Senior officials from the Hillary Clinton campaign, speaking on a recently concluded conference call, charged Barack Obama’s campaign with “recycl[ing] some of the same old Republican attacks on Hillary” and “imitating Ken Starr.”
In recent days, the Democratic nomination fight has turned hostile, with the Clinton camp raising questions about Barack Obama’s relationship with indicted real estate developer Tony Rezko. In response, the Obama campaign has begun to strongly hint at Clinton’s hand in the scandals of the 1990s, hammer her for her failure to release tax returns, and even call her “the most secretive politician in America.”
The Clinton campaign fired back today by taking a page out of a familiar play book.
“I did not realize that [the Obama campaign’s] version of a new kind of politics is to recycle some of the same old Republican attacks on Hillary that have failed for years,” senior Clinton adviser Ann Lewis said.
Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director, later added: “I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president.”
The call took another amusing turn when prominent liberal blogger Jane Hamsher lamented that both campaigns were employing right wing tactics.
“I agree with you that using the Republican talking points is a problem, and I was really happy to hear you say that, but I’m curious, why did you choose to run the phone ad, which reinforces the Republican ‘be afraid all the time’ theme that the GOP has been using to keep us in basically interminable war and justify uncontrollable defense spending?” a frustrated Hamsher queried. “And isn’t John McCain ultimately the winner in that argument?”
Lewis concurred in part and dissented in part.
“I agree with you that the Republicans have in shameful ways used fear to divide us…but I do not see our phone ad in that way, I thought it was a more positive ad,” Lewis said.
One thing is pretty clear. The Clintons have managed to drag Obama into a dirty campaign re-fighting the battles of the 1990s. And that’s just the way they like it.