Memos Reveal Dirty Tactics Of The Clinton Campaign

The Politico has some information on the story that The Atlantic is planning based upon leaked memos from the Clinton campaign which I mentioned a couple of days ago. The memos further demonstrate how Clinton based her campaign upon xenophobia and personal attacks as opposed to campaigning on the issues.

Mark Penn, the top campaign strategist for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign, advised her to portray Barack Obama as having a “limited” connection “to basic American values and culture,” according to a forthcoming article in The Atlantic.

The magazine reports Penn suggested getting much rougher with Obama in a memo on March 30, after her crucial wins in Texas and Ohio: “Does anyone believe that it is possible to win the nomination without, over these next two months, raising all these issues on him? … Won’t a single tape of [the Reverend Jeremiah] Wright going off on America with Obama sitting there be a game ender?”

The article has more on this strategy later, along with the manner in which they wanted to portray Clinton, which somewhat reminds me of George H. W. Bush campaining in flag factories:

The Penn memo suggesting that the campaign target Obama’s “lack of American roots” said in part: “All of these articles about his boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii are geared towards showing his background is diverse, multicultural and putting that in a new light.

“Save it for 2050. … Every speech should contain the line you were born in the middle of America American to the middle class in the middle of the last century. And talk about the basic bargain as about the deeply American values you grew up with, learned as a child and that drive you today. Values of fairness, compassion, responsibility, giving back

“Let’s explicitly own ‘American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values. He doesn’t. Make this a new American Century, the American Strategic Energy Fund. Let’s use our logo to make some flags we can give out. Let’s add flag symbols to the backgrounds.”

The memos also demonstrate the chaos in the campaign which was obvious even from the outside once Clinton lost in Iowa. Some staffers even objected to the negative tone which the campaign took. The 3 a.m. ad almost did not even run, with Bill Clinton making the decision to proceed, once again showing that his political skills are much poorer than we preciously believed.

For many Democrats the final straw in the Clinton campaign was the manner in which she used Michigan and Florida  showing a disrespect for the basic principles of democracy. The Clinton campaign apparently had no qualms about the gross dishonesty they showed in their handling of Michigan and Florida, only looking at how they could use the situation for political advantage:

“They proposed that Clinton, from a position of strength immediately after her wins, challenge Obama to accept Michigan and Florida revotes. Such a move ‘preempts Obama’s reiteration on March 5 that they are still up 100-plus delegates and that we can’t win,’ they noted. ‘The press will love the rematch, like Rocky II.”

The dishonest tactics used by the Clinton campaign ultimatley sealed Clinton’s fate. Independents and many Democrats who were fed up with the politics of George Bush and Karl Rove were repelled by a Democratic candidate running a campaign which was every bit as dirty and dishonest as those run by Bush. Increasing numbers turned to Barack Obama, who even vowed not to resort to the types of fabrications that Clinton was engaged in. John Kerry endorsed Obama saying, “I support Barack Obama because he doesn’t seek to perfect the politics of Swiftboating — he seeks to end it.” Many other Democratic leaders and superdelegates followed, giving Obama a lead in both elected delegates and superdelegates, ending Clinton’s hopes for the nomination she believed she was entitled to.

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