Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama Get Dirty

1204919255When you compare it to the battle for the Republican presidential nomination, the Democratic side has been fairly civil. Yes, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have had their moments, but until this week nobody had been compared to a pig.

It appears the era of nasty infighting in the never-ending campaign for the Democratic nomination has begun. Harvard professor and Barack Obama campaign adviser Samantha Power resigned from his campaign after news that she called Hillary Clintona monster” spread this morning.

Somewhere, John McCain is laughing.

A big rumble has been growing since late last week. Reports surfaced that a Obama staffer called Canada’s ambassador to tell him not to worry about that whole anti-NAFTA rhetoric Obama’s using because he didn’t really mean it. Of course, Clinton smelled blood.

I think it’s somewhat disturbing that he would say one thing in Ohio and then have his campaign send a private signal to a foreign government which is presenting exactly the opposite of what he’s been saying in Ohio. This is part of a pattern and I think it’s a pattern that deserves closer examination.

In an attempt to change the subject, the Obama campaign demanded to know why Clinton hasn’t released her income tax returns. Clinton claims she’s still getting her paperwork together and will release the information before the Pennsylvania primary. Yesterday, her campaign took us on a trip down memory lane by evoking a figure from a retro political controversy.

“After a campaign in which many of the questions that voters had in the closing days centered on concerns that they had over his state of preparedness to be commander in chief and steward of the economy, he has chosen instead of addressing those issues to attack Senator Clinton,” [Clinton spokesman Howard] Wolfson told reporters in a conference call. “I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president.”

Man, that takes us back. But the sentimentality should fade quickly for the Obama campaign, which has a big problem on its hands. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo sums it up nicely.

The Obama folks can either withdraw to a world where the ‘new politics’ reigns or focus on the fact that here in the real world there are two ‘old politics’ practitioners standing between him and the presidency and he needs to decide how he’s going to deal with that fact.

In this morning’s Globe, it seems like Obama is struggling to find the moral high ground his supporters love without looking like a ninny. Obama pal Gov. Deval Patrick managed to beat Kerry Healey with his message of unity, but Healey was certainly no Hillary Clinton, so it will be interesting to see how Obama deals with the new reality.
It’s a fine line, and we can’t wait to see how he walks it.