Hillary Clinton on working class white southerners: “Screw ’em”




A blockbuster from Sam Stein at the Huffington Post (remember it’s the Huffington Post that broke Obama’s “bitter” story as well):

During the past week, Sen. Hillary Clinton has presented herself as a working class populist, the politician in touch with small town sentiments, compared to the elitism of her opponent, Sen. Barack Obama.

But a telling anecdote from her husband’s administration shows Hillary Clinton’s attitudes about the “lunch-bucket Democrats” are not exactly pristine.

In January 1995, as the Clintons were licking their wounds from the 1994 congressional elections, a debate emerged at a retreat at Camp David. Should the administration make overtures to working class white southerners who had all but forsaken the Democratic Party? The then-first lady took a less than inclusive approach.

“Screw ’em,” she told her husband. “You don’t owe them a thing, Bill. They’re doing nothing for you; you don’t have to do anything for them.”

The statement — which author Benjamin Barber witnessed and wrote about in his book, “The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House” — was prompted by another speaker raising the difficulties of reaching “Reagan Democrats.” It stands in stark contrast to the attitude the New York Democrat has recently taken on the campaign trail, in which she has presented herself as the one candidate who understands the working-class needs.

Stark contrast, indeed. It is important to remember that Hillary Clinton (and John McCain) are making an issue of Obama’s recent remarks. It is important to remember that Hillary Clinton is running almost exclusively negative ads in Pennsylvania about Obama’s remarks. I’m just saying, this wouldn’t be THE issue, if Clinton didn’t make it THE only issue for her campaign. Also, a Clinton spokesman now says the quote was “taken out of context” – thus admitting that the words at least are real.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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