Clinton's Rovian Gambit Against Obama


A reader writes:

Many of your recent posts on the Obama-Clinton contest are missing the forest for the trees. They are focusing on small annoyances from Camp Clinton. The big story of the last week is that the Clintons are trying to strip Obama of his rightful advantage on the Iraq war "judgment" issue and carry out the tactic from the Rove playbook that says, "Attack your opponent's perceived strength." If that strength is merely "perceived" and not real, it's a legitimate tactic, but Rove attacks even when the perception is justified, and the Clintons are now doing the same. 

Bill did this in New Hampshire when he contended that Obama was not really a consistent war opponent. Hillary put this tactic way out front on Meet the Press today. She said that Obama's campaign is premised entirely on his October 2002 speech, and she said that Obama did nothing after that speech. This is just an out and out lie; there are no shades of gray here. Here are two examples of what Obama did after his October 2002 speech that I was able to find through a simple Nexis search:

On March 4, 2003, an AP story picked up by an Illinois newspaper, the Belleville News Democrat, states as follows: 

"Barack Obama  is criticizing the idea of war against Iraq and challenging his Democratic opponents in the U.S. Senate race to take a stand on the question....'What's tempting is to take the path of least resistance and keep quiet on the issue, knowing that maybe in two or three or six months, at least the fighting will be over and you can see how it plays itself out,' said Obama, a state senator from Chicago."

On March 17, 2003, the Chicago Sun Times reported this:

"Thousands of demonstrators packed Daley Center Plaza for a two- hour rally Sunday [two days before Bush issued his ultimatum against Saddam and four days before the invasion], then marched through downtown in Chicago's largest protest to date against an Iraq  war. Crowd estimates from police and organizers ranged from 5,000 to 10,000....    State Sen. Barack Obama (D-Chicago) told the crowd, 'It's not too late' to stop the war."

All of this is highly relevant, because Hillary's account of her own actions in the October 2002 - March 20, 2003 period (March 20 being the day of the invasion) is that she voted, not to authorize war, but inspections, and that when the inspectors were there in March 2003, she, in her own mind, opposed the invasion and would not have carried it out had she been President.  A key point that has not been made is, if Hillary Clinton is telling the truth that she secretly opposed the invasion on March 20, 2003, then she cannot possibly claim the mantle of a leader, because she did not speak out against the prospect of invasion, even though she, due to her celebrity status, had one of the loudest megaphones to do so.

(Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty.)