The Corner

So Not Buying It

In the 1990s, the Clinton’s mastered the art of having surrogates say things about their enemies that while claiming to be aloof from it. This was James Carville’s act for pretty much the entire second term. Sid Blumenthal was employed for similar purposes.

So when the Clinton team’s top man in New Hampshire attacks Barack Obama’s past drug use (couched in the “concern” that the GOP will make an issue of it if he wins the nomination) and then “disavows” the comments I find it hard to believe anyone is buying. For months we’ve been told how disciplined this campaign is and now that the polls aren’t going her way this happens by accident? Nah-ah.

As two new polls showed Hillary Rodham Clinton losing ground in New Hampshire, a top campaign aide yesterday blasted rival Sen. Barack Obama’s past drug use. 

The attack from Clinton’s New Hampshire co-chairman, William Shaheen, was the first time anyone on Clinton’s team has raised Obama’s marijuana and cocaine use – a history he’s written about in the past and talked about more recently on the campaign trail.

“The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight . . . and one of the things they’re certainly going to jump on is his drug use,” Shaheen told The Washington Post.

Obama’s admissions will “open the door” to ugly questions that would hurt the Illinois Democrat’s chancing of winning the White House, according to Shaheen, husband of former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

“It’ll be, ‘When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?’ ” Shaheen said. “There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It’s hard to overcome.”

The Clinton campaign said it did not condone Shaheen’s remarks and last night issued a statement from him in which he said, “I deeply regret the comments I made today” and said “they were not authorized by the campaign in any way.”

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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