The Drudge Photo

It's unclear who is circulating the photo, what the photo means, why only Matt Drudge would receive it, why anything would assume that eve "stressed" Clinton staffers would do such a thing, and why, absent any proof that such a photo was circulating, Obama's campaign would formally react.

(Clinton campaign aides denied circulating the photo, although they worry that, if someone on the campaign -- 700 people now -- did so without authorization, they will be in a pickle.

We're at the stage of the campaign where both campaigns lose perspective and are willing to believe the absolute worst about each other on the basis of an assertion. And that Manichean perspective then cause said campaign to imputing the absolute worst motivations to their opponents. That's not how human beings work, but such psychological blind spots can be forgiven, I guess.

(Quick: Clinton staffers: name five GOOD things about Obama. Obama staffers: name five GOOD things about Clinton.) Spending eight months locked in mortal combat will do that.

Anyway, the Clinton campaign believes that the Obama campaign is cynically exploiting the Drudge fetish that news producers have in order to step on her big foreign policy speech today, and the Obama campaign believes that the Clinton campaign is actually sending out a funny-looking photo of Obama.

Such charges are aided and abetted by stories like this one, which uncritically accepts the premise of the photo and its origin.

Could some dumb Clinton ally have sent the photo to Matt Drudge? Sure. Does that mean the campaign authorized its sending? Why would Matt Drudge be the recipient of such an oppo dump -- whatever the oppo dumb was supposed to signify.

Incidentally, an Obama campaign aide who would know said the campaign did not sent the e-mail to Drudge.


CLINTON STAFFERS CIRCULATE 'DRESSED' OBAMA
Mon Feb 25 2008 06:51:00 ET

With a week to go until the Texas and Ohio primaries, stressed Clinton staffers circulated a photo over the weekend of a "dressed" Barack Obama.

The photo, taken in 2006, shows the Democrat frontrunner fitted as a Somali Elder, during his visit to Wajir, a rural area in northeastern Kenya.

The senator was on a five-country tour of Africa.

"Wouldn't we be seeing this on the cover of every magazine if it were HRC?" questioned one campaign staffer, in an email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT.

In December, the campaign asked one of its volunteer county coordinators in Iowa to step down after the person forwarded an e-mail falsely stating that Barack Obama is a Muslim.
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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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