Friday, April 25, 2008

Fair is Fair...

Fair is Fair
By Geoff Garin
Friday, April 25, 2008; Page A23

What's wrong with this picture? Our campaign runs a TV ad Monday saying that the presidency is the toughest job in the world and giving examples of challenges presidents have faced and challenges the next president will face -- including terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mounting economic dislocation, and soaring gas prices. The ad makes no reference -- verbal, visual or otherwise -- to our opponent; it simply asks voters to think about who they believe is best able to stand the heat. And we are accused, by some in the media, of running a fear-mongering, negative ad.

The day before this ad went on the air, David Axelrod, Barack Obama's chief strategist, appeared with me on "Meet the Press." He was asked whether Hillary Clinton would bring "the changes necessary" to Washington, and his answer was "no." This was in keeping with the direct, personal character attacks that the Obama campaign has leveled against Clinton from the beginning of this race -- including mailings in Pennsylvania that describe her as "the master of a broken system."

So let me get this straight.

On the one hand, it's perfectly decent for Obama to argue that only he has the virtue to bring change to Washington and that Clinton lacks the character and the commitment to do so. On the other hand, we are somehow hitting below the belt when we say that Clinton is the candidate best able to withstand the pressures of the presidency and do what's right for the American people, while leaving the decisions about Obama's preparedness to the voters.

Who made up those rules? And who would ever think they are fair?

I am not making any bones about the fact that our campaign has pointed out what we believe are legitimate differences between Clinton and Obama on important issues. We have spoken out when we thought the Obama campaign made false distinctions, such as when it ran advertising in Pennsylvania on standing up to oil companies, particularly when Clinton was the one who did stand up to the oil companies by voting against the Bush-Cheney energy bill. And we believed it was appropriate to debate Obama's comments about working people in small towns, because they expressed a view of small-town Americans with which Hillary Clinton strongly disagrees.

But throughout that debate, Clinton deliberately focused on the content of Obama's comments without making sweeping statements about his character.

It's an important distinction. The Obama campaign has chosen from its inception not to treat Clinton with the same respect. In fact, the Obama campaign has made an unprecedented assault on her character -- not her positions, but her character -- saying one thing about raising the tone of political discourse but acting quite differently in its treatment of Clinton.

Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, held a conference call with reporters and called Hillary "one of the most secretive politicians in America today" -- a striking personal charge in the era of Dick Cheney.

Axelrod described Clinton as having "a special interest obsession."

Obama himself has joined the character assault from time to time, saying, for example, that Clinton "doesn't have the sense that things need to change in Washington" -- a patently false and demeaning observation.

In the Philadelphia debate last week, Obama incorrectly said that his campaign addressed Hillary's misstatements on Bosnia only when asked to by reporters. In fact, Obama's campaign has organized several conference calls on the topic, including one this past weekend in which the featured speaker said that Clinton lacks "the moral authority to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day" (a statement the Obama campaign thankfully repudiated after we called it on it). Even though many reporters participated in those calls, Obama's misstatement in Philadelphia was almost completely ignored.

The bottom line is that one campaign really has engaged in a mean-spirited, unfair character attack on the other candidate -- but it has been Obama's campaign, not ours. You would be hard-pressed to find significant analogues from our candidate, our senior campaign officials or our advertising to the direct personal statements that the Obama campaign has made about Clinton.

The problem is that the Obama campaign holds itself to a different standard than the one to which it holds us -- and sometimes the media do, too.

Hillary Clinton is a strong and determined person, and she will continue to discuss real solutions to America's problems and the need for strong leadership to implement those solutions -- even if she must play by a different set of rules than Barack Obama. But wouldn't it be better if in this campaign what's good for the goose were also good for the gander? After all, in America, fair is supposed to be fair.

(c) Washington Post


Anonymous said...

This your blind support for hilary clinton is a little scary. I was one of her suppoters until she stared her mud slinging/ negative campaign whicj is now causing irreparable damages to the democratic party. Even worse the only way she can get the nomination is through the Superdelegates, a move that will not sit well with dems considering Obama will win the most popular vote/delagates. She needs to quit now b/c no way in hell ppl tht voted for Obama are going to look at the abv stat, feel cheated and then still vote for her in November.

Chude! said...

And of course, the fact you no longer support hillary means that anyone else who still believes in her - including the millions of voters in Pennsylvania is 'blind'. Touche.

Anonymous said...

Is penn the only state in the state, the point is that Obama will earn the majority of the delagates through popular vote, ergo votes that is coming from the PEOPLE. Consequently, he should get the nomination, if he doesn't I can guarantee you that the democratic party will be fractured, and wht we've been experincing in the white house will be nothing compared to wht Mccain will bring with him, because he will win if the superdelagates GIVE Hilary the nomination. It great that you believe in her, there are a couple of problem 1. you don't live in the states so you opinion don't count (sorry about that) 2. the majority of democrats believe in Obama so he should and will get the nomination. At this point Hilary should stop, being selfish and realize the DAMAGE she is causing the party with her current tactics.

Chude! said...

If she will be a more competent President than Obama AND will be more electable against McCain, then sorrt she isnt damaging anything.

Majority of democrats believe in Obama? DO you realize that the difference between them in pledged delegates is less than 1% and that at the moment more people have voted for her than him, and that in terms of pure democrat votes, she is the clear favourite?!

Sorry to disappoint you; but the chattering 'intellectual' class, who favour Obama are not the only people that matter in America; the 'bitter' folks in Ohio, Pa and others also count just as much.

About my opinion not counting; I would say it counts enough for you to respond so I would gently correct your mistake: it is my vote that doesnt count, not my opinion. Might you be aware of the fact that, not nly have i contributed to the Hillary campaign, but have also convinced at least 6 of my friends abroad to not only vote for her, but contribute? Aha.


Akin said...

wow! Life should not be about Hillary in my humble opinion... what happened to your support of Yar'Adua... It is almost a year now and pls tell me what has really changed and why you were singing his praises in the past..

Its great to take an interest in what goes on in the US but really lets focus on home with the same amount of zeal!

Chude! said...

Wow. You're saying nothing's changed for the better since Yar'adua got into office? Wow. Okay.

About looking Klocally', thank God even you started your post by noting that I hav been just as passionate about d Nigerian elections! Enuf said

Ola said...

I have for a while been amazed at how the negative and mud slinger label has stuck on Clinton. It's been parroted so often that it has assumed the status of unquestionable truth in the minds of a lot of people. I dont think it can withstand any critical and objective analysis based on the comparative approach of both campaigns.

Obama as far as I am concerned makes more direct attacks on Clinton
Obama's campaign has deliberately, and maybe effectively, pushed the line that Clinton is a relic of the bitter, divisive politics of old. They have REPEATEDLY attacked her person, questioned her integrity and honesty and used surrogates to assail her. Obama has even questioned Bill clinton's legacy in some ways and I AM ABSOLUTELY convinced that the so-called injection of race into the campaign was by the OBAMA Campaign!

Didn't Michelle Obama descend as low as to say " If Hillary cant take care of her house, then she cant take care of the whitehouse"

What negativity precisely can Hillary be accused of? Could we have specifics?

Akin said...

Dude! Your posts since December have been largely Hillary oriented and when you have talked about Nigeria, it has been in relation to the Future Awards.

Yaddy declared that he was gonna declare a National emergency on electricity before he was elected and PHCN is still as poor as ever. We keep hearing about this 7 point agenda but no one really knows what it means in concrete terms and the plan to get us there. Is it a sin to ask questions from a Yaddy supporter?

Chude! said...

Akin, d point is dat I hav been as passionate about d nigerian presidential elections as I am about d us presidential election.


mystoriesmytestimonies said...

heard about ur dad from niyi's blog..
hope u are keeping ur head up...
God is ur strength...
u need to support your mum during this tough period....
may God Almighty protect u and ur family now and always...
take care and God bless

Chude! said...


I am COMPLETELY with you on this man!

labake said...

true words. i totally agree wiv u. we women are still fair game all the world and this is soooo sad. Alot of women never fully make use of their God given potentials because of stereotype. thanks to Hillary and other women in other parts of the world who have blazed the trail, we will get there