The now famous Bill Clinton phrase is becoming embedded in the political jargon and keeps getting good traction in the news media. Here is a recent editorial piece by Bill Kristol from the NY Times that centers around this moment in 08 campaign history. It opens with the crux of the whole matter:
“Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” Thus spoke Bill Clinton last Monday night, exasperated by Barack Obama’s claim that he — unlike Hillary Clinton — had been consistently right (or wrong, depending on your point of view) on the Iraq war.
I believe that is exactly what Clinton was saying, despite those race-baiting elements that wanted to spin it otherwise. (Keep in mind, I am not in Clinton's fold and do not agree with many of his stances on the important issues of the day.) But now, Obama wants to challenge the former President and confront him personally over what he deems to be an inaccuracy in that statement.
"You know the former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling," Obama said during his first morning television interview since coming in second in Nevada.
Why? Because Hillary has a former President for a husband? Normally it would be troubling for a former president to openly campaign for a candidate in the primary season. Past protocols have forbidden such a thing, but it is not etched in stone. As a courtesy, most have followed this unspoken rule of courtesy. But this is his wife and it may very well be he feels obligated because of what he put her through, with the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Regardless, it is is his wife. If my wife was running for some office I had held at one time, I would do the same thing. Most of us would, if we still wanted to keep our wives. Better yet, why does Obama not consider it troubling when his surrogate race-baiting supporters misrepresent the content of Mr. Clinton's statement?
But let's read on:
"He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts -- whether it's about my record of opposition to the war in Iraq or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas.
Ah, yes. This is the old "statements not supported by the facts" response. Let's listen to the statement in it's entirety, once again:
Bill Clinton claims Obama took down the text of a speech that said he stood with the President. Why can't Obama provide the text of that speech as evidence that Clinton is distorting his record on the war in Iraq? Why was it taken down?
If Obama was so against the war, why did he immediately vote unanimously with his colleagues (right after taking office in 2005) for emergency defense appropriations, which included funds for the Iraqi operation? It seems like that would have been a good time go against the grain, if his conscious was truly under conviction.
The bottom line here is simple. If Obama wants to be the anti-war candidate, fine. But it would behoove him greatly to not distort his own record, while claiming others are doing it. And if he wants the negative campaigning to stop, he needs to call off his surrogates from making race an issue.