Hillary Looking Even More Desperate–Proves Barack Obama Is Not Perfect

ABC News reports that Hillary Clinton’s campaign will be going negative and launching a set of anti-Obama web sites:

ABC News has learned that the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has registered the names of two Web sites with the express goal of attacking her chief rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill…

Votingpresent.com and Votingpresent.org are domains hosted by the same IP address as official Clinton Web sites, such TheHillaryIKnow.com, which was launched with much fanfare this week.

The Clinton campaign intends to use these new Web sites to paint Obama as cowardly.

Clinton has attacked Obama for having occasionally voted “present” as an Illinois state legislator when it came to contentious legislation.

Politics is politics and having a site criticizing one’s opponent might be seen as going with the territory. What is especially pathetic about Clinton’s new strategy is how weak her attacks are. She is concentrating not on any votes or positions she disagrees with, but the fact that Obama occasionally voted “present.” The campaign also had a conference call with bloggers today so we might be seeing more blog posts attacking Obama later on from Clinton backers.

What is remarkable is that there is so little up side compared to the down side potential for Clinton here. Making this her whole line of attack only points out how little she has, especially as Clinton is even more vulnerable on this point. Clinton has run her whole campaign based upon her victory being inevitable while avoiding taking specific stands as much as possible. Her career is based upon pandering to the right wing from her earlier cheer leading for the war to her support of conservative nanny state proposals such as censoring video games. Clinton’s problem is that she has acted “present” throughout the campaign. Once she lost the appearance of being the inevitable winner there was no longer any reason for many to vote for her. She needs to sell herself, not attack Obama.

Attacking Obama is also risky as it plays directly into Obama’s strategy of moving beyond the hyper-partisanship of recent years. The more dirty the campaign gets, the more stronger Obama’s argument becomes. Obama has managed to turn the childhood philosophy of “I’m rubber, you’re glue…” into a winning campaign strategy against Clinton.

The attacks will not make much of a difference because this does not come as a surprise to many who back Obama. Most people realize Obama does not walk on water, and those who don’t realize this won’t have their minds changed by any web sites set up by Hillary Clinton. Sure, Obama has sometimes tried to avoid controversy to protect their careers, but what politician hasn’t? Hillary Clinton is hardly innocent here. Many who support Obama realize this is a gamble and that he is not perfect, but he is seen as preferable for a variety of reasons over Clinton and Edwards. This attack does nothing to change that calculation.

Update: Steve Benen looks back at Obama’s voting record and shows that this is a non-issue.


  1. 1
    vwcat says:

    You need to know about Illinois politics to understand the present vote here.
    Present = no. without the baggage. most times.
    Obama was working with the women’s groups like Illinois NOW and planned parenthood. the present votes were designed to bring cover to some valuable legislators who were under fire by republicans. Obama had a very safe seat.
    The gun vote was also approved for a present.
    Present is used as a valuable tool here. It is seen as tactic and not weak. You vote present if you have a problem with a bill and if you want to vote no but, don’t want it on record.
    It has been used to do battle with the opposite side when they are trying to sandbag.
    Obama’s 04 senate race was also subject of his present votes by the republicans. Chicago Tribune wrote an article detailing this.
    Every so often the president of planned parenthood here in Illinois gets trotted out when this comes up in an attempt to smear Obama.
    It’s quite funny now because Clinton is going to end up with egg on her face when it the facts get out. Especially because national NOW is supporting her and she just step in it with the Illinois branch.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    The link at the end of the post also has an explanation of voting present, and how this isn’t an issue.

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