ELECTION ’08: Rolling in the muck

Here’s the short version: The Clinton’s campaign sends out photo of Obama in African dress. Drudge (of all people) mocks them for the stupidity of it. Obama campaign says it’s pretty sad that the Clinton campaign has resorted to this. The Clinton’s campaign responds back that Obama is being petty, but doesn’t deny that it came from them.

The longer version:

A photo of Sen. Obama dressed in African garb was sent out. I won’t link to Drudge, but you can find it if you’d like. From his site:

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

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

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

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

Then Drudge pretty much laughs off the “attack” and posts 3 photos of Sen. Clinton, Bush and Bill Clinton in various traditional garb of countries they’ve visited.

Now, you know it’s bad if Matt Drudge won’t run breathlessly with it. Evenhanded is not the word ever used to describe Drudge’s brand of “reporting”.

The origin of the photo can be found at Han-Geeska Afrika Online.

The Obama campaign released the following statement(TPM):

“On the very day that Senator Clinton is giving a speech about restoring respect for America in the world, her campaign has engaged in the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election. This is part of a disturbing pattern that led her county chairs to resign in Iowa, her campaign chairman to resign in New Hampshire, and it’s exactly the kind of divisive politics that turns away Americans of all parties and diminishes respect for America in the world.”

Greg Sargent over at TPM immediately contacts his buddies in the Clinton’s campaign to get response from them. After a while Maggie Williams sends out this head-exploding non-denial:


If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry.

We will not be distracted.

Go ahead…make sure you get the pieces of brain that feel behind the sofa. I’ll wait. Clean up is tough with stuff like this. I completely understand. While you’re at it, I’ll tell you a story. When I was around 6 or 7 years old, I used to bug my little sister a lot. I’d be generally annoying just to get her attention and make her play with me. Once I got her attention, I’d then complain to my mother that she was bugging me.

Got all the brains back in? Good.

Note that there’s no denial of the photo being sent from the Clinton’s campaign. For whatever reason the Clinton’s campaign is running with the lie that Obama called the photo divisive, when he actually called their tactics divisive. This is just as bad as last week when the Clinton’s campaign said that they’d poach Obama delegates, then when called on it, they said that they had never said that and were waiting for the Obama campaign to deny that they’d poach Clinton’s delegates. This is what Granny Weatherwax calls headology. The only problem is that the Clinton’s campaign kinda sucks at it and it only makes them look like me at the age of 7.

UPDATE:  h/t to Buzzflash, it seems that the Clinton’s campaign does have someone working to feed Drudge stories:

Clinton’s communications team, led by Howard Wolfson, is not leaving Drudge to the Republicans. Five current and former Democratic officials said Clinton has on her side the closest thing her party has ever had to Rhoades (ed. note: this would be Matthew Rhoades who worked for Romney and was fed stories to Drudge–read the article)  in Tracy Sefl, a former Democratic National Committee official. The officials said that Sefl had established a friendly relationship with Drudge and that Clinton’s campaign often worked quietly through her to open a line of communication with Drudge.


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