Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hillary's national co-chair takes a cheap shot at Obama. And misses the target.

In the wake of a tightening race that shows Barack Obama pulling into a tie with Hillary Clinton in his home state of New Hampshire, top Clinton advisor Bill Shaheen has raised concerns about Obama's past admissions of drug use.

CONCORD, N.H. - A top adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign said Wednesday that Democrats should give more thought to Sen. Barack Obama's admissions of illegal drug use before they pick a presidential candidate....

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said in response to Shaheen's remarks:

"Hillary Clinton said attacking other Democrats is the fun part of this campaign, and now she's moved from Barack Obama's kindergarten years to his teenage years in an increasingly desperate effort to slow her slide in the polls. Senator Clinton's campaign is recycling old news that Barack Obama has been candid about in a book he wrote years ago, and he's talked about the lessons he's learned from these mistakes with young people all across the country. He plans on winning this campaign by focusing on the issues that actually matter to the American people."

I agree that this is a desperation ploy by the Clinton campaign and they are worried they might (gasp) lose.

Here is the question: WHAT DOES WHAT SOMEONE DID AS A TEENAGER HAVE TO DO WITH HOW THEY WOULD CONDUCT THEMSELVES TODAY? Obama said he has learned from his mistakes, and that is as good an answer as the question has.

It's been years since Obama's acknowleged use of drugs, and the fact of the matter is that you probably will find very few people who were absolutely squeaky clean in every way when they were in high school.

And at least he admits that he inhaled.

Let me quote from a post I wrote recently, ironically defending a campaign advisor to Republican Fred Thompson who it turned out had served prison time for drug related crimes a quarter century ago:

First and foremost, it's a matter of time. I wrote a post once, called the prison that follows prison that dealt with how hard it is for a convicted felon in America to become a productive member of society, or for that matter to be anything other than a convicted felon in the eyes of most people. For that matter, unless he's had his rights restored, Philip Martin would not be allowed to vote in most states. But look, his last conviction was TWENTY-FOUR years ago! TWENTY-FOUR bloody years ago! Do we EVER forgive anybody, or let them move ahead with their lives? The man has kept out of trouble for nearly a quarter of a century, and some people want to haul up what he did in 1979 or 1983. Guess what? Besides it being a long time ago, he was also a lot younger then. Sometimes younger people do foolish things, and then they learn from them. All the evidence is that Philip Martin did learn from his mistakes.

Unfortunately after I wrote the post praising Thompson for standing by Martin and not pressuring him to resign, Martin did resign under pressure.

People make mistakes, especially when they are young. I've never thought that the mistakes that people made in their youth should be held against them when they get older, assuming of course that they straighten themselves out and stop making those mistakes. Obviously, Obama has done that.

And to be honest, I have a former co-worker who lives in Albuquerque and grew up in Chicago, and he knew Hillary's family and was a friend of her brother's. He's told me stories about that, but I won't choose to publish them here.

I won't, because they don't matter.


froggyprager said...

Given the sad state of politics, I have to admit it did not seem that dirty or wrong for Hillary's camp to bring up the old drug thing against Obama. Democratic critics often brought up Bush's past drug use. While I may think it is not relevant what he did as a teen, politics is much about impressions for some group of voters. This will hurt Obama and that was their goal. I bet the whole firing and apology was the plan from the beginning. The news gets out there and Hillary comes out looking ok.

shrimplate said...

I cheated on a spelling test once in third grade. I suppose if one needed to be defribillated, they would perhaps prefer a nurse who did not have such a thing clouding their past.

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of thing that will really hurt Hillary.

Right now, she is the first choice of maybe 40% of Democrats. But she is likely the last choice of at least the same percentage.

Once the field starts thinning out after Iowa and New Hampshire, and either Obama or Edwards or conceivably Richardson emerges as her main opponent then the other 20% will have to choose, and right now I'm guessing they'd choose the 'un-Hillary,' whoever that turns out to be.

Eli Blake said...


Keep in mind that the first attack the Clinton campaign launched against Obama was based on a sentence he wrote in Kindergarten.

So third grade, heck that makes you an old man, and it's the recent past.