Sara Whitman

The Accusations Fly

Filed By Sara Whitman | March 07, 2008 9:15 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, election 2008, Hillary Rodham Clinton, HRC, John McCain, race baiting

The accusations have started to fly at top speed.

Obama's campaign accused Clinton's of 'darkening' Obama in an ad purposefully to play the race card.

What?

A few hours later, there was a recant. Ooops. Guess that wasn't true. But for a while, that circulated madly on the internet.

You know, she killed Vince Foster, too.

Such crap.

Clinton supporters are now being accused of being so anti-Obama, they would rather vote for McCain.

Oh, yeah. I'd rather have a nutcase who wants war so long my boys will be drafted to fight. All because I can't stand that nasty ol' Obama.

So, it's okay to disparage Clinton- it's politics after all- but not touch Obama because that means I'd rather vote for McCain?

President McCain means I'm looking for real estate in another country.

And for all those calculator carrying Obama supporters, how about counting Michigan and Florida? The "frontrunner" would be different and would you all consider dropping out of the race in order to save the democratic party?

I didn't think so.

Strap on your seatbelts. This is going to get really ugly.


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mmmmmm,mmmmm,mmmmmmm. i think that it already has. everyone seems to feel that their own "candidate of choice" is going to serve as a saviour for our society. i do believe that we "supporters" are going to be uglier than either of the candidates. time to take a deep breath and remember - they are only politicians.

I live in Obama country, Chicago, where on the local news it's blatant Obama favoritism. But what I find even more interesting are the polar differences in peoples reactions to nearly similar tactics to win this primary.

Hillary is a bitch, Obama is just doing what he has to win - it's politics. It reaks of sexism. Oh no, theres that term that people hate to confront. Lifelong Dems seem to HATE her because at a rally she gets critical of Obama. Nevermind Obama did the same thing two hours earlier.

When Obama posted last week on Bilerico about his plan for the LGBT community, which was shockingly similar to Hillary's - but a MONTH later - I had friends were ready then and there to call him the "savior of the LGBT community". When I confronted them with Hillary's post a month earlier they turn a blind eye. People who read both articles know, they are both vague, last-minute and nearly identical.

No one asks Obama "what happens if you lose." No one asks him "how tired are you." No one gets to hold decades of tough lessons and misconceptions against him - wonder why?

I think we are seeing the beginning of a very nasty campaign between Clinton and Obama, leading up to the convention.
This might split the party irreparably for this election.

Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 11:55 AM

Well, Sara, falsely Swift Boating Sen. Clinton as a racist—then apologizing [which, YES, boys and girls Obama did]—worked so well for them before why not rerun it for the same reason they stooped to it before—she keeps getting in the way of his march to Sainthood? The apologies are quickly forgotten, if even heard, but the Scarlet R is still burned into Sen. Clinton. A Super Duper Official Bilerico Contributor just suggested that the worst part of the allegedly heinous/unfair/dishonest, blah blah blah 3AM ad was that she was allegedly saying a BLACK man would be bad in a national crisis! And never forget that, along with Vince Foster, she had Martin Luther King killed.

Pretty soon just mentioning that Obama is African-American will be verboten. Asserting that Obama is as hollow as a chocolate Easter bunny will be cause for crucifixion. I'm going into Non-Brainwashed Witness Protection.

I'm sick of having every criticism I level at Clinton give rise to a cry of "sexism!!"

Also, Factcheck.org says that while there was no conclusive evidence that the images were darkened for racist means, the images in the ad were darkened, which is "a standard attempt to make an attack ad appear sinister." So the real story is that Clinton has turned to "attack ads" in this campaign, and that loses points with me.

Where can I apply for non-brainwashed witness protection? LOL And everyone knows James Earl Ray did not act alone. You are right about one thing Michael, there is a lot of nonsense being propogated. I am at a bit of a loss at the strength of conviction in providing support for either candidate. They are both human, imperfect beings. Worse yet, politicians. Personally, I try to save my passion for ideals.

Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 2:28 PM

OMG! A political candidate is using "attack ads"? Wake up Little Bo Peep and ALL her sheep and TELL THEM! Let us rend our garments and tear our hair!

Gee, Jere, so soon you forget—it was a year ago this week—barely a month after Obama formally announced his candidacy—that the Apple-steal "Hillary As Orwell's '1984' Dictator” attack ad [link below] appeared on the Net, then everywhere, with a young woman throwing a sledge hammer at and EXPLODING Sen. Clinton's face displayed on a giant screen showing her speaking.

The guy who created it denied that his employer Blue State Digital, who designed Obama's Web site, or the Obama campaign knew anything about it and both Blue and Obama Inc., also denied any knowledge [but Obama—just as he did with McClurkin's "gays are killing our children" homohatred—did not condemn it]. We assume that Joe Rospars is still on leave from Blue as Obama's "director of new media." The creator of the "new media" explosion ad resigned when he found out his identity was going to be revealed on Huffington Post.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6h3G-lMZxjo&eurl=http://news.aol.com/newsbloggers/2007/03/19/the-gloves-have-come-off/

A more recent resignation in the news, this one yesterday in humiliation and throwing apologies in every direction was of high ranking Obama advisor who’s traveled with him on the campaign trail—not just an overheated "supporter."—Samantha Power resigned for telling a reporter "off the record" that Sen. Clinton is a "monster."

How about the Obama ads geared toward the Latino vote saying, in Spanish, "Hillary Clinton doesn't care about OUR people"?

The bottom line? “Attack ads” are a given in any campaign. It’s entirely fair to emphasize your strengths by showing the opposition’s weaknesses. Adults accept this including your hero who is no Polly Obama. You failed to mention that factcheck.org’s extensive technical analysis of various reproductions of the ad in question show that Sen. Clinton is darker, TOO—as is Obama’s shirt and tie...should the garment industry complain? Darkening the ENTIRE ad to associate a negative reaction to its target is a phony issue. Much ado about nothing of substance.

What IS wrong, and deserving of a response attack ad, is when they are demonstrably dishonest, as was the Obama race-baiting pitch to Latino voters.

“The questions the Clinton campaign has been raising about him lately have all been in bounds, despite what Obama aides say. Obama's abilities as commander in chief, his ties to indicted longtime political ally Tony Rezko, and his position on NAFTA are all worthy subjects for debate. If he's going to be the nominee, he's going to face a lot worse from Republicans—and the barrage will be constant if he's president.” - Slate

michael you are right. they are all dirty. your message would have more impact if you didn't always throw a pro-hillary spin on it, though. impartial facts work wonders in educating voters. the other stuff comes across as propoganda.

Regarding the Clinton manufactured "controversy" about Obama and NAFTA, here are two of many articles exposing Clinton's dishonesty in the matter :

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-loeb/did-clinton-win-ohio-on-a_b_90254.html

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/5/112926/0842/300/469572

As for the different tone of campaigning by Clinton and Obama, this passage from the endorsement by "Rolling Stone" gets right to the key points :

"Obama has emerged by displaying precisely the kind of character and judgment we need in a president: renouncing the politics of fear, speaking frankly on the most pressing issues facing the country and sticking to his principles. He recognizes that running for president is an opportunity to inspire an entire nation. All this was made clearer by the contrast with Hillary Clinton, a capable and personable senator who has run the kind of campaign that reminds us of what makes us so discouraged about our politics. Her campaign certainly proved her experience didn't count for much: She was a bad manager and a bad strategist who naturally and easily engaged in the politics of distraction, trivialization and personal attack. " ( see the full review at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/19106551/a_new_hope )

The New Republic has a further discussion of Clinton's "trial-by-smear method" and her planned path to nomination,"kneecap an eloquent, inspiring, reform-minded young leader who happens to be the first serious African American presidential candidate (meanwhile cementing her own reputation for Nixonian ruthlessness) and then win a contested convention by persuading party elites to override the results at the polls" :

http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=ba30ff16-a5af-4035-a883-cf15ffee406c

Finally, FactCheck's widely disputed conclusion about the images of Obama darkened and altered by the Clinton campaign was that the intent was not "racist" but merely an effort to make Obama appear more "sinister" . That is, as they say , a distinction without much of a difference. For a white candidate's campaign try to make a Black man appear more "sinister" by making him appear darker is hardly a step toward racial reconciliation , especially in a country with a legacy of racism such as ours .


Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 3:53 PM

Dearly Beloved—you call yourself a MINISTER? In what church other than the Cathedral of St. Barack where the commandment about lying is strangely missing?

Your quotes are merely OPINIONS not FACTS. You and they are entitled to them as pots are entitled to be cracked.

Tell me, do you have to take seasick pills before jumping on the Obama Borg Swift Boat to race bait Sen. Clinton? "Widely disupted"? Only in your parallel upside down universe. Again, Jethro, the ENTIRE ad is darkened not just your poor shat upon Obama of Assisi.

Those trying to be OBJECTIVE can decide for themselves if the ad could in any way be considered racist after reading the lengthy analysis by factcheck.org “Some Obama backers cry ‘racism’. We find the accusation to be unsubstantiated,”—complete with illustrations of the ad from various visual perspectives at:

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/did_clinton_darken_obamas_skin.html

Then, for an entirely NEW question, check out these official Obama ads and ask why he seems to be wearing makeup to make himself look darker? And, it’s not the just the YouTube “compression” effect mentioned by factcheck. One got the same impression watching his commercials on TV in California.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aR3Gpsn4v4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw70fyr1pVQ&feature=related

It's a wonder what a time we live in, when we take the act of accusing another of racism more seriously than we take acts of racism.

This incident is more proof that there are some TV pundits who need a lesson in reality.

Sara, i enjoy your posts here, but it's a little irresponsible to not source your claims. When did Obama accuse the Clinton campaign of racism. That seemed to be only coming from bloggers critical of the campaign. Also, when did the Obama team retract that accusation (which, again, to my knowledge he never even made!)

Heck, I'm open to the possibility that you might be right, but you've made no effort to source your claims!

The act of darkening photos of Black candidates to make them less appealing to voters is not new. An earlier example is highlighted here :

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/7/13434/47105/853/471037

Sorry, Kevin, sometimes my lists so connect and get jumbled together in my head, I forgot...

Daily Kos. follow the link.

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/5/131156/5021/187/469677

Later in the day, factcheck.org was cited- in fact, nothing had been done to the video.

I am sorry. I wrote the piece at 5:45AM before getting on a plane.

As for the rest of the Obama being beat up comments? Every time you all say how horrible clinton is being to Obama, you're doing exactly what David Brooks wrote about in the NYTimes today.

You can't play politics and remain virginal, as he points out.

Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 6:44 PM

KEVIN: Of all the things I've written about Obama, I've never suggested that I thought he was dumb, e.g., dumb enough to directly call Sen. Clinton a racist himself. However, those familiar with the brilliant BBC political drama series “House of Cards” might be reminded of lead character Francis Urquhart and his classic rejoinder, “'You might say that; I couldn't possibly comment,” upon reading the first paragraph below, emphasis mine.

“Senator Obama responded in a conference call to reporters, saying, "SENATOR CLINTON MADE AN UNFORTUNATE REMARK, AN ILL-ADVISED REMARK, about King and Lyndon Johnson. I didn't make the statement. I haven't remarked on it. [of course, he just did] And SHE, I THINK, OFFENDED SOME FOLKS [they think it was racist, therefore, ipso fact it was racist and I'm not going to dispute them] who felt that somehow diminished King's role in bringing about the Civil Rights Act. She is free to explain that, but the notion that somehow this is our doing is ludicrous." Thank you, Mr. Urquhart.

- http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/jan-june08/race_01-14.htm.

On the same PBS News Hour, Congressman John Lewis: “I knew Martin Luther King, Jr. I marched with him. I worked with him. He played a major role in inspiring people, giving people hope. I also knew Lyndon Johnson. I was there with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on March 15, 1965, when we watched Lyndon Johnson deliver his speech in response to what was happening in Selma, when he said, "And we shall overcome." I looked at Dr. King. He looked at me, and tears came down his eyes. And he said, "We will get the civil rights bill, the voting rights bill passed. We will march from Selma to Montgomery." Martin Luther King, Jr., created the climate, created the environment, but it took a Lyndon Johnson to get the legislation through the Congress. No one is trying to say Dr. King did little. He did a great deal. He is not crying out from his grave in Atlanta saying, "Defend me." His legacy doesn't need any defense.

I THINK THERE'S BEEN A DELIBERATE, SYSTEMATIC ATTEMPT ON THE PART OF SOME PEOPLE IN THE OBAMA CAMP TO REALLY FAN THE FLAME OF RACE AND REALLY TRY TO DISTORT WHAT SENATOR CLINTON SAID. I understand and I think most right-thinking people understood what she said.

She only referred to the issue of Dr. King when Obama, Mr. Obama, raised the question of leadership in his speeches. Mrs. Clinton was saying we need more than rhetoric. We need more than speeches. Dr. King gave some great speeches. He took to the street, and there was action, but he needed a president to pass the legislation.
President and Senator Clinton have a record, a history, a very long history of bringing people together. No right thinking American would ever think that Senator or President Clinton would ever do anything that would use the race card. President Clinton referenced the fairy tale. It had nothing, not one word to do with the issue of race. It was all about the Iraq war. President Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton for many, many years have been all about bringing people together and not dividing people according to race, agenda or class. I must tell you...I'm trying to set the record straight...the Obama camp is doing something else, they’re sending out memos to the media trying to suggest that the Clintons are playing the race card. I think some people like Donna Brazile or even maybe Clyburn or some others in the African-American community are trying to use this as a cover to come out and endorse a particular candidate."

- http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/politics/jan-june08/race_01-14.html

Cong. Lewis is referencing such actions as Obama national co-chair Jesse Jackson, Jr., going on MSNBC the morning after Sen. Clinton won in New Hampshire with his bizarre “analysis” of Sen. Clinton’s “tears that melted the granite state” and accused Sen. Clinton in her “melting” of not “crying for,” not caring about the victims of Katrina [read BLACKS] and ....

QUOTE: "those tears also have to be analyzed. They have to be looked at very, very carefully in light of Katrina, in light of other things that Mrs. Clinton did not cry for, particularly as we head to South Carolina where 45% of African-Americans who participate in the Democratic contest, and they see real hope in Barack Obama.

We saw something very clever in the last week of this campaign coming out of Iowa, going into New Hampshire, we saw a sensitivity factor. Something that Mrs. Clinton has not been able to do with voters that she tried in New Hampshire.
Not in response to voters — not in response to Katrina [read "not for black people's suffering"], not in response to other issues that have devastated the American people, the war in Iraq, we saw tears in response to her appearance. So her appearance brought her to tears, but not hurricane Katrina [read: not for black people's suffering]."

VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNrlSn7ndAA

The memo by Obama's South Carolina press secretary, Amaya Smith, Cong. Lewis referred to is discussed and embedded at:

“Obama Camp's Memo on Clintons' Politicizing Race”

- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/01/12/obama-camps-memo-on-clin_n_81205.html

“REP. CHARLES RANGEL, (D) NEW YORK: How race got into this thing is because Obama said race. But there is nothing that Hillary Clinton had said that baffles me, but for him to suggest that Dr. King could have signed that act is absolutely stupid. It‘s absolutely dumb to infer that Dr. King alone passed the legislation and signed it into law.” - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22684706/

“Obama last night joined some of his allies in suggesting that the Clinton campaign is intentionally fueling a discussion of race ‘to knock us off message’," he told NBC News.” and....

“Rep. William Lacy Clay (Mo.), an Obama campaign cochairman, said yesterday that Clinton was ‘trying to score cheap political points on the back of Martin Luther King's legacy’." and....

"’Instead of the Democratic Party celebrating and wallowing in euphoria over the fact that our party will in all probability nominate a woman or an African American, we have engaged in 'Swift boat' actions that we all say we deplore’, said black Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (Mo.), a Clinton supporter, referring to attacks that helped derail Sen. John F. Kerry's 2004 White House bid. ‘The Clintons have been Swift-boated in this thing’." and....

“’I'm angry because I'm looking for the white people that are insulting me, and I can't find them’, Rep. Charles Rangel said.”

- http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/14/AR2008011402961_pf.html

As for Obama’s later acknowledgements:

I think that Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically and consistently been on the right side of civil rights issues. I think that they care about the African-American community and they care about all Americans and they want to see equal rights and equal justice in this country.” - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22684706/
“Less formally and shortly before, Obama also asked supporters not to further stoke the feud.” - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0108/7894.html

“Asked whether he would fire staff members who spread negative information, Obama said he would ‘speak out forcefully’ if he learned of supporters ‘engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading or in some way is unfair’."

- http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/01/14/an_outbreak_of_goodwill_in_nev_1.html

Yet we’ve yet to find any confirmation that Jesse Jackson, Jr., Amaya Smith, William Lacy Clay, et al. ever saw the inside of Mr. Obama’s woodshed, nor has Obama chosen to put out the resurrected charges of racism by his shills at Daily Kos.

Sara, thanks for the links. But those links show nothing like what you described. They show bloggers who support Obama accusing Clinton of racism, apparently jumping to faulty conclusions. But those bloggers have no formal connection to the Obama campaign.

You claimed that Obama's actual campaign accused Clinton of darkening the ad, then recanted. This is false. The right thing to do would be to formally correct your original post.

(Of course, Kos should do the same thing.)

Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 7:02 PM

We're assuming our posts past in the ether, Kevin. In any case, if you'll read my previous one you'll see instances in which charges of racism have been directly linked to official members of the Obama campaign.

That no direct campaign link has been shown to the latest instance does not change the fact that previously, as documented, Obama promised to "‘speak out forcefully’ if he learned of supporters ‘engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading or in some way is unfair’."

Still waiting....


"... scorched-earth tactics are at least partly responsible for Clinton's success on Super Tuesday II. Through its fearmongering over terrorism and national security and by taking advantage of smear campaigns against Obama's patriotism, race and religion, the Clinton campaign has already sunk fairly low--but it could very well sink lower, threatening to negate the early promise of this historic contest "

( From "Will Democracy Win ?" by the editors of "The Nation" http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080324/editors )


"Hillary's campaign has only a few ways to stage its comeback against the numerical odds. First, as spring turns to summer, we will likely see more ads attacking Obama. The "3 a.m. phone call" ad seems to have worked for her in Texas. We have seen other examples of these tactics already: the mocking references to Obama's speeches about hope, the questions raised about his judgment and experience, and the darker intimations about race, religion, and a general sense of unease over whether he can protect us from amorphous fears of terrorism and violence."

( From "Beware Hillary's Tactics" http://www.progressive.org/mag_rc030508 )

" In 2008, Hillary Clinton is desperately trying to become the first Washingtonian insider white woman with years of experience who voted for Iraq, voted for Iran, and voted for the PATRIOT ACT to face a Washingtonian insider white man with years of experience who voted for Iraq, voted for Iran, and voted for the PATRIOT ACT."

(from Pam's House Blend http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do;jsessionid=5DC58416F6B57183AAD11ECE1411090C?diaryId=4708 )

Michael Bedwell | March 7, 2008 9:47 PM

blah blah blah blah blah blah....

You do the blah blah blah so well , Michael! LOL When your posts go more than a screen in length, I don't think anyone reads them. I don't. You are an intelligent fellow. You should be able to make your point without getting so carried away. More people will read what you have to say.