Granted, this makes it a pretty easy story to write.)

Is this the same phenomenon of political types *finally* beginning to understand just how electable Giuliani really is, nationwide?

Well, I've stopped making sense. I'll find some more lunch, maybe.

Posted by: ajw_93 on November 14, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

> For years, the current president has conducted
> "town hall meetings" that consist of nothing but
> potted plants and partisan suckups.
>
> I don't see the story here, unless the story is
> the one-sidedness of Hillary coverage.

Perhaps the story is that progressives and Democrats were hoping for a candidate and a President who was better than that. If Bush/Cheney/Rove/McClellen's behavior is that standard than it is a bit unclear to me why I should vote for anyone.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on November 14, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

"As everyone acknowledges, campaigns plant questions all the time. It's literally a nonstory. There hasn't even been a suggestion that Hillary does it more than anyone else, let alone that she's doing anything unusual."

If that's true, why didn't Hillary simply say that when asked about it? Also, if it is true, then doesn't her denial that she didn't know that questions were planted by her campaign staff just another lie that needs to be exposed?

Unless of course, Kevin doesn't want to be accused of pulling a Russert by asking such inconvenient questions of your future nominee. LOL

Posted by: Chicounsel on November 14, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think the problem is that she already has a reputation for being too "scripted", i.e. she won't take a position on an issue without polling on it first.

Her biggest hurdle right now is not the fact that she's a woman, or that she's a Clinton....it's the fact that people believe that she has no core principles and will say/do anything to get elected.

Posted by: mfw13 on November 14, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Not to defend HRC or Kevin or the practice of planting questions, but Craig Crawford who has covered elections for 25 years seems to think it is a pretty common practice. He also stated, he has covered the Clintons for awhile and if it had been done on the orders of a senior staffer, it would have been done much more cleverly and there would have been no tracks.

Again this is not to defend the practice or HRC.

Posted by: molly bloom on November 14, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Public political Q and A's are really hard to run well. People who don't know what they're talking about (and especially people who think that they do) tend to ask extremely stupid, rambling questions. Other people might ask extremely arcane questions of great personal interest to themselves, but that won't enlighten anyone else (say, a farmer asking about regulations pertaining to his or her specific crops). And there's always that one slightly crazy person who just makes a 3 minute speech and everyone gets uncomfortable.

Making sure that there are a couple of people out there asking decent questions which hit upon major policy themes seems like a pretty obvious thing to do. If you screen the questions, which tends to work best, people would screech about censorship.

Posted by: rufustfyrfly on November 14, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush/Cheney/Rove/McClellen's behavior is that standard than it is a bit unclear to me why I should vote for anyone.

When Hillary has goons throwing out anyone who showed up in a car with a GOP bumper sticker, then you can start making that comparison. When Hillary hires ringers to pose as reporters asking softball questions, then you can start making that comparison. When Hillary uses her security classification to do strategic leaks and punish whistleblowers then you can start making that comparison.

Posted by: jimBOB on November 14, 2007 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

As everyone acknowledges, campaigns plant questions all the time.

Alleging something is not the same thing as acknowledging it. To say it's being "acknowledged" is to assume that the allegation is true.

But if it were true, then we'd see the wingnuts and Hillary's oppo research team digging up examples of the other candidates doing it all over the place. If it's done "all the time" that wouldn't be hard.

But no, what we get are the widespread allegations, from Hillary supporters for the most part plus people like Kevin who credulously pick up the meme and run with it. So cough up some examples of Obama and Edwards doing this thing that they all do all the time, or challenge the allegation.

Posted by: bob on November 14, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"As everyone acknowledges, campaigns plant questions all the time. It's literally a nonstory."

This is just not true. I think Kevin needs to come visit Iowa and see these events for himself. The only time I have seen anything like this was four years ago when Dean tried to run his campaign the same way. When he came to my town, I was shocked to see that I didn't recognize any of the people who asked questioned. Then I saw all of them gather together after the event and leave together. Then it all made sense. I decided then that Dean couldn't really go unscripted and decided to go with Kerry.

Now, one can question whether this is a good way to decide who to support. But for me, Dean showed me that he didn't really trust people outside his bubble. Hillary is showing much of the same.

In her case, the sin is much graver precisely because people already don't see her as very sincere. She just goes according to her script. And sometimes she just spouts the script without thinking about what she is actually saying. Hence the highlight moment of the JJ Dinner: Hillary said "What are we going to do about global warming? ... Turn up the heat!" What was she thinking?

Posted by: JPab on November 14, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

What's that? Bob Shrum says she's doing it all wrong?

That settles it then. Full speed ahead, Ms. Clinton.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on November 14, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"As everyone acknowledges, campaigns plant questions all the time."

Um, what?

Yes, the Bush campaigns planted questions all the time--and we on the left justifiably mocked them for it, and questioned the professionalism of the press for ignoring it.

Now all of a sudden -everyone- does it? How about, oh, a few examples? Maybe even a link?

Posted by: g on November 14, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

If that's true, why didn't Hillary simply say that when asked about it?

This is putting a pre-primary campaign question plant on par with similar "why didn't they simply admit it" lines of logic, like the firing of U.S. attorneys, like the NSA wiretaps, like torture.

It's a flyspeck of an issue relative to what's substantively going on in this country -- and Hillary gets the brunt of overexamination because she's Hillary.

Posted by: skimble on November 14, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin quotes Shrum: "It's a small thing that could be a metaphor for a bigger concern for people ..."

I'm not a fan of Hillary Clinton, but this is exactly the sort of BS that we can expect from the corporate mass media for the next year.

Just read Bob Somerby's incomparable writings at The Daily Howler to see how the media spun "small things" -- and made-up "things" -- about Al Gore into "bigger concerns for people" in the 2000 election campaign.

Indeed, unfortunately I must recommend The Daily Howler to everyone as absolutely essential reading throughout this election campaign.

I say "Unfortunately", because the reason that Somerby's analysis is essential is that unfortunately nothing has changed since 2000. Whoever is the Democratic nominee in 2008 will get the same hostile treatment from the corporate mass media that Gore got in 2000; just as the Republican nominee will get the same free pass and obsequious fawning that Bush got in 2000.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on November 14, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary's basic problem is that none of her advisors want her to speak from her brains because her advisors fear the female shopping syndrome.

Take for example Robert Rubin, her economics advisor. After Hillary had promised babies a social security payment, Robert looked at her overall yield curve for age dependent government payouts. The yield curve was disjointed and bizarre, and Hillary had no clue even though everyone in the economics blogs was pointing out that Robert Rubin must be a dumbshit.

Robert had to take the Citicorp job or let Hillary shopping ruin his career. It is very similiar to what happened to Gore in the primaries. Getting a Democrat through the progressive dominant primary ruins the careers of economic advisors and they drop out.

Posted by: Matt on November 14, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on November 14, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "With the right-wing blogosphere now, the days of the media being able to hide things like this are over."

Hide what, Al?

I mean, it wasn't like Hillary Clinton authorized almost 200 White House day passes for a gay male escort, and then allowed him to participate in the daily White House press corps gaggle as a faux-credentialed member of an equally faux-credentialed online news service, in order to throw conveniently timed rhetorical nerfballs at either the president or his press secretary, thereby rescuing them from an uncomfortable line of questioning -- was it?

Certainly, if the mainstream media can overlook that outrageous sitcom-like storyline with nary a shrug, then by that admittedly dubious standard this recent brouhaha over a planted question is truly a non-story.

However, I would offer my own assessment that the breathless coverage of such over the last couple of days really speaks volumes about the glaring political bias of today's corporate-owned American media toward the GOP, and far more so than it is revelatory of any supposed chicanery on the part of the Clinton campaign.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 14, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Here we go again. Frankly, I relish the fight. You cannot compare any alleged lie, or deceptive or triangulated position or comments the Clintons have ever taken or issued with: the lies, distortions, destruction of civil liberties, scripted and roped off town meetings with Bush, arrested demonstrators, thrown out people who wear a t-shirt, lying us into a war, spending $1.5 trillion of our treasure on a head fake in the wrong direction, or the deaths of brave soldiers,the virtual destruction of our vaunted military, hatred in the world, destruction of FEMA, presiding over a bombing of NY and the loss of New Orleans, deficit spending, etc. etc. etc. The Right and the MSM look so stupid focusing on the trivial all over again while they ignored the horror of the last 7 years. So I say, "lets Get ready to rumble" (A registered trademark of Michael Buffer I had better add). As long as we select a candidate who can fight and fight hard, we can take on these fools. I look forward to it.

Posted by: Jammer on November 14, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

mfw13:"it's the fact that people believe that she has no core principles and will say/do anything to get elected."

Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah, with Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry. Never hear with people like Mitt Romney or Rudy!


Posted by: Jose Padilla on November 14, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: "[Bob Shrum and Bill Press] were as successful at their trade as were Doctor Kevorkian and Ted Kennedy at saving lives."

Ooh, look -- mhr is training to be a scab at the writers' strike in Hollywood, obviously hoping to offer scripts for a mean-spirited sitcom starring Dennis Miller.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 14, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah, with Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry. Never hear with people like Mitt Romney or Rudy!"

In all fairness, I've been hearing this all the time about Romney, and it's probably the main reason he's not the frontrunner right now. (Also, to a lesser extent, McCain.) As for Rudy, he actually seems to genuinely believe what he says - and that's what scares the hell out of me.

Posted by: DaveWoo on November 14, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Matt: "... because her advisors fear the female shopping syndrome."

As opposed to, say, the white male "sit my sagging fat ass on the couch all day drinking beer while watching NASCAR" syndrome?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 14, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt Sen. Clinton is caught between both the MSM's gunning for her, at the request of their majority shareholders, and the Left's questioning of her actual policies and votes. She ought to be the perfect moderate candidate, wanting to pretty much keep things the way they are with some few incremental changes for healthcare and deregulation. A bone for each major constituency. The Iraq debacle and W. Bush Republicanism has radicalized the country, and that may be Sen. Clinton's biggist challenge to overcome in her quest for the presidency, which leads to the over-management of her campaign and increased scrutiny by the MSM and Leftists.

Posted by: Brojo on November 14, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Her PR and advance people aren't that damned careful. Every media member and outlet lusting for her blood interviews restaurant staff after a campaign visit. The "She's a cheap/non tipper" story writes itself and is famously trotted out every election cycle. Yet somehow she allows it to reappear. Give everyone in the frickin eatery $20 when you walk in the door and remind them when you leave you gave them $20. Do something! How goddamned hard can it be to assure these stories don't get written?

Posted by: steve duncan on November 14, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

If all Hillary's supporters have to defend the plant is "Hey man, everyone does it. what's the big deal?", then they really have no argument whatsoever.

Posted by: Soullite on November 14, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Whoever is the Democratic nominee in 2008 will get the same hostile treatment from the corporate mass media that Gore got in 2000

It's expensive and time-consuming to write the news after it happens.

If Teddy White were alive today, The Making of the President 2008 would already be at the printers' -- or perhaps even remaindered already..

On the tombstone of the Republic will be the epitaph "Killed By A Story Arc".

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on November 14, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

"It's a small thing that could be a metaphor for a bigger concern for people — over-management and too much caution," said Robert M. Shrum

Gee, Bob Shrum calling a campaign overly cautious. Shorter Bob Shrum: pot to kettle, you're black!

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on November 14, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I was at a Biden event and it was clear the first two questioners were plants, and Biden spent almost all the time he had answering their questions.

I don't think it's a non-story. Small story, yes. But I disagree the press is out to get her specifically. They write silly stuff about most of the candidates. They're into building up and tearing down and CLinton isn't the only victim of it.

Gotta say, though, Kevin, your comment smacks of paranoia, something I've never thought of your commentary.

Posted by: scruncher on November 14, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

It really disgusts me how just about everyone is willing to trot out the most vile gender tropes to slander HRC. Why don't they just write articles about what an evil manipulative witch she is and get it over with? Then we can see who the bozos are.

Posted by: Mina on November 14, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

>"...progressives and Democrats were hoping for a candidate and a President who was better than that..."

Bang! Hits nail on head.

I think most folks (left and right) regard the candidates being presented by the 'party machinery' (Clinton & Guliani) as pretty poor choices.

Unfortunately, if americans don't get angry and shake the system up they won't get anything better. Don't hold your breath though.

Posted by: Buford on November 14, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I wouldn't be surprised if lots of politicians plant questions in Q&A sessions, but I have seen no evidence presented that Obama or Edwards has done this during this campaign or others. Do you have such evidence?

Also, if this was Giuliani that was outed for planting questions, would your reaction be as ho hum?

Posted by: Yancey Ward on November 14, 2007 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Also, if this was Giuliani that was outed for planting questions, would your reaction be as ho hum?

Giuliani would never plant questions, he just plants phone calls.

Posted by: AJ on November 14, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey Ward: "I wouldn't be surprised if lots of politicians plant questions in Q&A sessions, but I have seen no evidence presented that Obama or Edwards has done this during this campaign or others."

Maybe, maybe not. Having worked in politics for close to 20 years, my experience tells me that question-planting, i.e. steering the public discussion to a favored topic, is a not-uncommon practice.

Would your own perception of the Obama campaign change with the knowledge that it "stacked the deck" at the Iowa Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, bringing in several thousand supporters from the Chicago area to attend the event -- hence the well-noted "enthusiastic reception" to Sen. Obama's speech last weekend?

(And no, I'm not making that up. If you watch that speech, take note of the very loud response when Sen. Obama asks how many people are from Chicago. They literally drowned out Obama's Iowa supporters in attendance.)

It's not my intent to single out the Obama campaign, or to allude wrongdoing, but rather to point out that the success or failure of any political campaign rests upon its ability to achieve an optimum public perception.

Yancey Ward: "Also, if this was Giuliani that was outed for planting questions, would your reaction be as ho hum?"

No more so than rhe corporated-owned mainstream media, which even as we type is already working furiously to disconnect the Bernie Kerik indictment and the Regan v. News Corp lawsuit from the Giuliani campaign.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 14, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

A fair number of people will just skim the headings on the posts on this blog. When they see one that says "What's wrong with Hillary?" they will assume something is wrong with her. If they don't read the rest of the post, they won't know that Kevin said much was being made out of nothing. A headline thus does damage when the story doesn't support it, as Kevin's post did not go on to state that something was wrong with Hillary. There is only small irony that Kevin is doing the same thing he has accused the media of doing -- I really don't know whether this kind of thing is deliberate or suggests an unconscious bias. If nothing is wrong with Hillary why not say "Nothing is wrong with Hillary" instead of "What's wrong with Hillary" implying that something is wrong.

Posted by: Lucy on November 14, 2007 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii,

There is a big difference in planting questions and having people from Chicago show up in Iowa. I grew up in Iowa and can tell you that Chicago is just a few hours away - easy access for somebody who wants to see or support a candidate. It actually would appear to be a strong showing of the enthusiasm of his supporters that he was able to get that many people to travel that far to hear him speak. Unless you can show me that he paid people to show up, I would be hard pressed to claim that Sen. Obama "stacked the deck" because there was a "loud response when Sen. Obama asks how many people are from Chicago."

Posted by: kn on November 14, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

To the Secular Animist: hear, hear! Somerby's writings between now and the election are important, no, vital.

Bob Shrum? A guy who is 0 for 7 in campaigns? That Bob Shrum? Isn't it just like the cable shows to call a guy with that batting average an expert. Criminy, there's a reason he's not managing a campaign. He sucks at it!

It's no surprise that HRC's staff planting a question is a story. Oddly, empirical evidence of Rudy's horrendous judgment is not. Where did the Bernie Kerik go?

Posted by: TJM on November 14, 2007 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Her biggest hurdle right now is not the fact that she's a woman, or that she's a Clinton....it's the fact that people believe that she has no core principles and will say/do anything to get elected.

Well, there's an obvious comeback for that:

We have a president now who REALLY REALLY BELIEVES in his "core principles", and who sticks to his guns come hell or high water*. How's that working out...?

* - no puns intended

Posted by: Thlayli on November 14, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

She is cautious around the media because she doesn't want to piss them off badly enough for the media to disclose the facts about her that will turn people off. Facts like her campaign is beholden to some of the worst perpetrators of corporate crime in the US. Companies that some, if not most liberals hold accountable for the current state of affairs in this nation.


HILLARY CLINTON (D)
Top Contributors
DLA Piper $356,100
Goldman Sachs $350,050
Morgan Stanley $323,550
Citigroup Inc $307,350
EMILY's List $211,642
National Amusements Inc $193,850
JP Morgan Chase & Co $173,350
Kirkland & Ellis $172,000
Skadden, Arps et al $151,460
Greenberg Traurig LLP $150,900
Cablevision Systems $135,113
Merrill Lynch $125,550
Time Warner $124,150
Lehman Brothers $123,450
Bear Stearns $120,580
Patton Boggs $118,400
Ernst & Young $110,650
Blank Rome LLP $105,100
Latham & Watkins $100,950
News Corp $99,350

What's wrong with Hill-bot? Well we can start at the bottom of her campaign contribution top contributors....Fox News in at just under 100k...Allright HillRod! Way to use that corporate money!

At the top we see the largest law firm in the world and just below that a company thatfast becoming everyones favorite pickpocket.

Money interests and Media interests. Hmm, how much of those two agends do you suspect lines up with you and your goals? How many coroprations on that list, do you suspect, have your best intrests at heart?

There is several things "wrong" with Hillary. Too bad no one will talk about them.

Posted by: Eason on November 14, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

We have a president now who REALLY REALLY BELIEVES in his "core principles"

No we don't. We have a president who substitutes a few simplistic notions (starting/threatening wars, using torture, expanding presidential power, increasing secrecy) and who blunders around applying those notions in inconsistent ways (attack Iraq over a non-existent nuke program, threaten Iran over their half-assed attempts to make nukes, let N Korea build actual nukes). His behavior is best explained by his lack of insight, his lack of interest in understanding anything, and his tendency to go along with whatever advisor happens to get his ear first.

Hillary isn't like that at all, BTW, and comparisons between Bush and Hillary are odious. Unlike Bush, Hillary wants to understand issues (in minute detail) and clearly has the intelligence to do so.

And unlike Bush, she doesn't latch onto whatever direction is suggested by the first advisor to get her attention on an issue. She uses polling data for that.

Posted by: bob on November 14, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary Clinton should immediately hire Bob Shrum to ensure her victory in the primaries and the general election. Without him she is doomed. Ask John Kerry.

Posted by: gregor on November 14, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Is it any wonder that she's so cautious around the media?

Give me a break.

It's *because* of the MSM that HRC is the run-away winner in the national polls (as opposed to, eg, the IA polls, where retail politics dominate). The MSM, along with most of the rest of the opinion makers and moneyed elite in this country, got behind her and pushed her as the front-runner on the Dem ticket for the last year. It makes it easier on a lazy MSM to have just a few candidates to talk about instead of actually providing coverage for the entire field.

But they did their job too well. A run-away winner is not a good story -- the MSM needs a horse-race. So now after building HRC up, they have to take her down.

This is what happens every election cycle.

Posted by: Disputo on November 14, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Now the media is on to Judith's lawsuit and Giuliani's being named in it--new and salacious scandal about the affair between Bernard Kerik and Judith Regan and their trysts at the apartment at Ground Zero in New York--purportedly donated for tired workers at the World Trade Center site.
The media loves this sordid tale much more.
In addition, with Eliot Spitzer dropping the idea of drivers licenses--Hillary Clinton appears saved.
A poll on electibility had her at 80%, and Barack Obama at 42%--Iowa, I believe.

Posted by: consider wisely always on November 14, 2007 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Donald From Hawaii:

You're just wrong about the JJ dinner. I was with a large contingent of Obama people, and we were all from Iowa. The campaign tried to get all its precinct captains to Des Moines for an afternoon meeting with the candidate. Understandably, most precinct captains preferred to skip the early meeting and just went to dinner (the meeting also conflicted with the Iowa game). But there must have been hundreds (if not one or two thousand)people going around with Obama precinct captain buttons. They didn't come from Chicago.

Posted by: JPab on November 14, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

In addition, with Eliot Spitzer dropping the idea of drivers licenses--Hillary Clinton appears saved.

Spitzer dropped the license idea and bam before you know it Hillary does a 180 and goes from supporting the idea to rejecting it. Her detractors will say she flip-flopped, that she's "triangulating" again, looking for the popular position. But in fact, she was clearly showing that she is able to respond very quickly when the facts on the ground change.

Posted by: bob on November 14, 2007 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

But in fact, she was clearly showing that she is able to respond very quickly when the facts on the ground change.

What facts changed?

Here in IL not allowing those without SS#s to get DLs is a money maker -- every time they are picked up by the cops for DWL, the gvmt gets to collect huge fines.

Posted by: Disputo on November 14, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

What facts changed?

Spitzer was supporting the idea, but now he's dropped it. That's all that changed. It may seem like a small thing, but Hillary's position on the issue turned on a dime. There was no time for extensive focus grouping, no time to see new poll results and moving averages over days or weeks. This was triangulation from the gut.


Posted by: bob on November 14, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

How many of us could be put on the spot, in front of world-wide tv cameras, during a heated debate, with such huge stakes, being human and all,
and not slip up?

Posted by: consider wisely always on November 14, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps, my memory is too long now. I seem to remember that when Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro ran against then-vice presidential candidate George Bush (the father), Mrs. Bush -dressed so nicely with pearls adorning her dress was heard to say that the first woman to run at that level reminded her of "something that rhymes with witch." So, the other day, the well-coiffed and presumably very proper lady from South Carolina was recorded as asking would-be presidential nominee McCain how to"beat the bitch." Well, I guess some things have changed. We all seem to be a bit more open. Why is a Senator with a voting record that is similar to most progressive Senators (if we are dealing with facts and not emotion) causing even so much apoplexy among some of our own party? Why all the character attacks -- about laughs, smiles, suits, hair, sound of voice, etc.? Hmmmm. Is it because she is white? Is it because she is middle aged? Is it because of her early concern for health care or education or? Sometimes, I think, it is easier to deal with the important issue argument when we first face up to that other emotional blockage that may be happening here. Just a thought.

Posted by: chris on November 14, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Here we have another negative campaign "narrative" from the SCLM for a running Democrat: For Gore, it was disingenuous, stiff, etc. For Hillary, it will be "scripted", artificial, cold, etc. Where are their downbeat narratives for the Republican candidates?

Posted by: Neil B. on November 14, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Eason above has such a good point about Hillary's contributors. Why aren't more of you turned off by that? And isn't it hillary-ously ironic, how the Right despise her so as such a "left-wing" type? Makes you wonder just how utterly sold out a person has to be, to not be "left-wing" to them.

Posted by: !!! on November 14, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Chris Matthews can't seem to get off the topic--he and Pat Buchanan (Loud Mouth) are literally screaming in a pitiful way about Senator Clinton, who this week hasn't been able to buy a vowel.
Rachel Maddow of Air America couldn't get a word in edge-wise. Tucker had a fun time criticizing Hillary as well. In fact, I am done with HardBall's macho approach to the news (masking what?)
I never watch Tucker any way.
I think this will pass, but the woman-hating going on in the media is obvious, and as a girl myself, it is despicable.
Chris at 8:12 p.m. comment above had noteworthy points.

Posted by: consider wisely always on November 14, 2007 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I can't testify whether the Edwards campaign "plants" questions. But I can personally testify that they don't prescreen questions. I am a strong Edwards supporter and was attending a fundraiser. I asked him a question about his policy regarding a possible effort to take out Iran's nuclear program. This was shortly after his comments in Israel that the president should keep "all options on the table." I asked him specifically whether "all options" would include a first strike tactical nuclear attack. Although I am a supporter it was not an easy question, nor was it intended to be. Edwards answered no, the answser I was hoping to hear. Can you state categorically that you have evidence that the Edwards campaign plants questions in the ways we are discussing with the Clinton campaign?

Posted by: progressivedem on November 14, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

It's like Dan Balz said on PBS Washington Weekly.

Hillary is too beltway.

In fact Hillary has the same kind of beltwayism that is infected the other beltway senator too, Ms. Dianne Feinstein. A disease who's obvious symptoms are those of self-servism. It is this "experience" Hillary speaks of where by she merely representing herself rather then her constituency.

Hillary is a typical beltway non-starter. Hell, Hillary couldn't even make up her mind to support "torture is okay" AG Waterboarding Mukasey or not.

Posted by: Me_again on November 14, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately for the United States of America, Hillary Clinton is the democratic party's next John Kerry with or without Bob Shrum.

Posted by: progressivedem on November 14, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

As everyone acknowledges, campaigns plant questions all the time.

Ahh, the old "everybody" does it bullshit.

Nice try Kevin, but no cigars.

Obama and Edwards haven't done it and you know it, Kevin.

Posted by: Me_again on November 14, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, but rationalize: it would be fine to have Bill back--and times were quite acceptable in the nineties--retirement plans were growing, peace for ten years, gas at less than $1.80 a gallon--
wasn't that price the all time high? And the music--Pearl Jam, Soundgarten, Alice in Chains.
If Hillary is the nominee, ok. My heart claims Edwards, but the goal is to get the Republicans out.

Posted by: consider wisely on November 14, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

consider wisely: If Hillary is the nominee, ok. My heart claims Edwards, but the goal is to get the Republicans out.

You mean Hillary isn't a Republican? Who knew.

Posted by: alex on November 14, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Your heart (on his progressive policies) and your head (on his recent big head-to-head leads against potential republican rivals) can be with Edwards this election season. Put your support and your vote there.

Posted by: progressivedem on November 14, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

I love Edwards.

Posted by: consider wisely always on November 14, 2007 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

kn: "Unless you can show me that he paid people to show up, I would be hard pressed to claim that Sen. Obama 'stacked the deck' because there was a 'loud response when Sen. Obama asks how many people are from Chicago.' "

What does getting paid have to do with any of this? By that criterion, does the fact that the college student who asked Sen. Clinton that question was uncompensated financially render the current controversy moot?

There's absolutely nothing wrong with bringing in out-of-state supporters to attend an event that's for the benefit of the local state party -- and believe me, most of them were bussed in by the Obama campaign, so he did in fact "stack the deck". Further, the Iowa Democratic Party's coffers realized thousands of dollars in much-needed funds from those supporters, for which all Democrats should be grateful.

However, I must admit upon further reflection that the term "stack the deck" clearly implies a negative connotation that is obviously undeserved. It was a very poor choice of words on my part, and I apologize to Sen. Obama's supporters and Democrats in general for conveying any mis-impressions.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii (Barack Obama's Birthplace) on November 15, 2007 at 3:10 AM | PERMALINK

Pop Quiz:

Q) When Republican candidates repeat themselves (as Hilary was ridiculed for doing on the Sunday bobblehead shows a few weeks ago) or try to otherwise control their media appearances, how does the Corporate Media respond?

A) They promote this behavior as a positive indication of "STAYING ON MESSAGE".

Posted by: Gillette on November 15, 2007 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

I think I'll start a drinking game for Hillary bashing by the MSM.
If she parted her hair on the other side, they'd have a cow( while Guiliani dances with the Mob).

Posted by: bwp on November 15, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

"As everyone acknowledges, campaigns plant questions all the time."

So maybe McCain's "we can beat that bitch" line was planted, too? I'd love to find out that that was the case. And I would not be at all surprised.


Ed

Posted by: Ed Drone on November 15, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Oh the irony of Bob Shrum criticzing a candidate for being excessively cautious and over managed! This from the guy who puts his candidates in straightjackets and refuses to allow them to answer even the most banal questions without first convening a focus group to see which response offends the fewest potential voters.

Also, what were the chances that the press would turn to Shrum when looking to manufacture a crisis? I'd say they were roughly equal to the shnaces that Shrum, the attention whore that he is, would give them the quote they wanted. (It was foreordained)

Posted by: Chesire11 on November 15, 2007 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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