Here's former (and quasi-current) Bush administration official Victoria "Torie" Clarke in high dander on last night's Paula Zahn Now on CNN*:
CLARKE: … You think about the kinds of issues this country is facing, this world is facing right now, that ought to be dealt with at a very serious, substantive level, it is not worth the taxpayers' time and money to have members of Congress messing around in that stuff [questions about the president's apparently unfulfilled National Guard duties]. It is irrelevant. It is not going to be the driving factor for anybody come November. And they ought to be focused on more important stuff.
CLARKE: Yes, I am. "Peripheral" is so strong a term to use for that. It is just not going to be or shouldn't be relevant. … And we don't have time for messing around with these sorts of things. Joe Klein himself has said this in the past. This is time for adults to stand up and say, These are the serious issues, these are the things we ought to be wrestling with, especially in a presidential election year, not this peripheral stuff, as he calls it.
CLARKE: … it's just — it's — again, it's — talk about what a waste of time. There's so many things we could be talking about today — the president's speech on what we need to do to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction around the world — and instead, Joe's bringing up anecdotes from four and eight years ago and twenty years ago…
CLARKE: … which is ludicrous! It is a waste of people's time. It's a waste of the time of the people who are watching this show.
CLARKE: If everyone…
CLARKE: Somebody has to say, Time to move on, time to focus on important issues. And just the fact that we have spent this much time talking about it right now, the people who are doing this, surrounding — around the John Kerry campaign — and I don't think it's an accident that John Kerry himself has started to distance himself from some of this. He realizes it's not working that well with some of the voters out there. But just the fact that we have spent this much time on it allows those who are doing it, people who do not have the best intentions of this country in mind, to say, yes, hey, we're succeeding. …
And then I wake up to more attack rumors from Matt Drudge. Kevin has the link to Drudge — I won't link to him because of ethical reasons (he's a bottom feeder) and aesthetic ones (when, oh when, is he going to hire someone to design his site?).
Yep, changing the tone. Focusing on important issues. Substance over sleaze.
* Kudos, for once, to Joe Klein for correcting Clarke repeatedly.