Wow. I’m a bit surprised by the tenor of the attack, and by the attack at all. Both Hillary and Obama get into these mood swings where they attack, then make nice, then attack again. It all started when the race got close, and real, in December or so. But I have to say, this is particularly pointed from Obama.
“Democrats will win in November and build a majority in Congress not by nominating a candidate who will unite the other party against us, but by choosing one who can unite this country around a movement for change,” Obama said, speaking as rival John Edwards was pulling out of the race in New Orleans, leaving a Clinton-Obama fight for the Democratic nomination.
“It is time for new leadership that understands the way to win a debate with John McCain or any Republican who is nominated is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq or who agreed with him in voting to give George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran, who agrees with him in embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don’t like, who actually differed with him by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed,” Obama said….
“I know it is tempting — after another presidency by a man named George Bush — to simply turn back the clock, and to build a bridge back to the 20th century,” he said in Denver.
“… It’s not enough to say you’ll be ready from Day One — you have to be right from Day One,” he added in unmistakable criticisms of Clinton, who often claims she’s better prepared to govern, and her husband, who pledged during his own presidency to build a bridge to the 21st century.
So what gives? My take on this after the jump…
Sometimes campaigns go negative when they’re desperate and behind. Obama isn’t really behind, and has no real reason to be desperate – most commentators don’t think Super Tuesday will give us a definitive nominee either way.
It’s possible that the Obama folks are reacting to exit polls from South Carolina and Florida that showed more Dem voters thought Hillary was being too nasty than thought he was being too nasty. Though, it’s not clear that the appropriate lesson from the polls is to get nastier. But, Obama may have read this as an opening.
Also, this could be a reaction to Hillary campaigning in Florida the past few days – and that’s exactly what she did – in violation of the agreement that all the candidates accepted that no one would camapign in Florida (as a result of the DNC punishing Florida for moving up its primary in violation of DNC rules). What’s more, Hillary now wants all of those delegates reinstated, after she was one of the people who agreed with taking those delegates away, and even more importantly, since all the candidates agreed not to campaign in the state this is a non-contest that gives us no indication how Floridians would have really voted had there been a real campaign and a real election. Hillary changed her mind because she won. That’s pretty ballsy, and duplicitous, and this may be Obama’s retaliation.
And finally, it may also be further fall-out from whatever convinced Ted Kennedy to enter the race on behalf of Obama. Nobody knows what really happened behind closed doors, but again, perhaps Obama and company have finally decided to pull the gloves off. (Having said that, friends who watched the Nevada primaries said that the Obama folks already had the gloves off there.)