Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sweet blog special: Clinton fund-raising appeal chides Obama (not by name) for calling her (not by name) "Bush-Cheney lite."


WASHINGTON--Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle sent out a fund-raising appeal on Friday afternoon to see if they can make some money off heated exchanges this week between Democratic rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

"Last week, one of the leading Republican candidates equated Hillary with Karl Marx. Yesterday, one of the leading Democratic candidates called her "Bush-Cheney lite," Doyle wrote, in a reference to Obama.

Note how the campaign is not going to get Obama claim ownership of the word change: Again, from the Doyle letter,
Hillary needs your support most now that the attacks have started in earnest. You and I and Hillary are all ready for change."

for the entire letter, click below..

this from the Clinton campaign...

Dear XXX,

Last week, one of the leading Republican candidates equated Hillary with Karl Marx. Yesterday, one of the leading Democratic candidates called her "Bush-Cheney lite."

Can you imagine?? Hillary like George Bush??!! Or Dick Cheney!!

You and I both know that Hillary has stood up time and time again to the failed Bush/Cheney policies.

Well, I guess this is what Hillary gets for being the strongest, most qualified, the most substantive, the most experienced, the most ready to be president. That's what Hillary has gotten all her career for being willing to fight for change.

Now that the presidential campaign is in full swing, Hillary is under attack from opponents on all sides. When you're attacked, you expect your family and friends to stand with you. And one thing is crystal clear: you are Hillary's family; you are Hillary's friends. You are her strength. Almost one million of you -- and she's counting on you to stand with her.

You've been there, in the trenches with her, day after day, week after week, year after year.

Now there's only one thing I'm going to ask you to do: CONTRIBUTE. Send Hillary $5, 10, 15. Anything you can afford. Every dollar helps Hillary fight back.

Click to contribute:

Why is Hillary the target of attacks like this? Because, like you, her opponents know Hillary is the candidate with the strength and experience to make change happen. America is ready for change and Hillary is ready to lead -- ready to lead the way out of Iraq, ready to make universal health care a reality, ready to restore America's leadership role in the world.

And Hillary knows just how to respond to this kind of attack. Just look at what she said yesterday:
Well, this is getting kind of silly. I've been called a lot of things in my life but I've never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney certainly. We have to ask what's ever happened to the politics of hope?
There are two reasons why Hillary is winning this race: because she's the best candidate, and because she has the support of so many committed people like you.

Will you show her your support today? Will you stand with her as she rises above these attacks? I know your contribution -- today -- will make all the difference to Hillary.

Click to contribute:

Hillary needs your support most now that the attacks have started in earnest. You and I and Hillary are all ready for change. We can make it happen, but first we have to win.

Thank you for all your help.


Patti Solis Doyle
Campaign Manager
Hillary for President


Tunnel vision.
These r the days. Aren't day? The beginning of the end of days. Cant they see it isnt good to let this Bush lite thing go on?

I hope that the candidates and the public can overlook personal issues of these candidates and see what their stance is on issues like Global Poverty. According to the Borgen Project, The top 1% of the world's
richest people earn as much
as the poorest 57%. These are what threaten the state of our world.

Last week, one of the leading Republican candidates equated Hillary with Karl Marx. Yesterday, one of the leading Democratic candidates called her "Bush-Cheney lite."

Judging by this letter, Mrs. Clinton's campaign apparently isn't disturbed with her being equated to Karl Marx. I mean, they don't even argue the point.
I guess the Karl Marx comparison would be difficult to refute.

My opionion of Hillary has dropped this week from just mildly negative to off the charts negative.

I respect Obama's strong leadership stand of talking with other leaders without preconditions to disfuse disagreements. He has the communications skills to make it successful.

Hillary's positions on voting for the war, supporting the war, not talking with other leaders do sound very Bush lite. But her campaign's way of responding this week is complete Rovian or "Bush heavy."

Did the clintons really expect that they were going to attack obama with impunity? It serves them right that he is hitting back. It is about time, my only wish is that he would hit even harder because I do not believe that Hillary is the best standard bearer for the democratic party. Like George W. Bush used his fathers name to win the republican nomination, Hillary wants to use her Husbands cottails to get the democratic nomination.

I think Hillary isn't so serious in this campaign or atleast not ready for the presidency and it's so sad she will never be ready for it. It's really unfortunate she has been a first lady before and as such can't come out with original or new ideas that can transform this nation. She's only tinkering around the ideas of former presidents, most especially those of her husband, but that would be a difficult road for her to walk through at the white house.

I totally agree with Barack Obama-you must communicate as much as possible.Hilary is a farce.She is transparently unauthentic and polarizing.She goes back and forth and has still not taken responsibility for the vote on Iraq-so sallow.She as president will be a disaster after the Bush reign.We need change and common sense diplomacy.It is so crucial..The voters decide...

HAH!!! What a crock. Hillary Clinton boldly starts this mess attacking another with not a care for consequence then grubs for campaign contributions, crying victim! Gee, what a racket she runs.

Hillary is correct in insisting that the President exercise caution before heading into personal meetings with dictators. She has always advocated diplomacy, as is evidenced in dozens of her speeches and interviews. She happens to be married to President Bill Clinton and has stated many times that he would be appointed Ambassador to the World and begin the process of diplomatic relations abroad. In her interview with Keith Olbermann, she went into detail about how she would appoint a Presidential envoy of capable leaders to engage in dialogue with world dictators and do the necessary groundwork. Hillary understands how diplomatic relations work. Her answer in the debate was appropriate and Presidential.

Obama's answer was not. And he knew it the instant Hillary gave her response to the same question. He knew it and there was nothing he could do, at that moment, to backtrack and give a more responsible and careful answer to that question.

That, my friends, is where all of this fighting began. It is unfortunate, because it reveals a flaw in Obama's character. He is too proud to admit he is wrong. Instead, he and his campaign strategists have manipulated reality in an effort to make Hillary appear Bush/Cheney lite. I can't be fooled by this, as I know how critical Hillary has always been of Bush and Cheney - in fact, she has admonished Bush and his Administration more than any other candidate.

Hillary is not Bush/Cheney lite. She is responsible and sophisticated when it comes to dealing with dangerous world leaders, but that does not mean she won't engage in serious diplomatic efforts. Of course she will.

Now, if voters want to place their confidence in Barack Obama, I think they should realize that a candidate who has difficulty with debate questions during the primaries, is not likely to fare well in debates with the Republican candidate in the general election. This is not the first time that Obama has fired off a response to a debate question and then had to have his campaign manager, David Axelrod, explain after the debate what it was Obama really meant.

This is a bid for the Presidency, but more importantly, it is a bid to be Commander in Chief. Barack Obama isn't up for this level of responsibility yet. If he were, he wouldn't be getting into such awkward situations based on the answers he gives in debates.

This is a complete shame and I am very disappointed. WOW! I cannot believe that campaign letter soliciting contributions on the basis of "being under attack". Give me a break! This takes sensationalism to a new level.

As an African American I can tell you that I don't think that we've ever had a tougher decision to make in a presidential primary, and it's really true that many of us are really torn (myself included) on this one. Therefore, there is no detail that is too small to help decide, and I for one am paying strict attention to the details of the candidates positions and behavior.

Having said that, this tiff between the two top candidates has certainly caused me to raise my eyebrow at one of them. I think I witnessed a cheap political tactic that is actually quite "republicanesque". And what's worse is that this move came from the one that has very often been on the receiving end of these cheap and unfair tactics. My grandmother used to admonish me "be careful that you don't become the beast that you loath".

I am now scratching my head about Hillary Clinton. The first time I was puzzled was when the David Geffen comments came out. I thought the Clinton camp's reaction was way over the top. The attempt to lay the charge for those comments squarely at the feet of Obama as if he had uttered them himself was completely asinine. I finally decided to blow that one off and not hold Hillary Clinton personally responsible for that since after all, it was her campaign manager, Mr. Wolfson that made the attacks on Obama over those comments. Likewise, I blew off the move against Hillary Clinton about the ties to the Indian lobby. I thought that was underhanded too, but it was Obama's campaign folk on the attack and Obama did not authorize or support any such criticism of Hillary Clinton.

Now, this latest fiasco is different to me, because it is Hillary Clinton herself that started it with a purposeful and gross misrepresentation of Obama's comment and position, and then she further perpetuated it in the media the next day with the name calling and the dispatching of Madeline Allbright to make the case against Hillary's own misrepresentation(not Obama's expressed position). Check out two sets of comments from these candidates:

On the Youtube debates, Obama responded to the question of "would you BE WILLING to meet with..." by saying:
"I would, and the reason is this: the notion that somehow not talking to countries is somehow punishing them, which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration, is ridiculous. Ronald Reagan and Democratic presidents like JFK constantly spoke to the Soviet Union at a time when Ronald Reagan called them an evil empire, and the reason is because they understood that we may not trust them, that they may pose an extraordinary danger to this country, but we have the obligation to find areas where we can potentially move forward, and I think it is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them."

In response to the same question, Hillary Clinton responded:
"I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. We're not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro [of Cuba] and Hugo Chavez [of Venezuela] and, you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria until we know better what the way forward would be. I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes and don't want to make a situation even worse, but I certainly agree that we need to get back to diplomacy, which has been turned into a bad word by this administration."

During the debates, I didn't see anything controversial, conflicting, or otherwise wrong with either of these two positions. I accepted them both for exactly what they brought to the table, which was in Obama's case, the recognition for drastic change in our foreign policy particularly pertaining to leaders we are at odds with, and in Hillary's case, the need to do groundwork before embarking on said change. What happened was that they each responded to a different aspect of the same question: Obama responded to the SPECIFIC question of "would you be willing to", and Hillary decided to respond by stating the "how to" involved in accomplishing the task.

Again, I had no problem with either candidate on this issue until the next day when Hillary decided to blaze the media trail with what Barack Obama CORRECTLY identified as a "fabricated controversy". It is a "strawman" if I've ever heard of one. Hillary personally charged Obama with "COMMITING" to these first year meetings, and all without proper groundwork, which according to Hillary makes Obama's response (and she personally called it that) "irresponsible and naive".

Now please, ask yourself a couple of questions here.
1) Does anyone really believe for one split second that Senator
Obama is irresponsible and naive enough to believe that he could go trolliping into meetings with foreign leaders of enemy nations (or any nation for that matter) without doing the necessary groundwork? I mean really! Did anybody think that he meant that, or that he would literally do that, as Hillary implied?
Well of course not! I am wondering why Hillary is attacking Obama on the "how to" of the matter when that was NOT even the question. There is nothing in Obama's response that even remotely indicates that he does not know, or would not do the necessary groundwork for the meetings that he "is willing" to partake in. He was not asked about HOW to accomplish it, yet, that's what Hillary is using to club him with.

Why? Especially in light of these comments which reside on Hillary's very own webpage: *** "We know we need global coalitions to tackle global problems like climate change, poverty, AIDS, and terrorism. And to keep our country safe, we need to start engaging our enemies again. During the Cold War, with missiles pointed at us, we never stopped talking to the Soviet Union. That didn't mean we agreed with them or approved of them. But it did mean we came to understand them -- and that was crucial to confronting the threats they posed."*** Those comments are a mirror image of exactly what Senator Obama expressed during those debates and Obama does not deserve to be under fire for his statement any more than Hillary would deserve it for her website comments. THEY ARE ONE IN THE SAME on this issue. Hillary just fabricated controversy where there is none, and THAT is too republicanesque for my taste!

2) The second question to ask is about Hillary and her campaign staff's remarks claiming that Obama COMMITED to having these meetings. *sigh* How can anyone call the answer to a hypothetical question a "commitment"? I saw both Hillary and Mr. Wolfson (her campaign mgr) on the airwaves criticizing Obama for what they constantly characterized as a commitment. Even when the interviewers and also members of Obama's staff corrected them by advising that the question was asking "would you be willing", and not DO YOU PROMISE or WILL YOU COMMIT. I got so frustrated with hearing them characterize Obama's response as having commited to something I wanted to scream. I felt like I was watching republican talking heads doing their usual routine. My goodness, he answered a hypothetical question and that is not tantamount to a promise, or a commitment, or anything else absolute. Heck, if Hillary or anyone else believes that Obama's response is equal to a commitment if elected, then wherever Hillary Clinton winds up--whether it be in the white house or back in the senate, I want to see her have her salary reduced to minimum wage, since after all, she also answered "sure" to a hypothetical question which was prefaced with "would you be willing" to do your job for minimum wage! Using her own standard, did Hillary COMMIT to doing her job for minimum wage? Go figure.

Over the last several years, it has been my holy frustration to watch the disingenuous spin meisters on the right engage in this kind of misrepresentation and arguing against their own fabrication instead of what a person really said and meant. Ironically, most of the time that they were engaging in these tactics was against the Clintons. I didn't like it when pub's did it, and I really don't like it when dem's take a page out of the same book.

I am saddended to see Hillary resort to this kind of skullduggery, but according to some republican counterparts, I ain't seen nothing yet. I hope they are wrong but right now, the bottom line is: this strawman argument was totally unfair and completely unecessary. I for one am keeping score, and Hillary for the first time this campaign season just lost points in my book.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 27, 2007 2:15 PM.

Sweet blog extra: Richardson moving in Iowa. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet blog Saturday special: Iowa's Vilsack on Obama's Clinton hit.--"Not particularly hopeful. And I am disappointed in the Senator." Vilsack transcript. Obama memo. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.