More Clinton tactics

Hillary Clinton’s people are circulating a picture of Barack Obama, on a trip to Kenya, wearing African dress, including a turban. (Even though he is wearing a polo and khakis underneath.) The insinuation is that he is a Muslim. That, or she is trying to summon up some kind of weird racist reaction. But Matt Drudge usefully assembles some other pictures of politicians wearing native clothing, including Mrs. Clinton dressed like a Muslim! See this story and the photos below.

Mrs. Clinton has not only dropped all restraint in slamming Mr. Obama, she has adopted John Edward’s class warfare rhetoric in an effort to rally the proletariat to her side. It worked SO WELL for Mr. Edwards.

Doesn’t she see that the more she does this kind of vicious, angry stuff the less voters like her?
Barack Obama going native
Hillary Clinton going native

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    Actually, from what I’ve heard, this was first released by a conservative blogger who said the Obama picture was being circulated by the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign has categorically denied spreading the picture (at least officially – who knows what individuals in the campaign are doing on their own)

    It’s probably still too early to know what really happened, but as far as I can tell, the Clinton campaign is decrying the use of the picture as propaganda and saying it would never do something like that.

    Obviously, what a political camp says, what they do, and what they try to do, only has coincidental overlap, but that’s at least what the Clinton campaign is saying.

  • WebMonk

    Actually, from what I’ve heard, this was first released by a conservative blogger who said the Obama picture was being circulated by the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign has categorically denied spreading the picture (at least officially – who knows what individuals in the campaign are doing on their own)

    It’s probably still too early to know what really happened, but as far as I can tell, the Clinton campaign is decrying the use of the picture as propaganda and saying it would never do something like that.

    Obviously, what a political camp says, what they do, and what they try to do, only has coincidental overlap, but that’s at least what the Clinton campaign is saying.

  • Don S

    Matt Drudge released the picture, and stated that it came from the Clinton camp. The Clinton camp’s “denial” consisted of a statement that “we have some 700 operatives, and it is impossible for us to know with certainty what each of them does”. See http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/02/clinton-on-phot.html. There is no question, in my mind, that Drudge is telling the truth.

    The bigger question is why this works. There are pictures of other politicians wearing native garb, including Bush, and it is no big deal. However, this is an area where Obama has a problem with being identified as a possible Muslim, and he knows it, hence the rapid damage control.

    I love to see the democrats knocking each other off like this, and hope they keep it up.

  • Don S

    Matt Drudge released the picture, and stated that it came from the Clinton camp. The Clinton camp’s “denial” consisted of a statement that “we have some 700 operatives, and it is impossible for us to know with certainty what each of them does”. See http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/02/clinton-on-phot.html. There is no question, in my mind, that Drudge is telling the truth.

    The bigger question is why this works. There are pictures of other politicians wearing native garb, including Bush, and it is no big deal. However, this is an area where Obama has a problem with being identified as a possible Muslim, and he knows it, hence the rapid damage control.

    I love to see the democrats knocking each other off like this, and hope they keep it up.

  • S Bauer

        “Should any of your IM force be caught or killed, the Secretary will deny any knowledge of your actions.”

  • S Bauer

        “Should any of your IM force be caught or killed, the Secretary will deny any knowledge of your actions.”

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Ah, yes, reliable Matt Drudge, who also brought us the story of John Kerry’s affair, Clinton and Boxer’s “legislative fix” for talk radio, and Kerry’s picking Hillary as vice president. Such devotion to accuracy! Such journalistic integrity! Hmm, whatever happened to those stories, anyhow?

    I’d also like to note, for those who flog the New York Times over their poor sourcing (cf. the latest McCain story), that Drudge’s pieces are usually sourced as poorly, if not moreso. “Stressed Clinton staffers” circulated the photo? That’s all we get?

    But hey, let’s buy it. After all, we all know how bad Clinton is, so even it’s a poorly sourced, gossipy story from a frequently inaccurate rumor mill, it’s gotta be true!

    Personally, seeing how this has worked here, I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever released these photos was trying to smear both Obama and Clinton — he as a Muslim, and she as desperate and power-mad.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Ah, yes, reliable Matt Drudge, who also brought us the story of John Kerry’s affair, Clinton and Boxer’s “legislative fix” for talk radio, and Kerry’s picking Hillary as vice president. Such devotion to accuracy! Such journalistic integrity! Hmm, whatever happened to those stories, anyhow?

    I’d also like to note, for those who flog the New York Times over their poor sourcing (cf. the latest McCain story), that Drudge’s pieces are usually sourced as poorly, if not moreso. “Stressed Clinton staffers” circulated the photo? That’s all we get?

    But hey, let’s buy it. After all, we all know how bad Clinton is, so even it’s a poorly sourced, gossipy story from a frequently inaccurate rumor mill, it’s gotta be true!

    Personally, seeing how this has worked here, I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever released these photos was trying to smear both Obama and Clinton — he as a Muslim, and she as desperate and power-mad.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, I think you’ve got the most likely idea on this.

    My theory is that it was some private individual in the Clinton campaign, possibly just an internally circulated item, and Drudge jumped on it to ballyhoo it from a molehill (individual action by a Clinton peon) into a mountain (orchestrated smear campaign by Clinton), and then guide it as a coincidental swiping pass at Obama.

  • WebMonk

    tODD, I think you’ve got the most likely idea on this.

    My theory is that it was some private individual in the Clinton campaign, possibly just an internally circulated item, and Drudge jumped on it to ballyhoo it from a molehill (individual action by a Clinton peon) into a mountain (orchestrated smear campaign by Clinton), and then guide it as a coincidental swiping pass at Obama.

  • Don S

    Nice try guys, but no dice. This is a case where Drudge obviously got the email from a Clinton staffer of some sort. There’s no sourcing issue — he got it directly. He has no reason to lie about that. Read the ABC News story I linked to above (the link has apparently changed slightly to this: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/02/clinton-on-phot.html ). The Clinton camp is not even attempting a denial, beyond denying that Hillary herself had direct knowledge of the picture.

    But, like Hillary says, who cares? The picture shouldn’t matter at all except that Barack already has a problem in this area. Anyway, it’s all great fun. Democrats aren’t used to rough treatment in the press.

  • Don S

    Nice try guys, but no dice. This is a case where Drudge obviously got the email from a Clinton staffer of some sort. There’s no sourcing issue — he got it directly. He has no reason to lie about that. Read the ABC News story I linked to above (the link has apparently changed slightly to this: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/02/clinton-on-phot.html ). The Clinton camp is not even attempting a denial, beyond denying that Hillary herself had direct knowledge of the picture.

    But, like Hillary says, who cares? The picture shouldn’t matter at all except that Barack already has a problem in this area. Anyway, it’s all great fun. Democrats aren’t used to rough treatment in the press.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@6), hello, and welcome to our planet. Let me be the first to welcome you.

    At least, I assume you’re new here, based on your statement that “Democrats aren’t used to rough treatment in the press.” Right. No one ever said one bad word about Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or Hillary Clinton in the press. It’s the first time they’ve ever had rumors circulated about them. Or their words and actions scrutinized.

    As to your assertion that Drudge “has no reason to lie about” the sourcing on the photos, what’s your take on Drudge’s reasons for completely botching the Kerry VP selection story? Couldn’t be his utter fascination with Hillary, could it? (Or, rather, his understanding that his readers go pathological at the mere mention of her name.)

    Right up there with missing young, pretty white women; Hollywood liberals; ironic global warming anecdotes; and, of course, stealing especially awkward photos of people from Yahoo’s Web site. And that stupid flashing light from late 90s Web design.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@6), hello, and welcome to our planet. Let me be the first to welcome you.

    At least, I assume you’re new here, based on your statement that “Democrats aren’t used to rough treatment in the press.” Right. No one ever said one bad word about Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or Hillary Clinton in the press. It’s the first time they’ve ever had rumors circulated about them. Or their words and actions scrutinized.

    As to your assertion that Drudge “has no reason to lie about” the sourcing on the photos, what’s your take on Drudge’s reasons for completely botching the Kerry VP selection story? Couldn’t be his utter fascination with Hillary, could it? (Or, rather, his understanding that his readers go pathological at the mere mention of her name.)

    Right up there with missing young, pretty white women; Hollywood liberals; ironic global warming anecdotes; and, of course, stealing especially awkward photos of people from Yahoo’s Web site. And that stupid flashing light from late 90s Web design.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Whoops, forgot to add: XXX WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!! MUST CREDIT tODD!!! *** BRITNEY!!! JACKO!!! XXX

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Whoops, forgot to add: XXX WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!! MUST CREDIT tODD!!! *** BRITNEY!!! JACKO!!! XXX

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Well, TOdd, Drudge isn’t always wrong. He quotes an e-mail from a “campaign staffer” and quotes by name Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams defending the circulation of the picture!

    “”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.

    In December, the campaign asked one of its volunteer county coordinators in Iowa to step down after the person forwarded an e-mail falsely stating that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

    Obama campaign manager David Plouffe quickly accused the Clinton campaign Monday of ‘shameful offensive fear-mongering’ for circulating the snap.

    Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams responds: “If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed.”‘

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Well, TOdd, Drudge isn’t always wrong. He quotes an e-mail from a “campaign staffer” and quotes by name Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams defending the circulation of the picture!

    “”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.

    In December, the campaign asked one of its volunteer county coordinators in Iowa to step down after the person forwarded an e-mail falsely stating that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

    Obama campaign manager David Plouffe quickly accused the Clinton campaign Monday of ‘shameful offensive fear-mongering’ for circulating the snap.

    Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams responds: “If Barack Obama’s campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed.”‘

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Veith (@9), I’ll make sure to send “Drudge isn’t always wrong” to his clipping service. :)

    Anyhow, I did read Drudge’s article. What I didn’t read was any sourcing that is verifiable regarding the apparent smear. Just a whole lot of gossipy innuendo.

    Read Drudge’s article again. It says “Clinton staffers circulated a photo”. Circulated to whom? The implication is that they did so to the media, shopping the story around. But Drudge doesn’t say that, though that may be what he wants you to think. Maybe the “stressed staffers” circulated it among themselves, musing on how unfair it is that the media hadn’t played up the photos: “Wouldn’t we be seeing this on the cover of every magazine if it were HRC?” But did the staffers actually send the email to Drudge, or any other media outlet, for that matter? His wording makes it appear not: “in an email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT”. If Hillary’s camp had targeted Drudge with this email, why would he use that language? Sounds more like an anonymous source sent it on to him, whether the email was circulated or unintentionally leaked. But, of course, if you already harbor ill will towards Hillary, you will see in Drudge’s words what you already wanted to see: that she is a desperate, calculating, power-mad woman bent on Obama’s destruction. And not, say, the frustrated musing of an inner circle, leaked to the outside. As for the one sourced quote from Hillary’s camp, I’d expect them to take a swipe at Obama, rather than the media.

    Maybe I’m deluded by my less-than-pathological reaction to Hillary, but there’s still Drudge’s history of peddling stories that don’t pan out, relying on completely incorrect (and anonymous) sources.

    Anyhow, I’m still waiting for all the people who decried the New York Times‘ anonymous sourcing in a previous entry to similarly decry Drudge’s sourcing here. Joe? Bike Bubba? Organshoes? Don S?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Veith (@9), I’ll make sure to send “Drudge isn’t always wrong” to his clipping service. :)

    Anyhow, I did read Drudge’s article. What I didn’t read was any sourcing that is verifiable regarding the apparent smear. Just a whole lot of gossipy innuendo.

    Read Drudge’s article again. It says “Clinton staffers circulated a photo”. Circulated to whom? The implication is that they did so to the media, shopping the story around. But Drudge doesn’t say that, though that may be what he wants you to think. Maybe the “stressed staffers” circulated it among themselves, musing on how unfair it is that the media hadn’t played up the photos: “Wouldn’t we be seeing this on the cover of every magazine if it were HRC?” But did the staffers actually send the email to Drudge, or any other media outlet, for that matter? His wording makes it appear not: “in an email obtained by the DRUDGE REPORT”. If Hillary’s camp had targeted Drudge with this email, why would he use that language? Sounds more like an anonymous source sent it on to him, whether the email was circulated or unintentionally leaked. But, of course, if you already harbor ill will towards Hillary, you will see in Drudge’s words what you already wanted to see: that she is a desperate, calculating, power-mad woman bent on Obama’s destruction. And not, say, the frustrated musing of an inner circle, leaked to the outside. As for the one sourced quote from Hillary’s camp, I’d expect them to take a swipe at Obama, rather than the media.

    Maybe I’m deluded by my less-than-pathological reaction to Hillary, but there’s still Drudge’s history of peddling stories that don’t pan out, relying on completely incorrect (and anonymous) sources.

    Anyhow, I’m still waiting for all the people who decried the New York Times‘ anonymous sourcing in a previous entry to similarly decry Drudge’s sourcing here. Joe? Bike Bubba? Organshoes? Don S?

  • organshoes

    It’s pathetic, isn’t it, what journalism and journalists have become?
    This is how we choose a president?

  • organshoes

    It’s pathetic, isn’t it, what journalism and journalists have become?
    This is how we choose a president?

  • WebMonk

    Right on tODD! I get annoyed at the rabid anti-Bush/Clinton/Obama/whoever mentality. Drudge is hardly a paragon of journalistic integrity – more along the lines of the NYT – and especially from the wording of the story it seems like they’re phrasing things “just right” to make the most of the story. Mountain out of a molehill.

  • WebMonk

    Right on tODD! I get annoyed at the rabid anti-Bush/Clinton/Obama/whoever mentality. Drudge is hardly a paragon of journalistic integrity – more along the lines of the NYT – and especially from the wording of the story it seems like they’re phrasing things “just right” to make the most of the story. Mountain out of a molehill.

  • Don S

    tODD, Clinton is pointedly not denying that someone from her campaign sent the photo, presumably to Drudge. She is only denying that she personally had knowledge of the photo or of it being circulated to the press.

    I’m not defending Drudge in general, or equating him to a journalist, but only saying that in this instance it is most likely that he got the photo directly from a Clinton staffer, given the pointed non-denials from the campaign.

    What is sad is that you are equating NYT’s journalistic standards to those of Drudge, and essentially trying to prove that he is no better than NYT. It would seem that even you can no longer defend NYT’s shabby journalistic ethics.

  • Don S

    tODD, Clinton is pointedly not denying that someone from her campaign sent the photo, presumably to Drudge. She is only denying that she personally had knowledge of the photo or of it being circulated to the press.

    I’m not defending Drudge in general, or equating him to a journalist, but only saying that in this instance it is most likely that he got the photo directly from a Clinton staffer, given the pointed non-denials from the campaign.

    What is sad is that you are equating NYT’s journalistic standards to those of Drudge, and essentially trying to prove that he is no better than NYT. It would seem that even you can no longer defend NYT’s shabby journalistic ethics.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@13), while it’s purely in the realm of speculation, let’s say that Clinton’s campaign isn’t issuing a clear denial because one staffer sent the photo to Drudge (or, as would seem more likely from Drudge’s phrasing, to a different conservative source, who gave it to Drudge). Even so, there’s clearly an attempt to take this from the action of a rogue staffer (as with the volunteer county coordinator in Iowa) and blame it on the whole campaign: “Clinton staffers circulated a photo”, presumably to lots of media. And from there, the implication is that Hillary herself is to blame, as Veith inferred: “she is trying to summon up some kind of weird racist reaction” and “Mrs. Clinton has … dropped all restraint in slamming Mr. Obama” (emphases mine). See how it works?

    And no, I’m not actually equating Drudge’s standards (must … not … use scarequotes) with those of the New York Times. The latter has had some huge blunders (though, unlike most of you, my list would start with Judith Miller and the reporting running up to the Iraq war), but from what I’ve read (and I’d guess I read Drudge more than y’all read the Times), Drudge is wrong far more often than the Gray Lady. And wrong in an egregious way. After all, the Times has an ombudsman, and prints corrections. If nothing else, they at least strive to appear accurate. Drudge? If you can find a correction he’s printed, please point me to it.

    And as for anonymous sourcing, it would seem that no one really cares about it, unless a perceived liberal paper uses it to attack a Republican.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Don S (@13), while it’s purely in the realm of speculation, let’s say that Clinton’s campaign isn’t issuing a clear denial because one staffer sent the photo to Drudge (or, as would seem more likely from Drudge’s phrasing, to a different conservative source, who gave it to Drudge). Even so, there’s clearly an attempt to take this from the action of a rogue staffer (as with the volunteer county coordinator in Iowa) and blame it on the whole campaign: “Clinton staffers circulated a photo”, presumably to lots of media. And from there, the implication is that Hillary herself is to blame, as Veith inferred: “she is trying to summon up some kind of weird racist reaction” and “Mrs. Clinton has … dropped all restraint in slamming Mr. Obama” (emphases mine). See how it works?

    And no, I’m not actually equating Drudge’s standards (must … not … use scarequotes) with those of the New York Times. The latter has had some huge blunders (though, unlike most of you, my list would start with Judith Miller and the reporting running up to the Iraq war), but from what I’ve read (and I’d guess I read Drudge more than y’all read the Times), Drudge is wrong far more often than the Gray Lady. And wrong in an egregious way. After all, the Times has an ombudsman, and prints corrections. If nothing else, they at least strive to appear accurate. Drudge? If you can find a correction he’s printed, please point me to it.

    And as for anonymous sourcing, it would seem that no one really cares about it, unless a perceived liberal paper uses it to attack a Republican.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Also Don S, here is Hillary from tonight’s debate. The question was “Matt Drudge on his Web site said it came from a source inside the Clinton campaign. Can you say unequivocally here tonight it did not?”

    She responded “Well, so far as I know, it did not. And I certainly know nothing about it, and have made clear that that’s not the kind of behavior that I condone or expect from the people working in my campaign. But we have no evidence where it came from.”

    That appears to contradict your assertion (@13) that she’s not denying it.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Also Don S, here is Hillary from tonight’s debate. The question was “Matt Drudge on his Web site said it came from a source inside the Clinton campaign. Can you say unequivocally here tonight it did not?”

    She responded “Well, so far as I know, it did not. And I certainly know nothing about it, and have made clear that that’s not the kind of behavior that I condone or expect from the people working in my campaign. But we have no evidence where it came from.”

    That appears to contradict your assertion (@13) that she’s not denying it.

  • organshoes

    I wonder what scale exists that determines who’s wrong more often, the New York Times or Matt Drudge?
    And how often does some publication have to be not just wrong in its facts but unreliable in its methods, before we can agree it’s no longer credible?

  • organshoes

    I wonder what scale exists that determines who’s wrong more often, the New York Times or Matt Drudge?
    And how often does some publication have to be not just wrong in its facts but unreliable in its methods, before we can agree it’s no longer credible?

  • WebMonk

    That’s a good question organshoes. Like tODD, I read Drudge a lot more than I read the NYT, and Drudge’s accuracy is atrocious. If the NYT were truly that bad, they’d be printing major corrections and retractions daily. In that sense, NYT is much more accurate than Drudge.

    On the other hand, the NYT has quite a few checks and balances specifically designed to take care of errors, while Drudge has virtually none, so any errors by the NYT are much more serious, in my mind, because they have put themselves forward as a reputable and reliable news source. There is also the issue of the NYT systemic slant. No one seriously denies it, and even though the facts may be accurate, there’s a definite slant. Drudge is sort of all over the place, but generally thought of as a “conservative” for a bizarre range of “conservative” values. How would that weigh into the balance of credibility?

    I don’t know, and I’m not sure it can be absolutely determined, but I’m not about to trust either of them blindly.

  • WebMonk

    That’s a good question organshoes. Like tODD, I read Drudge a lot more than I read the NYT, and Drudge’s accuracy is atrocious. If the NYT were truly that bad, they’d be printing major corrections and retractions daily. In that sense, NYT is much more accurate than Drudge.

    On the other hand, the NYT has quite a few checks and balances specifically designed to take care of errors, while Drudge has virtually none, so any errors by the NYT are much more serious, in my mind, because they have put themselves forward as a reputable and reliable news source. There is also the issue of the NYT systemic slant. No one seriously denies it, and even though the facts may be accurate, there’s a definite slant. Drudge is sort of all over the place, but generally thought of as a “conservative” for a bizarre range of “conservative” values. How would that weigh into the balance of credibility?

    I don’t know, and I’m not sure it can be absolutely determined, but I’m not about to trust either of them blindly.

  • organshoes

    There you go, WebMonk.
    My thought in all this Times vs McCain dustup has been that such poor sourcing and innuendo are precisely what blogs are denounced for. And by journalists.
    Too funny.
    Pot vs kettle.

  • organshoes

    There you go, WebMonk.
    My thought in all this Times vs McCain dustup has been that such poor sourcing and innuendo are precisely what blogs are denounced for. And by journalists.
    Too funny.
    Pot vs kettle.

  • Don S

    So, tODD @15, how is that different from what I stated earlier? The Clinton campaign denied that Hillary knew anything about it, but not that someone else in the campaign might have had something to do with it.

    The fact of the matter is, it’s no big deal. It’s just funny. This whole area of his faith and possible Muslim ties is one that Barack is going to have to deal with sooner or later, so he may as well face it now, and put it to rest in March, rather than October.

  • Don S

    So, tODD @15, how is that different from what I stated earlier? The Clinton campaign denied that Hillary knew anything about it, but not that someone else in the campaign might have had something to do with it.

    The fact of the matter is, it’s no big deal. It’s just funny. This whole area of his faith and possible Muslim ties is one that Barack is going to have to deal with sooner or later, so he may as well face it now, and put it to rest in March, rather than October.


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