Following today's attack on Hillary Clinton's integrity they have responded by questioning Barack Obama's claims to be running a "clean" campaign on CNN last week: " Well, look, Wolf, I think if you
watch how we have conducted our campaign, we've been very measured in
terms of how we talk about Senator Clinton. ... I have been careful to say,
that I think that Senator Clinton is a capable person and that should she win
the nomination, obviously, I would support her. You know, I'm not sure that we
have been getting that same approach from the Clinton campaign."
The Clinton campaign is countering that statement with this:
"The facts of this election stand in stark contrast to that statement. Senator Obama and his senior campaign officials have engaged in a systematic effort to question Hillary's integrity, credibility, and character. They have portrayed her as someone who would put her personal gain ahead of the lives of our troops, someone who would say or do anything to win an election, someone who is dishonest, divisive and disingenuous. They have adopted shop-worn anti-Clinton talking points, dusted them off and unleashed a torrent of unfounded character attacks against her. Among other things, they have described Hillary - and her campaign - as:
This is a hard-fought campaign - as it should be. Like any candidate for elected office, Hillary has made clear why she thinks she would do a better job than her opponent. She has laid out comprehensive policy proposals, put forth her 35-year record of accomplishment, and spent countless days introducing herself to voters across the country. She has said that she is far better prepared to take on John McCain on national security. She has contended that she is the candidate with the experience to confront the GOP attack machine. She has argued that she is more electable. She has said that Senator Obama's words are not matched by actions. And she has challenged him to live up to core Democratic values and goals such as universal health care.
Both candidates are running a vigorous campaign. Both have had surrogates or supporters who have crossed the line and made offensive statements that they rejected. And these offensive statements are an unfortunate part of a long and close campaign. Those who make a habit of automatically assuming and ascribing to only one candidate the worst motives, ignoring more reasonable and benign explanations, who substitute conjecture for fact and then use those assumed 'facts' as a foundation on which to pile more conjecture about only one candidate's intentions, who express anger at negative campaigning and perceived dirty tricks but focus on only one candidate's words and actions, risk losing credibility. And those who conclude from that one-sided reasoning that Hillary ought to stop seeking victory, should ask themselves if quitting in the middle of a hard-fought – and winnable – contest is a desirable attribute in a future president.
Hillary has rightfully stated that as Democrats we should be proud of our field of candidates. And it is truly inspiring to see the level of enthusiasm among voters this cycle. We should encourage as many people as possible to become part of this process and to forcefully advocate for their candidate of choice. But there is a sharp line between supporting a candidate (and excusing their faults, which all supporters do to some degree) and conducting a "full assault" on an opponent's integrity and character. The Obama campaign's unabashed attacks on Hillary's honesty and trustworthiness should give every Democrat pause."
I haven't been on a lot of the media conference calls as yet, I've either been away from home traveling to events or working and missed a few, but when I have both campaigns were vigorously attacking each other, trying to define the media coverage in their favor. This is politics. This is politics at the highest level with the highest stakes and nothing is held back.
The Obama campaign has a legitimate argument about the Clinton tax returns, voters are entitled to know where they earn their money. With serious questions about the sources of money for his Foundation, Bill needs to disclose that as well. Conversely the Obama campaign is guilty of violating their credibility on this issue the Clinton people raise. He promised to run a different kind of campaign and he said he would keep it positive.
Of course that was either naive or simply for public consumption. Politics is a bloodsport and a battle for the White House is always going to be cut throat. Obama has left himself open to this sort of attack because he has accused Hillary in a negative fashion after promising not to do so. It would be nice to think this could be a nice, warmhearted congenial campaign but that will never happen at this level.