The Campaign Spot

What is Team Hillary Thinking?

Something that doesn’t quite make sense regarding the last back-and-forth between Hillary and Obama, regarding William Shaheen, co-chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s national and New Hampshire campaigns, raising Barack Obama’s past drug use. (Riehl says this is a sign Hillary’s toast.)

The team around Hillary Clinton is supposed to be among the best, the sharpest, the smartest in Democratic politics. Or so we’re told.
As Jonah notes, there was, indeed, a time when the Clintons could have a surrogate go out and make an attack on a Clinton rival, and then have her or her husband say, “no, no, I don’t stand by that, I don’t believe in the politics of personal destruction, I disavow it,” etc. Back then, the candidate seemed high-minded and above the fray, but the negative attack still got into the media’s bloodstream. But it’s a different era, everybody in the press knows how that game is played, and so when somebody comes out and says, “oh, she had nothing to do with this, her campaign had nothing to do with this issue being raised,” nobody believes her.
The thing is, Mark Penn, Patti Solis Doyle, Howard Wolfson, James Carville — these people have to know nobody’s going to believe that she had nothing to do with this. The Clintons don’t get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this stuff.
But I wonder if the Clintons themselves think that they still do. And we know who has the final say in those internal discussions. If Hillary’s convinced that the public will believe her denials, who around her can convince her otherwise?

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