Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

This post is about Robert Gibbs, the man that Barack Obama has chosen to be his spokesperson to the world.

Robert Gibbs was was spokesperson for John Kerry in 2003, and he worked under the direction of Jim Jordan. Both of them grew to detest Howard Dean, as they saw their frontrunner candidate slip in his position to Howard Dean over the year. For Jordan, it was a case of terrible strategic advice that he was fired, but he went on to position himself below the media production through in 2004 and did quite well. Robert Gibbs remained a spokesperson, but his next gig wasn't Barack Obama until after Obama won the primary in 2004. Before that, Gibbs became the spokesman for a new group called "Americans for Jobs, Health Care and Progressive Values". A group that promptly created the most disgusting ad I've ever seen occur in a Democratic primary against Howard Dean.  

The ad (view the ad here [and YouTube]) slowly moved in on a Time Magazine cover featuring bin Laden, zooming in on a close-up of Osama's eyes, while saying that Howard Dean was an unqualified Democratic candidate because of his lack of military or foreign experience.

Tricia Enright, who was the spokeswoman for Howard Dean at the time, summed the ad up best, saying: "Whoever is behind this should crawl out from underneath their rock and have the courage to say who they are." But Robert Gibbs, who was the spokesman for the group, embraced the slime ad against Dean, and refused to say who had funded the ad. Now sure, you can say that Gibbs was just doing his job. But Gibbs wasn't just aligned with the group, he was in the leadership. The group took seed money from crooked former Senator Robert Torricelli to get off the ground, and then went out and raised over a million to run the ad. Gibbs was one of three people that made that ad happen.

The reason I bring this up, is the disgust of reading Gibbs response to the broadside by the Clinton camp telling Obama to "remove David Geffen from his campaign and return his money". Gibbs responded in part:

It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln bedroom. It is also ironic that Senator Clinton lavished praise on Monday and is fully willing to accept today the support of South Carolina State Sen. Robert Ford, who said if Barack Obama were to win the nomination, he would drag down the rest of the Democratic Party because he's black.

Aside from the use of Republican talking points over the Lincoln bedroom, the real Gibblie here is that he's having Obama's campaign criticize Clinton for saying: "Senator Ford has apologized, and I appreciate him doing so".


I don't really care about the back and forth here between the Clinton and Obama camps, but is Gibbs that lame, or does he think we are that stupid?

Tough choice.

What a joke.

If Gibbs is gonna be the voice of Obama, then what I want to know is whether Gibbs has renounced his past association with the anti-Dean ad that Joe Trippi called the "the kind of fearmongering attack we've come to expect from Republicans," one that "panders to the worst in voters." Mistake?

And does Gibbs still believe that a Presidential candidate with "no military or foreign policy experience" is "unqualified"? Then how Gibbs, is Barack Obama going compete with John McCain on foreign policy.  Howard Dean was right on Iraq too, ya know.

Everytime I see Gibbs as Obama's campaign voice, I get further and further from seeing Obama as a candidate that is strategically smart, different, or an effective transformative leader. I really don't know what Obama is building. Sometimes I get the sense that he believes he can start the progressive online movement all over again, this time in his camp. I can tell though that whatever the Obama camp is building, his spokesman is not our partner.

Update [2007-2-24 22:48:40 by Jerome Armstrong]:

In a follow-up by Adam Nagourney of the NYT's, Obama said he was not aware of what his spokesman was saying on his behalf:

...when it came to tallying the final score on the most intense engagement so far in the 2008 presidential race, even Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, seemed to acknowledge that he may have been outmaneuvered.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Mr. Obama said he had not been aware beforehand of the statement his campaign had put out Wednesday morning responding to the public demand by Howard Wolfson, Mrs. Clinton's hard-driving senior communications adviser, that Mr. Obama denounce Mr. Geffen and return the money he had raised.

Mr. Obama said he had been on a red-eye flight, getting a haircut and taking his daughters to school as the fight broke out, and strongly suggested he had told his aides he wanted to stay above the fray.

I told my staff that I don't want us to be a party to these kinds of distractions because I want to make sure that we're spending time talking about issues, Mr. Obama said. My preference going forward is that we have to be careful not to slip into playing the game as it customarily is played.

Tags: Barack Obama, Howard Dean, Osama Bin Laden, Robert Gibbs (all tags)



was thinking about Gibbs yesterday

people seemed surprised by Obama's response,

I kept thinking "didn't Obama's spokesperson run a shadow 527 funded by the "Torch" who took down dean?"

surprised more people did n't think about this

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 05:20AM | 0 recs
as an aside I do think Obama's

response was quite good..

However, he could have said "we'll apologize for someone in no way affiated with the campaign, when Hillary appologizes for her war vote"

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 05:23AM | 0 recs
A Big Donor

Is an Affiliation.

At least it is when people whine about the Tan's giving money to the Clinton campaign.

So be fair now.

If the Tan's and Murdoch are AFFILIATED with the Clinton campaign, then you have to conclude that Geffen is very much affiliated with the Obama campaign.

Really. Duh!!

by Stewieeeee 2007-02-22 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: A Big Donor

No it isn't.

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: A Big Donor

Sounds good to me.  A big donor isn't affiliated with a campaign.

by Stewieeeee 2007-02-22 06:45AM | 0 recs
I have no idea who Tan is

I don't consider Murdoch part of hillary's campaign.

murdoch likes hillary and gefffen likes obama

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 06:41AM | 0 recs
Re: I have no idea who Tan is

Sure enough, Obama attracts the kind of people who really know how to raise the debate.

by Stewieeeee 2007-02-22 06:47AM | 0 recs
Re: I have no idea who Tan is

Yeah, and Hillary is crying because the guy used to be attracted to her and Bill.  Your point?

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 07:58AM | 0 recs
Donors can contribute to multiple candidates

for example, Steven Spielberg, Norman Lear, Barbara Streisand, and Sherry Lansing, according to the LA Times. Consultants like Robert Ford only work for one candidate at a time. Big difference.

by berith 2007-02-22 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Donors can contribute to multiple candidates

Is Geffen contributing to multiple candidates?

by Stewieeeee 2007-02-22 07:05AM | 0 recs
Spielberg is

after Hillary strong armed him. :)

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 07:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Donors can contribute to multiple candidates

Geffin and H. Clinton have a public spat. I would be shocked, though, if he wasn't also giving to Edwards, Richardson, and others. He gives a lot.

A check for $2,300 (or even $4,600 w/the spouse) isn't that much money for someone like David Geffin. Nor is that amount really important to Clinton. Not donating is more of a symbolic gesture.

The real question with these and other major donors is whether or not they'll help get checks from other people who can afford it. You know, the whole Pioneer/Ranger thing. It happens on our side too; just a bit less hierarchically organized.

by Josh Koenig 2007-02-22 01:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Donors can contribute to multiple candidates

Yup...exactly right...$2,300 to Geffin is like a nickel to me...but oh does he have friends and IOUS in Hollywood.  So the real test is the bundlers, who will really put the squeez on thier friends.  By the way, bundlers, people who commit to raise huge amounts, should have to disclose this.  It's a huge loophole.

by howardpark 2007-02-22 04:44PM | 0 recs
I think Obama is very cautious

He's a media darling now, and he doesn't want to become some kind of insurgent candidate who would draw the ire of the beltway journalists. So he's hiring insiders to help run his campaign.

Using the Lincoln bedroom talking point is really stupid, though. He should cut that out.

by desmoinesdem 2007-02-22 05:24AM | 0 recs
I actually disagree

for effectiveness - if people realize all the anti-clinton GOP smears that will come if she wins the nominations reminding people of what's to come if Hillary is the nominee is fair I'd think

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: I think Obama is very cautious

HRC is going to get down and dirty--she wants this bad and has been planning this campaign for 6+ years.

I think the gist of what Geffen said was 'watch out for the Clintons--they play dirty and they are hard to beat.'

Obama is going to have to counter and keep up.  He got a lot of good press yesterday--HRC's people were on the defense.

Like it or not, the dem primary campaign in going to be fought on TV and in the newspapers.

by aiko 2007-02-22 05:58AM | 0 recs
If Hillary's camp is as cynical, vicious

and effective as I think they are..  they actually will bring up this post Jerome - which is unknown outside of the blogosphere and do their crocodile tear ask Gibbs to resign...

create a fake wedge between deaniacs (who aren't supporting Hillary anyway) and Obama.. purely for MSM consumption

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 05:25AM | 0 recs
Re: If Hillary's camp is as cynical, vicious

I think you shouldn't make broad generalization. As a Deaniac, I'm supporting Senator Hillary Clinton.

by proudtobeliberal 2007-02-22 05:34AM | 0 recs

regardless Gibbs is not a "new kind of politics" and team Hillary could escalate and ask for Gibbs to be fired if they wanted to  point out a 527 chief is Obama's spokersperson.

I would dare to venture most deaniacs aren't supporting Hillary. s/16334

particularly after Carville's attack on Dean

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 05:43AM | 0 recs
Me too.

by dpANDREWS 2007-02-22 08:49AM | 0 recs
My Condolences (eom)

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-22 09:50AM | 0 recs
Hillary's camp doesn't know what the internet is

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 06:38AM | 0 recs
On the contrary...

Peter Daou, Hillary's Internet Director is one of the most perceptive and intelligent guys working in this field.

Whether he's able to keep from getting shut out by people who don't understand the netroots (as happened in the Kerry campaign to Daou, James Boyce, and Zack Exley) is another story.

by Vermonter 2007-02-22 07:04AM | 0 recs
Re: On the contrary...

Daou's struggle is just to get the net to be less anti-HRC.....not even necessarily to get us on board.  Tough job.

by aiko 2007-02-22 07:23AM | 0 recs
Re: On the contrary...

Especially when HRC has gotten off to such a rocky start with the progressive blogosphere.  Let's face it, she's trusted less there than she is right-wing corporate boardrooms these days.  Daou has a Herculean task in front of him.

by VizierVic 2007-02-23 02:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Maybe he's training Obama how to quit and accept defeat good. kerry did it.........even though 2 election workers were fired in Cleveland, Ohio and the Election Chief was fired.

Election Chief's name was Michael Vu. He claimed to be a Democrat, then we find out that he was actually a registered Republican imported from Utah.

Do your homework, people. Last 2 elections were lost by 2 guys that pretended to be Patriotic by not fighting for election integrity.

by BLOGGINGBITCH 2007-02-22 05:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

I never saw nor heard of that advertisement, but replace "Howard Dean" with "Barack Obama" and "George Bush" with "John McCain" and you suddenly have a compelling argument against Obama... I hope he fires that guy.

by Vox Populi 2007-02-22 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Whatever.  You never supported Barrack as a candidate and your outrage sounds like the feigned stuff that comes from the right-wingers.

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 06:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

This shows a really serious problem for anyone running the type of "rise above the muck" campaign like Obama's. It sets a very, very high standard of conduct for the campaign. But, if you're Obama, you're building a campaign of professionals schooled and skilled in the same politics you are supposedly setting out to end. It's an inherent contradiction that I've never really seen overcome.

And, as another point, "I'm in to win" vs "I'm going to change our politics" is so fact-free and meta that it's bound to degenerate into quite nasty name calling. When you're basing campaigns on such subjective, amorphous foundations, the attacks are, almost by definition, personal and need to be rhetorically vicious to bite.

by BriVT 2007-02-22 05:33AM | 0 recs
On another note ...

That ad gave me the heebie-jeebies, remembering those 2-3 months of constant attacks on Dean ... bleh.

by BriVT 2007-02-22 05:39AM | 0 recs
Ironic that Hillary and Obama

are running the most meta campaigns at this point.

isn't it

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Ironic that Hillary and Obama

I'd never really thought of it until I wrote that post, but I think it's more than ironic. I actually think there's something very telling in that fact, a statement about our current political discourse.

It's also probably why my choice came down to Edwards and Richardson, two guys running campaigns based on clearly defined issue mixes (economic populism and global leadership on peace and environment, respectively). I'm not really big on "meta" ... to me, it's just so much pundit-drive bs. I actually like Obama the man, but his campaign has so far left me rather cold.

by BriVT 2007-02-22 05:53AM | 0 recs
Hillary didn't count on Obama

Hillary's whole campaign is this
1. I'm a woman (I'm the new kind of president even though my husband was a two term president, I'm the minority)

2.  I'm married to Bill Clinton

3. "I'm in it, to win it"  ( a ME focused slogan designed to make people forget she is the least electable democrat)

Obama Obliterated a lot of the effectiveness of #1

Geffen's comments are basically TRUE and turned #2 and #3 into negativs.

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 05:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary didn't count on Obama

That would be incorrect.  If you paid attention you would see a ton more than those cherry-picked items.  Combine them all and you come to her strength position and current popularity.

by georgep 2007-02-22 06:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary didn't count on Obama

What is her strength position?  You'd trust her judgment?

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary didn't count on Obama

I don't trust any politician as far as I can throw them.   She would just serve our purposes, has a better chance of winning (Giuliani will probably be the GOP candidate, and he'll be damn strong in NY and NJ against Obama and Edwards.  She is our best bet to win the NorthEast against Giuliani, IMHO.  

They are all the same, including Obama, Edwards, the lot.  At least with HRC we'll get Bill Clinton back in the White House, the reich-wing's worst nightmare.   :-)  

by georgep 2007-02-22 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary didn't count on Obama

George, I think you are way off with this 'demons-of-the-right' theme.  Frankly I think they would much rather have the familiar and pretictable Clintons, as you call them, than a new candidate with potentially broader appeal in borderline demographics.  Hillary's negatives are impressive.  And will be almost a decade after Bill's successful campaign by the inauguration.  As another poster quipped she is the briar-patch the Right is begging us not to throw then in.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-22 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Ironic that Hillary and Obama

The thing is:  Richardson has come out going after Geffen himself and stating that Obama should disassociate himself from Geffen.   Regardless of whether one agrees with him on that or not, chances are that Richardson, were he in the position HRC is in (frontrunner status) and attacked by someone like Geffen, he would have reacted similarly.  Part of it is real, surely part of it is politics to show a certain amount of hypocrisy from Obama himself.  That is politics for you.    

by georgep 2007-02-22 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Ironic that Hillary and Obama

I don't think I criticized Hillary for going after Obama on that. I'm not a fan of Hillary's campaign, at all, but Geffen went after her big-time, so I'm not sure she was out of bounds calling on Obama to live up to his promises about a new kind of politics.

As for Richardson, he's stated over and over that he's running a positive campaign and has called on all other Democrats to renounce personal attacks. So he's being consistent (personally, I would've stayed out of the specific fight, but that's just me). Whether or not he'd be doing the same thing if he were the front-runner is sort of unknowable. I would if I were the frontrunner, though. Really, it costs a second-tier person more to renounce attacks than it does someone who already gets all the attention they need.

by BriVT 2007-02-22 06:35AM | 0 recs
richardson and Vilsack

are running for HIllary's VP... hotline had a paragraph on this.

richardson won't say anything bad about Hillary.

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 06:46AM | 0 recs
If Hotline had a paragraph ...

it must be true!

I'm just joking ... I dunno about the Veep thing. Outside of Edwards, most recent VP choices haven't come from the ranks of Presidential rivals. I think it's mostly a way to dismiss their campaigns. Richardson would be on the short list of any VP process without going through the BS of a Presidential campaign, anyway.

by BriVT 2007-02-22 08:46AM | 0 recs
yes. Richardson's

comment was interesting..

Edwards today took a pass on getting in between hillary and Obama,, while Richardson clearly said in response to Stephanapolus that Obama should renounce the statements

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

If you are going to compete with the Hillary/Lieberman/DLC method of campaigning you had better have some tough-as-nails sonsabitches working for you.

That's what Obama has in Gibbs. Can Gibbs help Obama craft and promote his "above it all" and "unity" politics, while also trash-talking with the likes of the Hillary campaign team? Why not?

We've seen what happens when outrageous charges and ridiculous snipes go unanswered. Lieberman used such methods to defeat our guy Ned Lamont.

Can Obama have it both ways? Does he have any choice?

by Dmitri in San Diego 2007-02-22 06:51AM | 0 recs
having it both ways usually wins!

If Obama can do it good for him.

Hillary stays out and lets her henchman (wolfson) do the dirty work..

Tweety was asking wolfson about this last night

"who is Hillary"  vs. "who is the campaign",, "doesn't the campaign speek for hillary?"

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 07:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

You nailed it.  Hillary's numbers are gonna drop.  Once commercials start airing and the like.  If she ends up losing(which I hope like hell she does), she's still gonna go down with both barrels blazing.  Despite Obama's previous comments, he's gonna have to get down and dirty because Hillary will do whatever necessary to win.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 08:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

That's when it starts though. HRC's people know they're in for a drop. The question is what they plan to do then.

by Josh Koenig 2007-02-22 01:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

That's the $60,000 question(What was that game show called anyway?).

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 03:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

"I'm in to win" vs "I'm going to change our politics" is so fact-free and meta that it's bound to degenerate into quite nasty name calling. When you're basing campaigns on such subjective, amorphous foundations, the attacks are, almost by definition, personal and need to be rhetorically vicious to bite.

This is fucking insightful, man.

I've been noodling over the difference between a coherent campaign -- one that has an internal logic and which can answer many different constituencies in ways that are specific, but non-contradictory -- and a consistent one, which is to say one that is "on message," and about how this relates to network politics vs. broadcast for a while now.

This is a big piece of the puzzle, perfectly crystalized. Thanks.

by Josh Koenig 2007-02-22 01:31PM | 0 recs
Staffs should remain out of it

Look guys, we can all criticize every candidate's staffers, but I think this has got to stop. Our politics has become so inside-the-beltway, even in the blogosphere and we tend to live in a bubble where the staffs of all of these candidates are somehow important. Let's remember that most voters will never know who these staffers are and frankly, don't care. They care about where the candidate's heart is, and the candidate almost never vets staffers before hiring them, that's the job of the campaign manager. So let's judge candidates by their records, their views, and their rhetoric, not by the past experiences of their staffs.

by ahf8 2007-02-22 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Staffs should remain out of it

But the thing is, this guy sets a nasty tone that is completely the opposite of how Obama is trying to present himself.

A lot of us who like Obama were very disappointed by the tone of yesterday's statement.  It seemed like his campaign decided to get down in the gutter with Hillary and start flinging cheap shots.  It's the kind of nasty politics that most people can't stand.

If this guy were willing to present Obama's message on Obama's terms I frankly wouldn't care about his history.  But it seems to me that his pit-bull attitude is just going to be a drag on Obama.

by Steve M 2007-02-22 05:42AM | 0 recs
I'd rather eat popcorn

and watch Gibbs (Obama) vs. Howard Wolfson.(Hillary)

Jennifer Palmeiri (Edwards) looks like mother teresa compared to those two!

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 05:47AM | 0 recs
Wolfson on Hardball last night ...

It struck me when they switched to him, before Chris even asked the first question.  Wolfson was sitting there looking into the camera.  I thought he reminded me of an assassin, or boxer just before they touch gloves before the start of a fight.  He looked focused, he looked mean, he looked like he had a plan, and looked like he was going to win.

by dpANDREWS 2007-02-22 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Wolfson on Hardball last night ...

It can be hard to keep up that kind of intensity for a 13 month primary campaign followed by an 8/9 month general election campaign.  Her team is determined enough but they will be tested more than Bill Clinton's ever was.

by howardpark 2007-02-22 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Staffs should remain out of it

Don't you understand?  HRC's numbers have no where to go but down.  The one thing I do believe out of HRC's mouth is that she is in fact in it to win it.  Do you think she cares if she or her staff trash other Dems?  Face it, there will be lots of mud slingin' before the primaries are over.

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Staffs should remain out of it

But we can judge candidates on the ground they stake out. Obama's whole campaign is a meta statement on the tone of politics and how we have to change that tone. So, it's entirely fair to comment on whether or not he's living up to his rhetoric or not. If he wanted to base his campaign on, say, foreign policy or health care, then it wouldn't be fair to criticize him for stuff like this. But he's not, so it is, imo.

by BriVT 2007-02-22 05:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Staffs should remain out of it

I haven't done a lot of research but I wouldn't describe Obama's whole campaign that way.

I like him becasue he represents a younger, out-side the beltway, new generation voice--and he happens to be a person of color, which I think is his best asset quite frankly.

Do I have any illusions that he will remain an outsider? No.  No one does. But he represents the possibility of the National Democratic Party starting over with something fresh as President- as leader of the free world.  Perfect? No.  But new, fresh, different, and I think with honesty and integrity thrown in for good measure.

by aiko 2007-02-22 07:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Staffs should remain out of it

Regardless of who hires them, does the buck not stop with the candidate?  A candidate's staff is a direct reflection of their values.

by Vox Populi 2007-02-22 05:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

The problem is that Obama frames his campaign as transformational. Hes been making teh rightt noises though we are still waiting for actual substance; Obama's been saying what we want to hear about Iraq, about campaign finance reform, about universal healthcare, etc. Obama's basic premise is that he can achieve transformative politics by embracing inclusive politics; he implicitly is arguing that the old politics of personal destruction and partisan polarization are the impediments to transformative change.

A more pragmatic observer might disagree by saying that the real impediment is that the partisan attacks were largely one-sided, and the better way to enact transforative change is to go on offense. That's a valid opinion but its counter to the animating thesis of Obama's campaign - and his career. (FWIW I don't buy into either narrative. I think transformative change comes from a single thing: the balls to make it happen, and screw you if you aren't aboard).

So, in a nutshell, Obama has someone on his team whose basic approach to politics is directly at odds with his own. Obama may realize this and not care; that woudl make me question his sincerity. Obama may simply not have been aware of this; that makes me question his leadership. If Obama intends to run a Section31 in the basement of his high-falutin' campaign, then he better take a look at himself in the mirror and ask himself what use are his principles if they are so easily set aside when there's Real Work to Get Done. And just what shape his transformative vision will take if built upon such foundations.

The right response to Hillary's attacks is not silence, nor is it scorched earth. A simple factual response - Geffen isnt our finance chair, he's a private citizen, go get your facts straight - would have been far more devastating.

by azizhp 2007-02-22 05:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

FWIW, Edwards comes out ahead. My prediction: Obama and Hillary nuke each other out; Edwards becomes the establishment candidate with Richardson the dark horse. Edwards will recruit Obama as veep and probably eke out an Establishment win, with Richardson granted a consolation prize cabinet position later on.

by azizhp 2007-02-22 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

FWIW, my prediction is that this is a tempest in a teapot, insider baseball, and that it does not shake up the race as dramatic as some of the Edwards supporters hope for.  I doubt the polls will move.  This "issue" won't have much effect to either candidate and will be forgotten very quickly.  "What was that dustup about again" in just a few weeks.  

Edwards needs to do something dramatic himself to make his case, connect with the voters.  He can't just rely on the two top candidates beating each other over the head.  Were he a strong candidate right now (like he was for a little while post-announcement) there would be some needling and commentary in his direction, not necessarily a good position to be in.    

by georgep 2007-02-22 06:34AM | 0 recs
my biggest fear

is that everything is already locked down. Let me amend my (cynical) prediction above - the field will eventually become a choice between Edwards-Obama and Hillary-Richards. I dont think either of these configurations will be sufficently free of insider establishment control and domination; in both cases we will see the netroots marginalized.  

by azizhp 2007-02-22 06:57AM | 0 recs
The Obama-cannibal connection

you're right, it is a tempest in a teapot. Look at what redstate came up with in the interim - asking the really important questions, like "Was Senator Obama secretly using coded appeals to cannibals?"

I shit you not. If thats the best they got, maybe there is something to be said for moderating our own critiques.

by azizhp 2007-02-22 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Ha! It's a nice prediction at that, Aziz (good to read from you BTW, it's Heath). From what I gather though we'll have to wait until after New Year's eve when the 110,000 white Iowans who actually caucus really tune in and decide which direction the dominos will fall.

Looks like your Hillary has her ducks in a row so far.

All my best to you!

by HE 2007-02-22 07:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Heath! how are you! drop me an email, let me know how things are...

by azizhp 2007-02-22 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama
I think transformative change comes from a single thing: the balls to make it happen, and screw you if you aren't aboard).

Hear friggin' hear, any manager can confirm that.

Even better if you deliver that with a friendly jocular witticism, FDR-style.

If all Obama has is kumbaya around the campfire, goodnight Irene.

by Taylor26 2007-02-22 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

good point!

by aiko 2007-02-22 07:34AM | 0 recs
Obama should stress positive governing

Obama's mistake is that silly holier than thou attitude he takes from time to time. He should have differentiated positive campaigning from positive governing. I want my President and politicians to be positive when governing the country. But it is unrealistic to expect positive campaigning. It simply has not been done consistently throughout history. What people should stress is swiftboat like smears. Nothing wrong with pointing out Obama's caution, who he endorsed, Hillary's various problems, Edwards iran related speeches as long as they dont go into areas like Obama's middle name crap, hillary's Vince Foster fake controversy, Edwards million dollar home which has been built on land given to him in a non corrupt manner.

by Pravin 2007-02-22 10:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Extremely insightful piece, thanks Jerome

I had also forgotten about Ford apoligizing and Clinton accepting that, convienient how Gibbs leaves that part out, and that's the key.

At first I was impressed by Obama's rapid and decisive response although disturbed by the reverse racism tone.  Your analysis gives useful insight into Obama's possible strategy.  
I like Obama, but sense that something will go wrong, not like there is some big skeleton in the closet or something but that a slugfest will ensue between Clinton and Obama, or Obama will be too cautious and stop his momentum, I don't know, I can't put my finger on it.

My first choice is still Edwards.  I just wish we didn't have to do this for a whole F'in year.

by gasperc 2007-02-22 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

 Edwards is really seeming like the only Dem. candidate in there w. a gut understanding of strategy. "Kerry spokesperson" sort of says it all, and if he's that evil to boot- I mean, wow. Thanks for this, Jerome. Barring some dramatic changes,you've helped me make a few choices.

by sb 2007-02-22 05:50AM | 0 recs
Jerome failed to mention

that the Kerry campaign had fired Gibbs before Gibbs signed onto the 527 gig that made that ad.

Seems a little surprising to me that Jerome would leave that out.

by MH in PA 2007-02-22 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Thanks, Jerome.  I've been beating this drum over at DKos ever since the announcement of Obama's campaign team.  

by KimPossible 2007-02-22 05:45AM | 0 recs
Prez candidates don't care about netroots

They know that we will show up to vote when needed--kind of like African Americans--we are taken for granted and NOT pandered to.

by aiko 2007-02-22 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

It's off topic, but it looks like Governor Rick Perry (R)Texas took a $5,000 bribe and is going to allow Merck to inject children with an untested drug: gion/legislature/stories/02/22/22perry.h tml

$5, oh my

by BLOGGINGBITCH 2007-02-22 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

This post reminds me of the netroots version of the Washington Post Ellen Tauscher piece the other day. At the end of the day - who gives a rat's ass who the spokesman happens to be. Gibbs earlier work was as an insider hitman. So was Wolfson's. That's the world we live in - most spokespeople are professional assholes.

Clinton and Obama speak for themselves with voters. I think voters are finally wising up to the use of surrogates and are focused on the candidates themselves and these insider wankers like Gibbs AND Wolfson don't amount to a bucket of spit in the long run.

If Gibbs steps in it - it's Obama's fault.
If Wolfson steps in it - it's Hillary Clinton's fault.
If Palmieri steps in it - it's Edwards fault.

But absent some disasterous statement I think it's cutting it far too fine to focus on frames by spokesman a year out from the first ballots.

by joejoejoe 2007-02-22 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama


Guess he figures we should be numb in the face of death.

I'm sure it's nothing.

by BLOGGINGBITCH 2007-02-22 06:12AM | 0 recs
Oh geez!


Edwards is a nutjob hawk on Iran, who needs to be reigned in.
Obama has an a$$hold for a spokesman.
Vilsack is an anti-war opportunist now that he's no longer with the DLC.
Hillary is a dirtytrickster who won't admit that she was wrong on the war.
Kucinich can't win.
Gravel can't win.
No one wants Biden.

I haven't heard any complaints about Dodd and Richardson, except that no one really takes Dodd seriously.

So, what does that f'ing (I'm frustrated) leave the netroots? Are we going to cling to the hope that Richardson can win the nomination by sweeping some western states? Are we hoping that Clark is finally going to join the race? Or Gore, for that matter?

What I wanna know is does the Netroots have a perfect presidential candidate? Due respect to Jerome and Matt and Kos and Atrios (I really really like and respect you all) is there a candidate that is perfect, or are we going to have to decide that we're going to make the best of someone who is far from worst.

At the end of the day -- with or without Gibbs -- isn't Obama preferable to Hillary?  Isn't Edwards -- with his early missteps -- preferable to Hillary?

by Dmitri in San Diego 2007-02-22 06:21AM | 0 recs
Re: Oh geez!


oh, drat!

by azizhp 2007-02-22 06:22AM | 0 recs
Okay, so Richardson is a cad

Now we have 9 imperfect candidates. We'd have 10 or 11 or 12 imperfect candidates if a few more joined the race.

by Dmitri in San Diego 2007-02-22 06:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay, so Richardson is a cad

I was linking to it sarcastically, actually - I dont think any of this stuff really matters as much as whether the candidate has the Balls on three issues: Iraq, campaign finance, and healthcare. As long as the nominee gets on board those trains, I'm satisfied.

Who has the Balls? Thats what the netroots should be asking. If the netroots are consistent on these three issues then we might actually get somewhere.

I personally would favor including a fourth issue, ie liberty-maximization foreign policy (enlightened liberal interventionism). But that requires a willingness to resort to military intervention if diplomacy/sanctions/etc fail. The bar for use of military force is too considerd too low by most of the netroots so I am not under any illusions about that being one of the Big Issues of the day. I'll settle for the ones above, as a result.

by azizhp 2007-02-22 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay, so Richardson is a cad

Aziz, great to see you take active part here.

I dont think real campaign finance reform is achievable by any Presidential candidate. So unless they come up with a really great proposal, it is a total non factor for me personally.  The effort that goes into campaign finance reform could be spent finding solutions to other areas which have been the casualty of our iraq war policy sucking up the country's time and money. I am totally jaded on that aspect.

Maybe there can be some crackdown on one rich guy handing out money to friends and relatives to contribute the max amount(2100 or 2300, i forget). I noticed a lot of family members and same company partners contributing to Lieberman.  

And there are just too many loopholes with most proposals. I think more attention should be made as to not allow media consolidations to happen so easily. It would be incredibly tough for a medium outlet to get a slot on a cable system. Hell, we can't even get a reliable liberal radio network solvent despite the fact that there is some kind of hunger for liberal voices. Phil Donohue cannot get on tv despite showing better ratings than some right wingers who used to be on MSNBC. FOr me access to the media is more important than campaign finance reform.

I am not happy with how Obama and HIllary are probably going to overwhelm the other candidates by drying up a lot of the money so soon.  Hopefully the growing popularity of the internet will turn a lot of discourse to these kind of sites. I was thinking a cap on spending might be better than source of funds but that would include a lot of problems too like how can we limit speech for anyone.

Richardson just does not excite me. I think the President needs to have some charisma because a President needs to reach the people with his messages throughout his term and needs great communication skills for that, which is why I ruled out a guy like Kucinich. I will definitely vote for Richardson in the General Election if it comes to it as he seems pretty reasonable on policy. But is it too much to ask for a charismatic leader who has substance in a country of this size? You can't teach charisma. Obama has it. ANd he seems to have some substance, but he seems to lack something I can't put in words in a short comment. Edwards lacked substance on foreign affairs in 2004. DEspite some missteps related to Iran, he seems to have improved and seems to actually think through some of these issues more carefully.

I hope the other candidates makes this race interesting. I still haven't made up my mind as tto Obama, Edwards, Richardson. Obviously, I would like to see Gore or Clark. Dodd should just remain a Senator where he will do a good job. But it is nice to think of alternatives. I remember back in 2004, other than Dean, and to a smaller extent , Clark, I wasn't really happy with any of the candidates back then. We got more depth right now in the party when you consider people like Webb, Clark and Gore who could make good Presidents if they decide to run.

by Pravin 2007-02-22 11:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Okay, so Richardson is a cad

Does the latest FEC comments on the ruling Obama requested to use public finance in the general make sense to you?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-23 02:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay, so Richardson is a cad

No ... we would have had the perfect candidate if Feingold would have ran.  ;-)

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 08:40AM | 0 recs
OK, here's a question:

which major Democratic candidate's staff is plugged into the Dean machine?  

Any of them?  Is there any candidate who is on good terms with Dean?

by Grand Moff Texan 2007-02-22 06:25AM | 0 recs
Obama's on-line campaign is run by

Joe Rospars.

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama's on-line campaign is run by

Joe, by the way, is a god. No offense intended to Matt, but of the two I see Joe as being more of a heavy lifter.

by azizhp 2007-02-22 07:02AM | 0 recs
Matt Gross

is  with Edwards

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 06:52AM | 0 recs
and Dean

preferred Edwards over Kerry...

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 06:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

I'm not convinced that Gibbs is all that bad. You fight for the side you're on when you're working a primary -- and last time around it got pretty nasty. if anything, I"m pleased that Obama is willing to hire the guy that would come after him in the primaries, and turn those big guns on Hillary, and then, the Republican nominee.

by IsaacGol 2007-02-22 06:26AM | 0 recs
the drag on Obama

So much for a transformational presidential campaign, eh?

by Michael Bersin 2007-02-22 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: the drag on Obama

Look.  Assuming that Obama didn't put Geffen up to it, it probably went like this: He wakes up, reads MoDo, then at 9:30 there is a scathing attack from HRC, the campaign has already decided to hit back when/if HRC slams then.  They go with quote that says more then they needed to.  But either as result or because press is fond of Obama HRC does not get upper hand--pundits say she looked bad but Obama is dragged down too.

Should they have done things differently? yes. Dealing with HRC is not going to be easy.  How the fuck do you run a transformational campaign when HRC is scared shitless and is going to do anything and everything she can to STOP Obama's upward trend.  

Obama is major major threat to HRC and her actions yesterday showed how scared she is of him.

He has got a fine line to walk and he blew it yesterday--actually when he spoke live to reporters he was better than the stupid quote about the lincoln bedroom.

by aiko 2007-02-22 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: the drag on Obama

This is probably the most reality-based assessment of events I have read so far.

I also thought Obama's live response was far better than the hackneyed stuff his campaign put out as "rapid response."

As far as I'm concerned, the reason we're talking about this is simply to point out to Obama that the "business as usual" tone of his pit-bull campaign staff is getting in the way of his personal tone, and he needs to make sure they don't get repeatedly baited by Hillary in this manner.

One obstacle to conveying this message is the wide swath of Hillary-haters in the netroots, who will cheer any shot taken at Hillary even if it actually ends up hurting both parties.  The fact is, if you like Obama and don't like Hillary, the last thing you should want is for this Robert Gibbs character to be turned loose for the duration of the campaign.

by Steve M 2007-02-22 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: the drag on Obama

But the problem is .. you need a heavy hitter to hit back at HRC... were Jarding and Saunders the heavy hitters for Webb?  Or did they just run things?

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 08:43AM | 0 recs

Great points. And I have to believe that they know this after yesterday but we shall see.

by aiko 2007-02-22 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Obama missed the boat here...You can't expect that statements made by someone who is gathering or donating money on your behalf has nothing to do with you.  Further, he hasn't defined himself and this is once again noise that distracts people from focusing on his message.  I mean what have we been discussing about Obama:  There was the is he Black enough discussion, followed by the Madrassa (non) scandal, then the uppity issue(Salon), then is he too Black (SC), now there is the Obama's is fighting with Hillary thing.  This is what the MSM is covering about Obama, so this is what the average voter hears. I truly have no idea what Obama stands for, other than he was against the war and he is hopeful about the future.  That's a good start, but who is listening when all the other stuff surrounds it. What is he hopeful about, and how will he translate his hopefulness into concrete ideas. For better or worse, people think they KNOW Hillary. Finally, one of Hillary's thing is how the Right Wing always made personal attacks against her; if this continues, all she has to do is to compile a list of Gibbs and Obama ally "Right Wing" talking points along with similar comments from real right wingers,  put it in commercial and say the Republicans play the politics of personal destruction, apparently so does Obama.  The final take is that she is the victim of meanie men, who want to hurt her.  Go Hillary.

by Kingstongirl 2007-02-22 06:33AM | 0 recs
You missed a word in your last sentence

You forgot the "away" that goes between the two words. You may also have forgotten the "Please Dear God," that started the sentence, but as it is a leading preposition I can't be sure.

Hope that helps!

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-22 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: You missed a word in your last sentence

That's pretty funny.

by Kingstongirl 2007-02-22 11:33AM | 0 recs
Not a question of being nasty

It is a question of internalizing Republican talking points. Any candidate who wins the Dem nomination by using Republican talking points sets us up for defeat in November. That is part of what happened to Kerry.

by Alice Marshall 2007-02-22 06:33AM | 0 recs
Jerome has sour grapes?

I'll be banned for this but this diary sounds like sour grapes.

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 06:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Jerome has sour grapes?

Who knows.  It is a bit odd to drag this back up.  I mean, I was a huge Dean supporter (and maxed out on my credit card) back in the day.  Sure, I was pissed about this ad, but get over it, people.

And Jerome, way to carry Hillary's water for her (link below).  The one thing Clinton's camp wanted out of all of this was some tarnish on the halo...this is the way to do it.  Talk about setting up "Republican frames"... 207/Armstrong_vs_Gibbs.html

by rashomon 2007-02-22 08:04AM | 0 recs
Back to the "be nice to Obama" theme

It strikes me that the gloves can come off when talking about any other canidates or potential candidates.   Edwards, Clinton, Sharpton, Richardson, Biden, etc. - all are fair game.   But on blog after blog I get the impression that Obama supporters think it is unfair to be pointed in a critic of him or his campaign.

You bring up the idea of a halo, and I think you and others like the halo and are afraid to see it tarnished.  This campaign is just starting and if this little episode gets under your skin then your skin is waaaay to thin.

by dpANDREWS 2007-02-22 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Obama is fighting back for crying out loud.  Why would you be so upset with that?  Hilary still hasn't apologized to America for her Iraq vote.  What's up with that?  Is she, perish the thought, like Bu$hCo? (Can't think of a mistake she made?)  Anyway, keep up the good work.  I'll be reading.

by coldH2Owi 2007-02-22 06:45AM | 0 recs
Obama and Dean

Coincidentally, Chuck Todd of the Hotline made a point similar to this a few weeks ago. Obama's rhetoric is heavy with suggestions that he intends to run an unconventional Dean-style campaign, but if you look at the people who are his senior staffers and advisors they are very good, but very good at running very conventional top-down traditional campaigns. Todd predicts that "something will give" and it will happen "soon."

by blueflorida 2007-02-22 06:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

I think Jerome has a great point here, and I think that there is a tremendous need for Senator Obama to make sure that he has people doing rapid response who can communicate his message the way he would communicate himself.

IMO, this response would have been far better if he had used it as a teaching moment about the incredible triviality of the media, and particularly the trashy Maureen Dowd.

Rapid response has to have its meta themes ready, and not just reach for the first club at hand.

Look how both campaigns have been sucked into Maureen Dowd's game.

by Aeolus 2007-02-22 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Yeah ... and you know what will happen if Obama trashes the media again .. after he did it in his Announcing speech ... the media will trash him relentlessly ... despite how much they suck ... they don't take too kindly to a candidate trashing them so publicly

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

jerome- i think your response here is way off the mark- clinton's camp says some stupid stuff and obama's responds in a legitimate way and all of a sudden obama is on the bad side? i don't get it. if you want edwards to win just say it. you don't have to like obama but i think the readers deserve better justifications than this. come on, hillary acts like the nomination is already gift wrapped for her and you want obama to roll over. i don't get it.


by jscorse 2007-02-22 07:01AM | 0 recs
I think Obama's response was

great and many people agree with Geffen.

I think what those below have pointed out - not jerome - is that this kind of politics is exactly what Obama says he doesn't represent..

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 07:06AM | 0 recs

Why isn't this cross posted at anyway??


by Stewieeeee 2007-02-22 07:19AM | 0 recs
Because this site is pro Hillary?

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Interesting background material on the 'people' behind the people.

It's a shame that the candidates have to use the same OLD 'expensive' consultants that are used to dealing with this type of recycled sleeze, but I guess this is the way it is.

I'm hoping, just hoping that maybe Obama has the strength of character to put his foot down occasionally on Gibbs before he really starts dragging for dirt in the gutter.

Time will tell...

Saw Wolfson on Hardball last night, did he fall for it or what... not only about the campaign finance manager screwup, but with Chris harping on about -- so sometimes you speak for Hillary and sometimes you don't -- kept on at him... to the extent that any dumbo could grasp the fact ... that basically Geffen was speaking for himself on this one.  Ha!

Can't believe Richardson stuck his mouth in the mess, was that a Clinton debt repaid?  yuck!

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-02-22 07:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

That hardball interview was hilarious.  Wolfson kept saying that he was "speaking for himself and not the campaign or the candidate" when he said that Obama should return the fundraising money.  Of course, Chris just skirted the point that could have so easily been made.  If you, Mr Wolfson can speak for yourself and not the candidate, why can't Gibbs?  Completely silly.  

by andy k 2007-02-22 09:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

errr, Geffen that is.

plus, it turns out Geffen had no relation to the Obama campaign beyond hosting a single fundraiser.

by andy k 2007-02-22 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

I profoundly disagree with those who believe that the actions of Geffen and Senator Obama's staffer hurts Senator Clinton.  

Quite the opposite is true:  Senator Obama's sheen is quickly fading, and he is proving himself to be a very green amateur on a national stage, as many of us had sadly suspected.

Whereas Senator Clinton is a very well known commodity on an international stage, in which there are of course all manner of vociferous detractors, Senator Obama was baited by the national press as a "fresh face with a fresh approach," seemingly because he had not been long in the Senate and long in the national debate.  The ruthlessless of his own staffer merely underscores that he is certainly not above the fray.

As to Senator Clinton, Geffen's remarks on the Clintons simply proves that their detractors remain most potent.  One should also note that Maureen Dowd detested them as well.  The current ORDER, which restored the Bush OLD ORDER, sees the return of the Clintons as anathema, and it is they who goaded Senator Obama into running.

For my remaining points, I duplicate here my post with DailyKos:

While I am proud of the passion of the "purist" bloggers, and believe all current Democratic candidates to be a most worthy lot (I am particularly honored by the fine qualities of Senator Obama and former Senator Edwards), I punctuate the fact that many of the bloggers are largely misdirected.  

Their frustration with the reactionary course our government has taken since the outset of the Bush 43 presidency has led them to seek after scapegoats, and Senator Clinton is an easy target.

Were such bloggers able to pull away long enough from their obvious dislike of Senator Clinton, they might ask why Ralph Nader would only run assuredly as an independent were Senator Clinton the nominee of the party; or they might ask why only a Republican pollster, Rasmussen, finds Senator Obama currently competitive with her, or why FOX and its acolytes salivate when they can report that Senator Obama can siphon away Hollywood money from Senator Clinton.

These are not coincidences; they are by design.  There was a time, of course, when the reactionaries assumed that a woman presidential candidate with progressive credentials, even moderate or "centrist" credentials, wouldn't have a chance.  And they assumed that the large number of potential voters with an intense dislike for Hillary Clinton would also be an insurmountable obstacle.

But then came the ever more tragic news from President GWB's Iraq War quagmire; his plummeting ratings, and, of course, the results of the 2006 Midterm Elections.  

And, for all the impressive Vietnam War credentials of Senator John McCain, his ceaseless pandering and vacillating has made him appear, indeed, tired and confused, if not addlepated--truly lethal attributes when considering a septuagenarian nominee for the United States presidency.

As for former Mayor Giuliani, the patina of his 9/11 imagery, which explains his current popularity, falls away rapidly when his many faults are magnified by a national campaign.  The more one learns about the actual former Mayor Giuliani, the less palatable he becomes.

Likewise, former Governor Mitt Romney has many more landmines ahead, aside from a general public's skewered thinking about Mormonism.

And the remaining crop of GOP candidates are far greener on a national scene than is our own Senator Obama.

Now, this presented a dilemma to the "keep a Republican in the White House" establishment Fourth Estaters and pundits.  

Their own internal assessment revealed that not only could Senator Clinton actually win, she would in fact likely win against such a group.  She had the money, organization, regional and political understanding, was investigated as no other First Lady has ever been, and, best of all for even moderately progressive forces--she would have the most admired political figure in the world today at her side.

It is then that the reactionary machine began to promote the candidacy of Senator Obama.  He would be the wedge-driver, with purist bloggers, Nader, elements of Hollywood, and inveterate Clinton bashers from the Left.  Thus, their mantra became: "Look, Senator Obama, you may be inexperienced, but you will never be as fresh as you are now, as appealing as you are now--so run, Senator Obama, run!"

Naturally, Senator Obama, as any ambitious politician would, took that bait, basking in the glow of the praise.

Sadly, what neither he nor his most vociferous proponents understood, is that he alone now stood between a return to a Clinton White House and another period of a GOP presidency.  

For, in spite of their own impressive credentials, former Senator Edwards and former Vice-president Gore are also-rans.  I am second to none in the belief that Albert Gore was in fact actually elected President in 2000.  But the sad fact remains that he could not carry his own state of Tennessee--and that alone would have carried him over, without any shenanigans from Florida mis-counting.  Likewise, former Senator Edwards had difficulty with his home state in the 2004 Kerry/Edwards run.

Which is what makes Senator Clinton unique.  With eight years as Arkansas First Lady, eight years as United States First Lady, six years and counting as New York Senator; an unbringing in Park Ridge, Illinois, and a keen comprehension of the politics of the West--particularly the Hollywood contingent--and with a battle-tested triumph over reactionary forces all along the way--she alone can take on all comers in this presidential cycle.

But it is futile to argue with the progressive purists, or those who inveterately dislike the Clintons, both Left and Right.

There are those who would post, "It's not about winning."  Alas, when it comes to any measure of social progress, even minimal, it is most certainly all about winning.  One cannot call for any social change if one is in the political wilderness.  And before Bill Clinton, it was in the political wilderness that the Democrats on a presidential level found themselves.

I am exceedingly proud of the triumph of progress by way of Howard Dean and others to return the Congress to Democratic control (however limited that control is currently in the Senate).

But, to effect any change, that Congress must have a Chief Executive who will freely sign progressive legislation.  And, of course, that means a Democrat winning the 44th presidency.

Purist bloggers will argue ceaselessly for the candidacies of Senator Obama, former Senator Edwards, even Governor Richardson.  But that will not change the reality--in the current field, Senator Clinton may not be just the best chance at winning, but, with former President Clinton at her side, she can easily become a likely winner.

by lambros 2007-02-22 07:26AM | 0 recs
I'll counter your REALLY long

post by saying watch the 24 hr news channels and you'll see who they crown winner.

With the Clinton's bad history with the MSM and Obama's likability... :)

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

You need to put down the bong.  So you think Obama is a total media creation, huh?  He is helped by the media., yes.  It's not due to them alone however.  Do you think many people even know about all this?  How many people watched Leslie last night?  Or Tweety for that matter?

by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle 2007-02-22 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

I agree with you Lambros.  Further, I'm sick of these Obama nuts that keep coming up to me talking about him like the recently converted speaking about the baby Jesus.  

Good Lord, if I hear one more mouthbreather repeat the Obama mantra, "he's such a dynamic speaker, blah, blah, he's magnetic, blah blah, I want to worship at his feet, Baa baaa."  

What is this guy, the Jim Jones of policics?  Does he use mind-control on the dull-witted.  For the life of me--I don't get it.  I like him, but my God, we're choosing the leader of the free world here not the next American Idol winner.  

Yesterday I was having lunch with my wife in my favorite restaurant, and this woman I know who does volunteer work comes up to our table and I couldn't get rid of her.  She stood like someone testifying in a Holy Roller Church.  My wife and I were in mid-meal and this poor woman, we almost had to get out the ant spray to get her away from our table.  She went on and on and on and never said a damed thing.  It was as if she couldn't stop talking and in the entire time she never said one substantial sentence.  She didn't know anything about Obama, but she was for him.  

I'm more and more convinced this guy is an empty suit.  A very well spoken suit, but still an empty one.  

by Nick Stump 2007-02-22 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Regardless of the merits or lack thereof of this post, does anyone else find it to be incredibly poor writing? Near incomprehensible. I could be alone here, but this really stuns me coming from Armstrong. How something so shoddy can get posted on the front page of a respectable blog like this is beyond me. Command of basic syntax and punctuation is something that normally aids in successfully making one's point, no?

by poll goat 2007-02-22 07:39AM | 0 recs
Yeah, it reads as if he is really angry

I said "Sour Grapes" upthread.

by Yoshimi 2007-02-22 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Yeah, it reads as if he is really angry

Just cause you said it doesn't make it substantive.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-02-22 10:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

you dont agree with the ideas, so you attack the author, how witty...what a jerk you must be...

by timlhowe 2007-02-22 09:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

How can any of them mention Health Care and not address NAFTA? It all went downhill from there. We're not dumbasses.

by BLOGGINGBITCH 2007-02-22 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Thank you for posting this.  I always swore that I would try to find some way to punish whoever was responsible for that ad.  My cousin went to the Obama rally in LA and was getting me to warm up to Obama.  No more.  I'll vote for him if he's the nominee.  That's it.

by kaleidescope 2007-02-22 08:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Obama has plenty of competition. hillary is going to get hammered by FOX. They'll sink her. How's she going to explain to Brit Hume that she didn't know a huge drug dealer would be pardoned by her husband after taking a $200,000 contribution?

She's finished.

by BLOGGINGBITCH 2007-02-22 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

The Rebunglecan media net is having a field day with this Democratic circular firing squad.  After 6 years of misbegotten Rebunglecan rule, there aren't enough targets to go after without hitting each other?

by WHackwhacker 2007-02-22 08:31AM | 0 recs
What do we know about Obama?


Who is to say this isn't completely his style?  He was not tested in his Senate run so he didn't need to get tough.  So we don't really know how he will react to the type of fight he will get from Edwards and Clinton.

There may very well be a reason that Obama reminds me a bit of Joe Lieberman.  Maybe that is why he doesn't mind hiring a guy like Gibbs.

by dpANDREWS 2007-02-22 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: What do we know about Obama?

This was the first glimpse of what it will be like to play in the major leagues for Obama. The real test for Obama will be if he can translate 2 years of experience on the national scene and a lot of buzz into being a viable enough candidate to stay in the race and have a real shot. The Clintons will not make many mistakes and if they do they will fix them and Edwards has a lot more experience in competitive campaigns on the state and national level.

by robliberal 2007-02-22 09:19AM | 0 recs

this is a really important post and I'm grateful you did it - thank you!

by sarahkatheryn 2007-02-22 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

This is unfair.

They Kerry Campaign was the Kerry Campaign.  Whatever Advertisements and themes used by the Kerry Campaign to attack Howard Dean rests ultimately with the Kerry himself -- it's his Campaign.

Now, your second attack was that poor Hillary Clinton was criticized for supporting racist Sen. Robert Ford.  Well, maybe he isn't really a racist but he declared that Obama can't win solely because he is black.  This is, if not racist, very small-minded politics and I think it does deserve to be criticized.  Hillary Clinton appeared with him and accepted Ford's support so the Obama campaign has ever goddamn right in the world to point that out and question Clinton about her close association with somebody who wishes to disqualify a black candidate.

Finally, this Diary is nothing more than a smear attack on Obama.  Because of something that happened way back in 2003 under the administration of John Kerry - we are supposed to then transfer that anger on to Barack Obama-??

What nonsense.
Has Obama attacked Howard Dean-??

Of course not.

This Diary should be deleted.  It is the type of low-bellied garbage that makes bloggers look bad.

Why don't you just do what Fox News tried haplessly to do,  conflate Obama and Osama.

The facts are that the right-wing noisemakers are very nervous about Obama.    They recognize his power and appeal as a candidate and know that they will have a very tough time trying to bring him down.  And if they stoop so low as to play the race card, as Robert Ford did, that it will only backfire on them.  

This Diarist prbably works for the Fox News staff.
What a bunch of pointless garbage.  

Barack Obama had absolutely nothing to do with John Kerry's choice of Advertisments in 2003. And he has every right to express displeasure at Hillary's embrace of racist Robert Ford.

Delete this Diary.  It's garbage!

by DerekLarsson 2007-02-22 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

your post is exhibit A in why I find many Obamafreaks kinda scary.  It's like Obama has given you guys Kool-Aid that turns you into single-minded zombies.

It creeps me out.  You do your candidate a disservice by being so rabid and crazy-sounding.  It scares people away.

C'mon, Gore, we need you!

by jgarcia 2007-02-22 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Ummmm I think the diarist owns this site.

by robliberal 2007-02-22 09:32AM | 0 recs
Obama has things to do

What was Obama thinking hiring a guy like this?

by Pravin 2007-02-22 09:33AM | 0 recs
Psst. Gore is the answer, folks

Tired of slick war-mongers and inexperienced front-runners?

Well, Al Gore is the answer. Gore has his global cocert on climate crisis on July 7th. Let's work to persuade him to enter the race after that (if not before; but timing is crucial).

by NuevoLiberal 2007-02-22 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

I am very glad Robert Gibbs is working for Obama. He's a hard hitter with balls. I'm tired of republican campaigns running us over time and time again. As the spokesperson for the campaign, his language can be more verbose than the candidates.

I know as democrats we like to hold hands and sing songs but we are at a crucial period, and when you have Rudy beating every democratic candidate in the face, we need some hard hitters out there.

Keep up the great work Gibbs!

by BlueCheese 2007-02-22 09:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

I'm all for a good beat down, but what is the purpose behind this?  What does Obama get out of this?  Everyone is talking about the fight between Hillary and Obama.  The NYT talks about the in fighting and the 1.3 mil Obama raked in at his fundraiser. So it's looks like Hillary and Obama are fighting over Hollywood's millions.  Hollywood, which to many evangelicals or "persons of faith" is today's Sodom and Gomorrah.  Look at the two liberals fight over those sinful donations.  Not a good day for either, but then I think the expectations are higher for Obama.

by Kingstongirl 2007-02-22 11:47AM | 0 recs

People who view hollywood as "Sodom and Gomorrah" arn't going to vote for Democrats anyway.

by delmoi 2007-02-22 02:48PM | 0 recs
This post here and over at Daily Kos play ...

right into the Clinton camp's goal! Don't ya get it!

See, for support,

Two things of note, Jerome

1) First we ask our candidates to be bar brawlers
than we ask that they distance themselves from things? You can't have both.

I don't get it. Wasn't the blogosphere up in arms demanding that Edwards defend his bloggers and not back down? Here, Obama didn't back down and you fault him?

Here are the basics (albeit from Joe Klein):

The Clinton camp's initial reaction was over the top: Do they really expect Obama to censor his campaign contributors? The Obama camp's response was swift, brutal and elegant, another signal--after Obama's take-down of the Australian Prime Minister--that he's not going to take guff from anyone. And Hillary raising the "politics of personal destruction" at the AFSCME candidate forum because a Hollywood mogul leveled on her seemed rote and oh so ten years ago.

That sums it up.

Clinton wants to push people around with both money and attacks. If you say nothing you lose. If you stay completely above the fray they will keep coming after you and not get punished.

I doubt you will ever see Obama go negative in T.V. adds or on the stump but you have to allow his campaign to fight back somehow.

2) Reality Check, Obama said he would run
a positive camapign. And wait for it: he has!

The fact that Gibbs is on his staff doesn't mean Obama is not running the "change the tone" campaign he promised. Al Gore hired Chris Lehane, who is an asshole, does that mean Al Gore would not run a agood campaign if Lehane was on board again.

Both Jerome and Kos are conflating Gibbs' past mudslinging for Kerry with Obama's new campaign (in line with the Clinton's false approach from yesterday) implying Obama is not living up to his tone. But he hasn't changed it at all.

His campaign spokesperson, fired back because Obama was attacked but he didn't bring up anything dirty or false. People seem to be a little upset at the Lincoln Bedroom comment but David Geffen did, by his own admission, sleep there twice because he was a big fundraiser for Clinton before. The point being that the CLintons' are being hypocrites.

by dpg220 2007-02-22 10:31AM | 0 recs
I have no problem with Obama's

response, and think Geffen was right and brings up valid points.

however, it's gonna be hard to play hardball with the clintons and talk about a new kind of politics.  It's just impossible to keep both up

by TarHeel 2007-02-22 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

When Geffen made these comments the response from Wolfson was swift and aggressive.  There were two press releases completely ignoring Geffen but directly attacking Senator Obama and attributing a 'vicious' attack to his campaign along with a ridiculous demand.  In both of these attacks it is clear that the target is Obama's stated position on 'a new kind of politics' as evidenced by links to these statements by the Senator in both the Wolfson releases.  And, indeed, the second press release includes the interesting statement:

"When one of Senator Clinton's supporters made an inappropriate statement, her campaign disavowed it immediately and the supporter apologized for his words. Why won't Senator Obama do the same?"

This is no doubt in reference to State Senator Robert Ford's attack on Obama on 13 February, on the occasion of his endorsement of Hillary, with which we are all familiar.  A truly vicious attack in which a powerful black Democratic State Senator basically says Obama would 'doom' the ticket for every other Democrat, which one infers was based on Senator Obama's race as much as anything.  He apologises on the same day and the Clinton campaign accepts the endorsement and refutes the statement.  Later Hillary says:

"Senator Ford has apologized and I appreciate him doing so because I'm all about breaking barriers. I think this presidential election has the opportunity to break a lot of barriers. And I'm the candidate with the experience to get to the White House."

OK, they got their story out there and were immediately poised for the damage control, rejected the statement and had their candidate distance herself from the remark.  This looked intentional to me and quite nasty.  The subsequent disclosure of the $200k consulting contract was a bit of collateral damage.

This is the incident Wolfson chose to use to butress his position that Obama should 'fire' Geffen and return his contribution?  No wonder Gibbs was pissed.  So back comes the response which led to this diary.  This response, incidentally, was themed on the the basic flaw of the attack, ie that Geffen was part of the Obama campaign staff and spoke for them:

We aren't going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters.

He goes on to make the comments which have aroused Jerome's criticisms.  The comments about the Lincoln Bedroom, which I think is what has triggered the 'Republican talking point' criticism more than anything, were unfortunate but if you read the original Maureen Dowd piece you will notice that that was her contribution in a question to Geffen.  It would have been preferable it they had been omitted, to be sure.

But let's have a look at the nature of the attack, it is not what it appears to be on the surface.  It is an attempt to unseat Obama from the high ground and join Hillary in the mud and in this it has at least partially succeeded.  This explains Wolfson's painful and ubiquitous appearances on every television interview he could yesterday, painfully but stoicly enduring the endless repetition of the negative Geffen comments to reinforce the theme that Obama is no better than Hillary.  In fact it is an admission on the part of the Hillary campaign that her negatives are unlikely to be affected by these comments and that her campaign strategists accept this perception in the effort to bring Obama down to their level.  And this was always the intention of this response from them.  

So what was Hillary's actual comment on the subject but a restatement of this exact theme from on high, an attack on the Senator and his campaign:

I want to run a positive campaign and I sure don't want Democrats or supporters of Democrats to be engaging in the politics of personal destruction.

Whereas Senator Obama responded the way one would expect of someone attempting to keep to his message and stay above the fray without giving an inch on the superficial theme of the attack:

"It's not clear to me why I would be apologizing for someone else's remarks," Mr. Obama said, responding to the first question by Radio Iowa's O'Kay Henderson. "My sense is that Mr. Geffen may have differences with the Clintons, but that doesn't really have anything to do with our campaign."

"I can't be responsible for the statements of every single individual who contributes to our campaign," Mr. Obama continued. "We have thousands of people who have differences with the other candidates. It doesn't reflect the views that come from me or my staff.

"My suspicion is that the voters of Iowa are probably more concerned about what both myself and Senator Clinton think about Iraq, health care, jobs and issues," he said.

OK, so where does Jerome's thesis fit into this?  Well, pretty much exactly in line with the Hillary campaign attack, frankly.  A direct criticism of Obama for being dishonest based on the performance and past history of his communications director.  In fact it is not lacking anything in resentment and bitterness from the original Geffen remarks about Hillary.  

Admitedly Obama has to take responsibility for the remarks of his staff and in this the attack from Jerome consequently has some leverage, but it is an attack nonetheless.  And it is perfectly aligned with Hillary's.  As if we are trying to prove that it isn't possible to have a new kind of politics in this country.  Careful, Jerome, you just might succeed.  Most peolpe are all too prepared to believe that.  What is the netroots equivalent to inside the Beltway?  Behind the firewall?

There has been a lot of criticism here about Obama for being too weak, I remember reading endless bar-room brawl analogies some time ago.  And now when he is up against a tough and aggressive opponent, and facing a subtle and contrived attack, the slightest misstep is used as grounds to attempt to invalidate the whole positive theme of his campaign.  This post isn't about Robert Gibbs, it is about Barack Obama and you know it.  What institution, values or ethics are being upheld by the kind of attack being made here?

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-22 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

This post isn't about Robert Gibbs, it is about Barack Obama and you know it.

No, you got it wrong. It's about why the political campaigning style of Robert Gibbs is a drag on the campaign message of Barack Obama.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-02-22 02:34PM | 0 recs
Message Smessage.

Frankly Obama's "campaign message" is a bore. I'd have a lot more respect for him if he kicks the Clinton camps ass then I would for some hoi-poi above the fray bullshit.

Obama should personally be polite, but come on.  Besides, when his guys hit back at some more minor attacks, like the one from the Australian PM, we cheered.

by delmoi 2007-02-22 02:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

I don't know... Shaun I thought had something.  

Before you dug up and posted the dirt on Gibbs, I was oblivious to his 'potential' nastiness.  However, I saw nothing wrong with Obama's campaign response -- I actually didn't pick up on the republican talking points,,, I thought it came across as a STFU == backoff trying to be holier than tho' -- v. mild vs.

Hillary's republican talking points trying to paint her competitors as not wanting to take up the fight against terrorists.

Each interpretation to their own :)

by SandThroughTheEyeGlass 2007-02-22 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Uh, Jerome, what do you suggest then? I mean, that honesty and playing fair worked so well for with Gov. Dean.

Who won that primary again? Oh yeah, the guy who's campaign fought in the gutter most of the time.

by ElitistJohn 2007-02-22 04:42PM | 0 recs

I don't mind the anti-Clinton talking point so much. Fuck Bill and Hill.

Hillary is playing the thin-skinned joe-lieberman game of bullshit attacks and demands for apologies. Fuck her.

by delmoi 2007-02-22 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

The person above who wrote "F Bill and Hill" is a disgraceful fool.  You have no idea of the good thingts that the Clinton Administration did and though you think that your opinion is smart and maybe even witty (hah!)- it shows that you dont know your history and that you buy into the media's whole idea of politics as a stupid popularity contest.  Its a team sporto bucko.  The Clintons brought into power the only Democratic WH in more than a generation.  Im a lefty, we fought to get there, we won, I saw, I know.  FU back.

Thanks to Jerome who actually SEES what this "fight' is about.  Right away the Obama press office has presented and supported the Republic "scripts' most dangerous to all of us Democrats.  I mean come on, the Lincoln bedroom?  That mythos of Democrat avarice was proven to be bogus when investigated.  The numbers of overnight Guest in the Bush administration (and their make up) had been consistant with the Clinton record.  This was a BS meme created by our enemies to hurt the Democratic chances in 2000.  It was part of the attacks on the Democratice fundraising that the GOP used to draw first blood against Al Gore.  (The GOP accusing the Dems of bad fundraising practices was a joke - Abramhoff anyone? - these attacks were unproved - and false - but led to many months of news stories and a developed nationwide CW.)

God bless Jerome for being wise enough to see the dangers of this kind of vile attacking being hurtful to all Democrats.  It has been very disappointing to read people repeating the lamest defences to an act that was so stupid and dangerous at the same time.

I truly suggest that everyone read the Daily howlers posting about this today.  It is the only other place, besides here, that I read any sane understanding of REALLY what happened yesterday.

BTW, I went to college with Obama and have always liked him very much.  I can only hope that someone, who is not a political cheerleader... will point out to him the dangers of providing our enemies with the gold pass to once again use the lies that helped cause us to lose the White House once before. The Dowd, Geffen and the Obama Press team have reintroduced much of the entire lineup of the MSMs scripting against Dems that has been developing since the birth of the cable shows and the political takeover of media- Gop meme idiocy.  Good day huh?

BTW, I HATED that ad against Dean.  Now I know who did it and it makes me ill. Tricia was way right, this guy should crawl back under his Rock.

by timlhowe 2007-02-22 09:28PM | 0 recs
"Republic scripts"?

Hillary is the QUEEN of dirty politics, with no compunction about borrowing "republic scripts." Ask John Kerry.

After Hillary sided with Rove in smearing Kerry, by blatantly and publicly misinterpreting Kerry's comments in Pasadena, if you really don't like Democrats joining forces with Rove, you certainly wouldn't be supporting Hillary, now, would you?

As far as I can tell, at least the Lincoln bedroom statement was true.

by MH in PA 2007-02-23 07:44AM | 0 recs
A Tangled Web

This is a tangled web...

First off, I agree with Jerome on Robert Gibbs. If you were a supporter of Howard Dean in 2003 and 2004, Robert Gibbs is essentially the devil incarnate, whether you choose to understand that fact, or not. There are no two ways about it:  Gibbs was a key leader in maliciously strangling the Dean movement in the crib of Iowa, 2004.  

And yes, I am well aware of the fact that there are millions of former Dean supporters out there who are pretty fuzzy about what happened in Iowa back in 2004.  Wasn't Iowa all about that scream or something?  Nope.  If you think so, you weren't paying attention.

Did you watch the televised debate from Iowa? Did you see the ads that Gibbs ran against Howard Dean day in and day out? For those of us who experienced what ACTUALLY happened in 2004, we know that Gibbs assasinated Dean through some of the basest, most vile ads ever seen by a Democrat against another Democrat.  You tell me what justice demands... far as the details of this Geffen thing, it seems to me that Dowd and Geffen had a long conversation in which Geffen (much like a blogger) explained why he thought the Clinton campaign was bad news.  I do not see anything wrong with that.  Dowd decided his criticisms would make for a nice snarky Dowd column, so she hand picked a few of the more scandalous comments and crafted another one of her "substantive" columns.  (Huh?)

As is apparently the requisite style now, ala the apparent romance of the war room, the Clinton people felt they had to hammer Geffen.  An honest response would have required them to address Geffen himself, and his comments in particular. But apparently "Wolfson politics" are not about honest debate.  Instead, in their press releases, and on TV, Clinton Inc. lied repeatedly about Geffen being Obama's campaign finance chair.  And they decided to smear Obama. Obviously, for Wolfson, truth is not the stuff of victory.  Victory is to be built upon spin.  Hooray for spinning and misleading people!

And, because apparently speed earns the greatest respect in politics, less than an hour and a half later, Gibbs dumped a hastily produced load of sewage in the direction of Clinton, Inc.  That sewage included reference to one of the hundreds of old Clinton scandals (so many to choose from), the infamous selling of the Lincoln bedroom, and also a new scandal, one started by someone still on the Clinton payroll, someone who rang the bell of racism against Obama, then said he was sorry for ringing the bell.

Can you really unring the bell of such a blatent racist comment?  I do not think so.

Once Obama himself was asked about this stuff, his comments were thoughtful and correct.  

I can't be responsible for the statements of every single individual who contributes to our campaign....We have thousands of people who have differences with the other candidates. It doesn't reflect the views that come from me or my staff.

Bottom line: I do think that Gibbs has to go, not because of this sewage leak (which was really the product of a very hasty movement) but because of his prior toxic dump, the one that poisoned the Dean movement in 2004, a murder most foul. And, the South Carolina politician, still on the Clinton payroll, the one who uttered the racist attack on Obama, then tried to unring that racist bell, he should also be taken off the payroll.

by Demo37 2007-02-22 10:31PM | 0 recs
Re: A Tangled Web

The South Carolina legislator who made the comment that Obama would hurt Democrats' chances downticket because he is black - is black. He's also not on the Clinton payroll.

Unfortunately, I don't think he's wrong, either, but Hillary will also hurt downticket.

by clarkent 2007-02-23 02:37AM | 0 recs
My Mistake

Clark, you are mistake from reading the articles too quickly (and late night blogging.)  

I mixed up Robert Ford and Darrell Jackson.  The racist comment was made by Robert Ford, and it is a friend, Darrell Jackson, who is being paid more than $200,000 by Clinton, Inc.  Thanks for the correction.

As for the race of Ford, I do not think it is particularly relevant, or exculpatory, that he is black.  His very public comment was racist.

by Demo37 2007-02-23 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: My Mistake

No worries, Demo - I did the same thing in another thread.

I disagree with you on Ford's comment. He was merely making an observation. I don't currently live in the South, but I still have a lot of ties there. A lot of Democrats and independents I know there are very cool to Obama's candidacy. I don't think that should be a reason not to vote for him (especially over Hillary!), but it's definitely there.

by clarkent 2007-02-23 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: My Mistake

I can't see how you can interpret Ford's comments as anything else than a calculated attempt to undermine Obama's popularity with Democrats.  It was an 'expert' opinion followed by a disingeuous apology and the whole thing seemed contrived to me.  And nasty.

And it was a racial whack-job on Obama that no white politician would dare make.  I suspect the Clinton campaign in spite of their shrink-wrapped deniability.  You are asserting it was a genuine concern on Ford's part, not influenced by his association with the Clinton candidacy?  No sale.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-23 01:55PM | 0 recs
Re: My Mistake

OK, I went back and looked at what Ford actually said, and that was "every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose -- because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything."

I won't defend that. He goes too far to say that we'll lose all over the country. But from my experience living in the South, knowing lots of moderate Democrats, Obama will at best be neutral on downticket races there. Last Christmas I copied a bunch of podcasts from the various potential candidates onto CDs and gave them to friends and family. Edwards, Clinton, and Biden(!) got good responses, but nobody wanted to talk to me about Obama.

by clarkent 2007-02-23 03:29PM | 0 recs
Re: My Mistake

Maybe so, you would know better than I about Obama's chances in the South.  I was just setting a marker on the Ford comments and I appreciate your response.  He didn't make it any easier, in any case.

by Shaun Appleby 2007-02-23 04:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

a tangled web...oh my... the hundreds of clinton scandals you speak of - do you mean ....Whitewater (bogus) Travelgate (bogus) Missing Ws, Air force One, hair cuts, the 30 murders, c linton the rapist, vince foster...which of these bogus scandals, brought to you by the crazed right and the chris matthews of the world is your fav?

Yes, the guy got oral sex from a staffer a few times and they put him in a perjury trap in order to bring down OUR goverment and I m supposed to blame him?

F that!  I know who my real enemies you?

read  - learn about the past...stop buyin and using GOP-Media Whore PR!

by timlhowe 2007-02-23 03:50AM | 0 recs
The Joys of Refighting Bogus Scandals

Tim, hey, I am with you on that.  Personally, I think 99% of all the supposed Clinton scandals were bogus.  Further, I think they were fabricated by...drum roll please...hyper partisan Republicans.  And with lots of money, and enablers in the media, they spread these lies into the laps of the low info voters.

But having said this, I also realize that all these old, stale, false scandals will be available to the Republicans should Hillary Clinton become our nominee.  Gibbs statement reminds us that, for better or worse, there are many old scandals to choose from with Hillary Clinton. (That is what I was indicating parenthetically in my comment.)

And yes, some Democrats will no doubt be excited by the possibility of refighting all these ancient scandals, because if Clinton is our nominee, obviously, we will all have to refight them.  Hey Democrats, let's circle the wagons and refight idiotic baseless scandals from the 90's! Who was Vince Foster again?  Let me explain Vince Foster to low info voters... Thanks, but no thanks.  

As I see it, if we Democrats can possibly find, and nominate a candidate who does not have all this ancient scandal baggage, that, would be preferable.  

by Demo37 2007-02-23 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

If you ask me like it or not that ad goes right to the heart of any argument against Dean in 2004. It's not surprising a Dem, any Dem, would use it against him in IA. If he had won the nomination you can be sure the Repubs would have used it against him in the general. It's all about electability for the our voters in IA and NH.

BTW Dean wasn't right about Iraq after the invasion when he kept saying "we're in Iraq now, we can't just leave" anymore than Kerry and every other Dem candidate except for Kucinich. Go back and look. Only Kucinich among the nominees back then had it right.

Gibbs worked for Obama in 2004. He apparently didn't do anything to embarrass the candidate then. Obama won by a landslide, even in Republican DuPage County. Granted Gibbs probably wouldn't have been heard anyway if he did make boneheaded comments over the sound of Alan Keyes detonating verbal IEDs under his own campaign.

Gibbs may or may not be a drag on Obama in the coming year but I doubt it's as bad a move as hiring a blogger who regularly uses the term "cunt" in her posts. You don't have ot be a wingnut Christian to be put off by that. Be my guess 90% of American women find that word offensive.

by markg8 2007-02-23 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Jeeze Markg8...look I like barrack, I was in college with him, but dont you recall who he ran against in his Senate race?  Ambassador Crazy Fella remember.  Nothing agaisnt Obama there - but no bragging rights either.  Look, Id be happy with either candidate really.  (I wish for Big Al - but that aint happening, so...) but Demo 37, let me tell ya friend, I was there, all those tales were lies, Hillary really is a nice lady, the Repubs made just about everything up and you think that we should dump the Clintons over the side even though they fought them tooth and nail and suffered and got whacked over and over and still kept fighting?!  Jeeze, I truly just dont understand that idea.  The net is fukll of people who say they HATE the MSM and the GOP, but boyo are they sure willing to do their bidding.  Its the repubs who have sent out the script into Dem land that Hillary cant win.  (It sure is hell aint the Internal polling which quite clearly shows the opposite.  Do you actually think Bill and Hill would run if they didnt KNOW that they could win this thing?  Come on!)

Look I didnt expect her to run.  But now that she is, its clear they see a way to victory.  If it wasnt Hillary the same GOP-MSM machine that developed the CW that Al Gore is aliar and John Kerry was a French Flip Flopper would develop a comparative script about Osama or Edwards or whoever.  Its whistlin past the graveyard and a serious misjudgement to think any other way.  remember, this is a fight for control of the most powerful Nation that ever was.  They will do anything.  One thing for the Clintons, theyve beaten em before.  Number two, we know what their gameplan will be.  They threw all the weapons they had against em in 98 and they still left with both of their approval ratings in the 60s.  Personally, Id like a Hillary/Obama ticket, but thats mostly cause I dont quite think anyone in my class is ready to have their own helicopter, let alone armies...not just yet.

by timlhowe 2007-02-23 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Robert Gibbs, the drag on Obama

Boy did you turn out to be right about this guy. Obama has been communicating consistently worse and worse and is starting to sound like he has no idea what to say and I'm pointing the finger squarely at Gibbs. Here is a diary I just wrote about this topic: ryId=2425

by wiretapp 2007-11-17 09:00PM | 0 recs


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