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March 15, 2008


Brad Jacobson

The Facts, Keith Olbermann and Rabid Hillary Shills


To this day, the campaign has never issued a flat, unequivocal denial that the photo was sent by one of its members.

That's false, Wolfson did so on the same day.

I'm told the 60 Minutes thing is a Rorschach test, but I'm not sure what of. I've watched that video numerous times, now, and what I see is a woman trying to restrain herself from telling the interviewer he's talkin' crazy. What I hear from people who condemn her for it sounds to me like they're complaining that Hillary isn't campaigning for Obama.

In fact, 99% of the complaints about Hillary's campaign amount to, "How dare she campaign for herself instead of for Obama?"

Look, I'm sorry, much as I dislike the fact that she's in the race at all, she has a genuine gripe about the unfairness and sexism of the way she's been covered, and there's no evidence she's been responsible for any race-baiting.

I don't understand why so many people are blind to the fact that Hillary knew perfectly well that she needs the black community more than she needs the racists. She's known it all along and I'm certain would never have deliberately allowed anything in her campaign that smacked of race-baiting because she also knows they'd notice it.

Take a good look at that Obama memo (sent out by his team right after New Hampshire) that falsely claims Andrew Cuomo was referring to Obama when he said you can't just shuck and jive in a face-to-face campaign the way you can in a press conference. And falsely claims Bill Clinton's remarks about Mandela and Hillary's MLK/LBJ comments were dissing black leaders. And falsely claims there's something underhanded about mentioning Jesse Jackson.

Really, this stuff is crap. Gerry Ferraro was understandably bitter about the sexism aimed toward Hillary and the media hatred toward her, so she let some tiny, out-of-the-way paper no one reads talk her into venting to them. No one even would have noticed if Kos hadn't made such a big deal out of it. I mean, who's Ferraro anymore? She's a forgotten ex-celebrity who was not in any kind of advisory of policy-making role in the campaign, so who cares what she said to some paper no one reads?

Oh, but we can't let people forget that Hillary Is A Monster, so we have to hear about this shit endlessly.

Sorry, no. Putting out that memo was the most divisive thing anyone could do, and Obama's team did it, not Hillary's. Someone didn't give a shit whether the Democrats win in November and we all end up hating each other.

Calling someone who has a long history of supporting civil rights a racist, charging them with deliberately race-baiting, is a very, very serious thing to say, and was an extremely damaging thing to say about the Clintons - not just to Clinton, but damanging to the whole party.

So don't for a minute think I'm going to get on my high horse against Hillary for this one.

I'm incredibly dissapointed in you for this, Brad, I thought your insights into the media's game-playing were better than this.

Neither of these people should be running for president, but Hillary isn't the one who has created this monstrous mess. Quit falling for this crap. It's just what the GOP wants - they've been trying for years to pretend it's Democrats who are the "real" racists, and the media has been happy to follow Obama's lead by carrying the meme that if Obama loses the nomination, it's only because of all us racist white ladies.


I agree with Avedon. And thinking that the MSM has been giving Clinton a break? I don't think so. I watch all 3 cable news channels (Faux just a bit to keep up with what muck they're shoveling that day.) What I've seen is Hillary bashing & Obama worshipping.
I've really enjoyed Keith, too, and I still do. I think some of what he said is also true. Nonetheless, what she is doing, IMO, is running a regular campaign. If the Obamaites think this is a nasty campaign then I wonder if they will be able to withstand what the McCain camp will throw at them if they manage to get on the ticket.

Brad Jacobson

Avedon, you know how much I respect your opinion and of course consider you a friend. I'm genuinely sorry if I've disappointed you with this but I'm calling this as I see it, just as you have every right to do so as well. In fact, I think what's been missing in the race, as stated in the post, is the ability to express a view without being tossed under the bus. So I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one, and I think that's okay. I respect your right and anyone's right to vehemently disagree with me.

Please also note that, first, it's not false to say Howard Wolfson never issued a flat, unequivocal denial that some member of his staff sent out the photo of Obama. The closest Wolfson came was this (via TPM):

"No, not to my knowledge...I've never seen that picture before. I'm not aware that anyone else here has. I'm not aware that anyone here has circulated this e-mail."

Wolfson also said, "We've been very clear that we're not aware of it," he added. "Obviously the campaign didn't sanction it, and don't know anything about it."

Sorry, "not to my knowledge," "I've never seen that picture before," "I'm not aware....I'm not aware....We've been very clear that we're not aware....didn't sanction it, and don't know anything about it" -- is very clearly not an unequivocal denial.

An unequivocal denial would be: No one in this campaign emailed that photo of Sen. Obama to Matt Drudge. No one in this campaign circulated that photo. Period. It wouldn't consist of these linguistically legal hedges. Not being aware of something does not mean it didn't happen. And I'm sure, Avedon, you'd agree that Wolfson is savvy enough to know the difference, that his language was certainly no accident - for God's sake, he's not just a political operative, he's her press secretary.

You should remember this as well (via Raw Story):

Noting that the campaign has hundreds of staffers, Wolfson would not categorically deny that the photo came to Drudge's attention from within Clinton's campaign. But he implied that the Web site should not be taken at face value, and said the campaign would not be investigating the matter further.

"If you have done any independent reporting that unearths an e-mail let me know," Wolfson told another reporter. "I'm not in a position to ask 700 people to come in and answer questions about it."

Those are the facts on the Clinton camp's response to the photo flap.

Second, I never said the Obama campaign was perfect. (Which is an interesting Catch-22 for them that I do think they're unfairly saddled with by the media, the meme that a candidate calling for change can never ever play dirty even while his opponent is lobbing bombs.) What I said was, overall, the Clinton campaign has run the more underhanded and cynical race.

Moreover, Hillary's 60 Minutes performance is indicative of the linguistic hedging in which Wolfson took part over the photo flap. If Hillary Clinton wanted to be crystal clear that Obama is not a Muslim, she would've done so. Something to the effect of: I'm appalled by those rumors. They're absolutely untrue. He's a Christian. I know he's a Christian. Period. Next question. Instead, she ended the segment by sowing the seeds of doubt: "As far as I know."

I simply don't understand how anyone can see that as anything but a calculated response, an attempt to appear as if she's officially saying the right thing while simultaneously spreading doubt. "As far as I know" was a mistake? What if Obama had been asked, say, "What do you think of rumors that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian?" and Obama replied, "I don't believe that. There's nothing to base that on. As far as I know." Would you not consider his "as far as I know" cold calculation. I sure as hell would. And I think you would, too.

Thanks for your comment, Avedon.


I probably should have responded to the post in e-mail rather than in your comments, but I think you're being willfully blind.

Politicians are always pretty mealy-mouthed about saying anything other than that they believe in God and the flag. Clinton is not obliged to make impassioned speeches on Obama's behalf.

Clinton was very clear that she thought the "Muslim" charge was ridiculous. She doesn't owe Barack anything more than that - he can figure out how his own campaign is going to deal with this stupid charge.

"You're nice enough." Gee, why didn't Obama rave about how wonderul and warm Hillary is? What kind of response is, "You're nice enough?" It was a slap in the face - right to her face - in front of the whole world.

You gonna write a screed about how insulting he's been to her?

Let's try again: How many times have you heard Obama come to Clinton's defense against the sexism that's being aimed at her? Oh, wait, I forgot, he just thinks she's on the rag for daring to campaign against him.

How many times have you heard Obama protest the false charges of racism against her? Oh, that's right, his campaign circulates memos creating rumors that her surrogates accused him of "shucking and jiving", and saying that mentioning Jesse Jackson proves the Clintons are racists. (But treating Jesse as unmentionable, that's not racially offensive, is it?)

You're holding Clinton to a much higher standard than you're holding Obama. He smears her as a racist, and now it becomes her job to defend him against RNC racism.

With all due respect, she'd be within her rights to say, "Fuck Obama and the sexist, race-baiting horse he rode in on, and fuck you, too."

Oh, but she can't, because she's running for the Democratic nomination and if she loses it she's going to have to support this slimy son of a bitch.

Just like I am. And I'm gonna hate doing it after listening to weeks of sneers and smears against every white woman who isn't in love with his pretty face. I've reached the point where I dislike him every bit as much as I've ever disliked Hillary.

I'm not stupid, Brad. I've still got scars - real, literal scars on my body - from the civil rights era. I came out of the house hanging out with kids from 17th Street. I know racism and bullshitting about racism when I hear it. I've seen this crap before.

Hillary is campaigning against Obama. She is not one of his campaign surrogates and she is not required to be. She wasn't as rude as I would have been to the jerk who was interviewing her, but that's because she's running for office. You can only ask so much.

She did a fuckload more for Obama than he would ever do for her in similar circumstances, you can bet on it. He's had plenty of opportunities to be a better man and he hasn't done it, so don't tell me how shameful her behavior is. She's shown a lot more class than he has.

Audrey Fryer

I sincerely hope that Barack Obama files an immediate lawsuit, like $100 billion dollars worth) against the MS press for "Defamation of character" and "Destruction of Reputation". They are destroying this man on someone else's words and innuendo. Keith Olbermann has always been a Clinton supporter so I'm sure it hurt him a lot to do a special comment - but when you see everyone else trashing Barack Obama and no one supporting him on air - what was the man to do. Good for him and yes I still think he is the best in-depth reporter there is (he does research and uses actual facts).

Andie Marshall

Amen. HRC's campaign is the ultimate betrayal. The HRC team is starting off where the shrub team left off. The whole thing is so very off-color.

All I can see and hear in my mind's eye are the witches around the caldron at the beginning of Macbeth...


See what I mean, Brad? His actual campaign team (not just some flunky who over-uses e-mail) sent out a memo slandering the Clintons as race-baiters, but it's her campaign that's the betrayal.

Witches around the cauldron. Yes. All those women who came out of the civil rights movement are to blame for the fact that the Republican-owned media has started attacking Obama now that he's the likely nominee.

As always, it's Clinton's fault. But then, didn't she murder her lesbian lover Vince Foster? Mena Airport! Filegate! Travel Office!



PS. I am not throwing you under a bus. But this stuff really pisses me off.

Brad Jacobson

I definitely got that this stuff pisses you off. When Marsh and Johnson summarily threw Olbermann under the bus, after everything he's done, it really pissed me off. And it also pisses me off when so-called Democratic supporters (or people who profess to care about this country) like Marsh and Johnson directly spearhead and cheerlead attacks on a Democratic presidential candidate by way of such fascist windbags as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. Today, in fact, Marsh referred to a NewsMax story (NewsMax - Christ, the NY Post is to the left of NewsMax, and NewsMax is to the right of sanity), saying, "The latest from Senator Obama is that he wasn't in the pews when Reverend Wright used 'white arrogance' and 'the United States of White America' on July 22, disputing the NewsMax report that's been circulating." But fear not, Marsh has standards: "I didn't link to that piece or cover it because, after all, we are talking about NewsMax." So she'll reference a NewsMax story but she won't link to it. Bravo. Yet she gleefully directs her readers and listeners to Hannity, Fox News and Rush.

I'm not sure if you've been following Marsh and Johnson's attacks on Obama, but their methods, which are now identical to far right-wingers, should also piss you off.

Their actions drove me to write this post.

I thank you for not throwing me under the bus, my friend. And I understand your anger and frustration. I was raised by a strong, successful and trailblazing woman who ran for local office in NJ in '75 - the first woman actually (and the first Jew) ever to run for a Democratic seat in a very conservative district. She was also deeply involved in the League of Women Voters and went back to school at age 40 to pursue her law degree (in 1980). I could go on about her, but I won't. I'll just say that no one experienced the slings and arrows of being a "tough woman" in our contemporary society more than my mother, who was a tough woman long before it was acceptable, who helped in her way to allow someone like Hillary Clinton to be a new kind of First Lady, run for the Senate and now the presidency. My mother is a 73-year-old white woman, a contemporary of Geraldine Ferraro. She has voiced concern when she felt Clinton was being treated unfairly because of her sex, as have I. But with all of her experience, my mother thinks that overall Clinton has run the more underhanded campaign and she's appalled and frankly disappointed by such things as Ferraro's comment.

So I do also have to say that it's a bit off-base to paint everyone who thinks Clinton is running the worse campaign as haters of accomplished white women. Of course there are jerks out there who hate Hillary for that reason, just as there are jerks out there who hate Obama because of his skin color. But there are also people like myself who were raised and influenced by strong women (which includes my older sister) - the kind of women that insecure and ignorant men often call "bitches" - and those women themselves, like my mother, who disagree with you on this, Avedon.

And, again, I think that's okay. I appreciate your honesty and openness to speak your mind here. As you know, I'm not into echo chambers or censorship and always welcome differing points of view. Cheers.

Brad Jacobson

Actually, for the record, my mother went back to school to pursue her law degree in '77, not '80, at age 40. She graduated in '80. Sorry, Mom.


So I do also have to say that it's a bit off-base to paint everyone who thinks Clinton is running the worse campaign as haters of accomplished white women.

I didn't say that. I'm talking about the attitude that the Obama campaign has fostered, not what's inside the mind of every person "who thinks Clinton is running the worse campaign."

Obama is, in fact, running a magnificently slick campaign. As a campaign to ruin Clinton, it's been downright outstanding. He's wrecking the party, but hey, who cares as long as he can beat the crap out of Clinton? Because that's how he's running.

Clinton's campaign starts with a handicap (accusing him of his real sexism can never be as effective as his fake charges of racism are), but she also has crappy advisors and the "experience" theme is a weak one. It's one thing to claim experience (so do all politicians), but you can't make it your whole campaign theme, and that's what she's been doing.

So if that's what you mean by a worse campaign, well, hey, you'll get no argument from me.

On the other hand, if you mean a morally worse campaign, sorry, no way. He's branded her a racist when it wasn't true. It's indefensible. And that's not some blogger who happens to support him, it's his campaign that circulated that memo.

As to the "Muslim" interview, once again I'm just astonished that you've let Chris Matthews and his little friends eat your brain.

Clinton insisted that the question was bullshit. Three times - as in, "I tell you three times."

Just how far gone do you have to be to be complaining that she didn't defend him enough when she did so three times?

I'm surprised I even have to explain this.


Avedon writes: :.. because she's running for the Democratic nomination and if she loses it she's going to have to support this slimy son of a bitch.. Just like I am."

I'm not even going to get into this pissing contest with you folks here but I can say one thing for sure: if Clinton somehow manages to steal the nomination, I will NOT vote for her. She stooped to a new low in saying McCain was more qualified to become CIC than Obama, and I'll take her word for it and give him my vote (it'll be my first national republican vote). When I look at Obama, I see dignity, intelligence, respectfullness, honor, and hope. But when I look at Clinton, I see, well, Bush & Rove. Pathetic.


When I look at Clinton, I see a pretty mainstream politician, which is a shame, but at least she thinks healthcare and children should be priorities. When I look at Obama, I see a guy on the make. I haven't the first clue what he wants to do for the country because he doesn't seem to have any pet issues or an overriding theme. What does he stand for?

If you see Bush and Rove when you look at Clinton, I think you need to clean your glasses. That's just the kind of insanity I'm talking about - people have had their brains so polluted that they can't see the difference, and the difference is enormous.

Brad Jacobson

I'm surprised I even have to explain this.

You don't have to explain this, Avedon. I get everything you're saying, I just don't agree with you. I'm sure you can understand how that might happen without "Chris Matthews and his little friends" having eaten my brain. Again, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. Maybe the next time you're in New York, we can pick this up over some pints.


Next time I'm in New York, we should definitely get together.

But look at that video, Brad - her facial expression and tone of voice make it pretty clear when she's says, "as far as I know!" that she's still saying the question is absurd.

(Also remember that the last part of it, where she talks about being the victim of false charges, has been snipped off the video that's on YouTube. She didn't just stop at, "As far as I know!")

McCamy Taylor

Please resist the temptation to scrub this site once it becomes clear that we were all punked just as we were punked in 1972. Hunter S. Thompson got punked by Pat Buchanan who had him writing about Ed Muskie's drug addiction for the Stone and describing suit cases full of mob money being delivered for Humphrey---so that McGovern's VP chances would be nada. Luckily, Clinton lived through 1972 and learned from it, and she will be a team player this fall. But lots of journalists like KO and others are going to be very embarrassed by the bs they have written and the way they have fallen for RW and RNC internet pranksters.

The sources should have raised all kinds of red flags. And when the source is Drudge or the Moonies or Bob Novak---dude, Novak punked McGovern with Abortion, Acid and Amnesty. How could anyone ever trust Bob Novak over another Democrat?


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