I see the new meme circulating in the Anti-Obama/Pro-Clinton blogosphere is that the Obama campaign “inflamed” the RFK remarks and created a media firestorm, which unfairly attacked our Lady of Inevitability:
But even as both sides tried to tamp down the flap, some Clinton supporters pointed out that the Obama campaign had responded quickly on Friday after the New York senator had made the remarks to an editorial board in South Dakota.
McAuliffe accused the Obama group of “inflaming” the issue by issuing that response and then the “hyped-up press” took her comments out of context.
Clinton’s supporters said Robert Kennedy’s son understood what she meant and her words were not about Obama.
“They had nothing to do with Senator Obama,” Clinton campaign adviser Howard Wolfson said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “And so there would be no reason for her to apologize to Senator Obama.”
Imagine that! Politics is being played! Surely we all remember this:
A political tempest over Barack Obama’s comments about bitter voters in small towns has given rival Hillary Rodham Clinton a new opening to court working class Democrats 10 days before Pennsylvanians hold a primary that she must win to keep her presidential campaign alive.
Obama tried to quell the furor Saturday, explaining his remarks while also conceding he had chosen his words poorly.
But the Clinton campaign fueled the controversy in every place and every way it could, hoping charges that Obama is elitist and arrogant will resonate with the swing voters the candidates are vying for not only in Pennsylvania, but in upcoming primaries in Indiana and North Carolina as well.***
The Clinton campaign handed out “I’m not bitter” stickers in North Carolina, and held a conference call of Pennsylvania mayors to denounce the Illinois senator. In Indiana, Clinton did the work herself, telling plant workers in Indianapolis that Obama’s comments were “elitist and out of touch.”
Campaigning in Muncie, Ind., Obama addressed the issue at length. “I didn’t say it as well as I should have,” he said at Ball State University.***
Clinton attacked Obama’s remarks much more harshly Saturday than she had the night before, calling them “demeaning.” Her aides feel Obama has given them a big opening, pulling the spotlight away from troublesome stories such as former President Clinton’s recent revisiting of his wife’s misstatements about an airport landing in Bosnia 10 years ago.
Obama is trying to focus attention narrowly on his remarks, arguing there’s no question that some working class families are anxious and bitter. The Clinton campaign is parsing every word, focusing on what Obama said about religion, guns, immigration and trade.
Clinton hit all those themes in lengthy comments to manufacturing workers in Indianapolis.
“I was raised with Midwestern values and an unshakable faith in America and its policies,” she said. “Now, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment believe it’s a matter of constitutional right. Americans who believe in God believe it’s a matter of personal faith.”
“I grew up in a churchgoing family…,” she continued. “The people of faith I know don’t ‘cling’ to religion because they’re bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich …
“I also disagree with Senator Obama’s assertion that people in this country ‘cling to guns’ and have certain attitudes about immigration or trade simply out of frustration,” she said.
If I use Hillary’s own words, will I be called a misogynist? I sure hope not:
“If you can’t stand the heat, don’t run for president because it’s a really hot kitchen in the White House, I’ll tell you that much,” she said.
No doubt. And if there are any Balloon Juice readers in Montana, South Dakota, or Puerto Rico, I sure would love one of those “I AM NOT AN ASSASSIN” bumperstickers or buttons the Obama campaign no doubt is handing out right now.
*** Update ***