Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« 24 Hours on Line Out | No Major Resistance to '08 Lig... »

Monday, January 14, 2008

And Now, Some Nice Words

posted by on January 14 at 17:10 PM

Ever since the New Hampshire primary last week, the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been going at each other over racially charged statements, counter-statements, and insinuations (and also over whether or not those statements, counter-statements, and insinuations even deserve to be considered “racially-charged”).

Click the links above for the highlight reel, and then, assuming the below can be believed, say goodbye to this line of intra-party fighting. (But first, you really should give a listen to this.)

From an Obama press conference this afternoon:

“You have seen a tone on the Democrat[ic] side of the campaign that has been unfortunate. I want to stipulate a couple of things. I may disagree with Senator Clinton and Senator Edwards on how to get there, but we share the same goals. We all believe in civil rights. We all believe in equal rights. They are good people. They are patriots…

I don’t want the campaign at this stage to degenerate to so much tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, that we lose sight of why we are doing this.”

Obama said he wants to send “a strong signal to my own supporters that let’s try to focus on the work that needs to get done. If I hear my own supporters engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading or unfair, I will speak out forcefully against it….

Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically been on the right side of civil rights issues. They care about the African American community.… That is something I am convinced of. I want Americans to know that is my assessment.”

And shortly afterward came this statement from Hillary Clinton:

Over this past week, there has been a lot of discussion and back and forth - much of which I know does not reflect what is in our hearts.

And at this moment, I believe we must seek common ground.

Our party and our nation is bigger than this. Our party has been on the front line of every civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, workers’ rights movement, and other movements for justice in America.

We differ on a lot of things. And it is critical to have the right kind of discussion on where we stand. But when it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes - President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King - Senator Obama and I are on the same side.

And in that spirit, let’s come together, because I want more than anything else to ensure that our family stays together on the front lines of the struggle to expand rights for all Americans.

RSS icon Comments


I love the rhetoric. Obama says "Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton have historically been on the right side of civil rights issues" with the possible implication that they are not currently on the right side.

Hillary wants, "more than anything else to ensure that our family stays together," with the possible implication that she is the mother around whom the family should gather.

However, I think the important difference is that Obama clearly stated that he did not want his supporters to engage in any "misleading or unfair" talk. Clinton did not make such a claim.

Posted by Adam | January 14, 2008 5:30 PM

@1, I think that kind of over-semanticizing is what got us in this mess in the first place. Obama and Clinton are both right. This kind of racially charged trash talk is not good for the party. No matter who gets the nomination. It just serves as ammunition for the Republicans.

Posted by arduous | January 14, 2008 5:38 PM

Yay Hugs for everyone! :)

(sorry for the emoticon i made myself want to barf)

Posted by vooodooo84 | January 14, 2008 5:43 PM

Good move on both their parts.

Posted by poster Girl | January 14, 2008 5:55 PM

Does anyone have a better link to the audio of the Bill interview? It didn't work for me, it just gave me the site of "Black America Web" and I couldn't find a trace of it.

Posted by Phoebe | January 14, 2008 5:58 PM

@2 I guess I would counter that it is the lack of careful attention to the words being used that has gotten us into this mess.

Perhaps I stretched it a bit in reading their recent, concilatory statements. To think, though, that these two intelligent people with very bright staff aren't paying attention to such details would be denying them one of their most effective tools - the English language.

I do agree that it is very easy to trip over the edge and cry foul, and that recent comments on both sides have been blown out of proportion. Regardless, the politics have gotten a bit dirty of late.

Posted by Adam | January 14, 2008 6:00 PM

i wonder if this means that clinton will tell the teachers union to stop trying to close down the vegas caucus sites? hmmmm.

Posted by john | January 14, 2008 6:02 PM

@5: Scroll down, it's there. Look for: "Inside the story with Jacque Reid is on the phone with former President Bill Clinton."

Posted by Eli Sanders | January 14, 2008 6:07 PM

Wow. Simply Wow.

Hillary is finished. So many people who are staunch Dems have rallied against her, that she will never be able to pull the party together.

She should do what's best for the party and gracefully bow out.


1. She's not in it for the best interests of the Dem Party
2. She's not graceful
3. She's so self obsessed that she will continue on pretending to be oblivious.

Posted by Reality Check | January 14, 2008 6:13 PM

And you know she's finished how?

Posted by UnoriginalAndrew | January 14, 2008 6:17 PM

I have nothing nice to say.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 14, 2008 6:35 PM

Our party and our nation is bigger than this. Our party has been on the front line of every civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, workers’ rights movement, and other movements for justice in America.

We created DOMA to protect straight privilege from the faggots. We created DADT so we could control the scourge of homos in the military. We compromised on ENDA and Hate Crimes and we continue to do nothing to stop the tide of bigoted amendments against LGBT Americans.

Aren't we great?

Posted by patrick | January 14, 2008 6:38 PM

Hillary is far from finished. This whole racial subtext that has been injected into the campaign by the Clintons is an obvious attempt to label Obama as the angry black man-- to Al Sharpton him, if you will. The Clinton campaign would love to turn this into a racial battle, to reduce Obama to a black-rights crusader. It's a losing battle for Obama to fight-- he needs to focus on actual issues-- which he basically conceded with this statement. But don't think for a second the Clinton machine is going to back off. The best that can be said is that this level of pure sleaze might indicate a Clinton campaign in panic. A little preview of the level of divisive bullshit a second Clintons will bring to the table in a general election. Anyone supporting Hillary, you're actually supporting McCain.

Posted by Mr Me | January 14, 2008 6:40 PM

Holy mother of PEARL. I found the audio.
Here it is,

and yeah, you have to scroll down to the Jacque Reid link.

He's nuts. Lost it. She keeps trying to ask him about Johnson and he says keeps interrupting her and yelling... So far he's said only "why can't we just take him at his word?" - that is, Johnson's obvious lie, released by the Clinton campaign, that he was referring to Obama's community organizing. But he is out of control.


Posted by Phoebe | January 14, 2008 6:45 PM

Well, Hillary is the perfect person to manage to win the nomination while pissing off enough Democrats to prevent her from winning the White House. If she is the nominee I will vote for the republican.

Posted by Screw You All | January 14, 2008 6:49 PM

@13, I see the California NAACP endorsed - guess who? - Hillary today. So much for that theory.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | January 14, 2008 6:52 PM

@16-- You don't understand what I'm saying at all. This has nothing to do with the black vote. Obama has resisted playing the race card because it turns off white voters. So Clinton is playing it for him. Obama's strengths are his opposition to the war, his tone of reconciliation, his message of change. If this becomes a referendum on racial issues, Obama loses, no matter who the black establishment endorses, no matter who's right or wrong on this. That's not going to work in the general election because people are sick of it, and they won't have even the war to run on (lets hope it doesn't work in the primaries either). If McCain is the nominee, Clinton's one proclaimed strength, experience, evaporates and she'll be left with nothing but the spin and the slime. That's a sure loser come November.

Posted by Mr Me | January 14, 2008 7:16 PM

Ditto to 15. My parents feel the same way -- anyone (preferably Edwards, but if not him Obama) but Hillary. If it's Hillary, they'll be voting for whatever third party is around.

The way to fix all this stupid crap? Ranked voting methods ( Probably not in my lifetime, but I can hope (Although Mrs. Clinton would tell me I shouldn't hope).

Posted by sano | January 14, 2008 7:47 PM

Patrick, I don't know who your jabbing at here but I hope you know that Obama said he'd repeal all of DOMA as opposed to Clinton keeping article 2. There is a difference in those positions for us gays if it ultimately comes down to those two.

Posted by Jersey | January 14, 2008 8:00 PM

It's a HOOT, I just heard that Both Obama and Clinton believe in "equality". Except when it comes to Gay Americans.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | January 14, 2008 8:05 PM

I guess this means Hilary's bailing on the Swift Boat style 527 plan for now? Or does it just mean that the dirty politics won't be racially-focused?

Posted by also | January 14, 2008 8:26 PM

Wait, Barack! Don't eat those chocolates from Hillary! It's a trick!

Posted by banjoboy | January 14, 2008 9:01 PM

@11 -- Six words. Perfection in six words. How do you do it?

Mr. Poe, I don't know you, but I love you.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 14, 2008 9:23 PM

I'm convinced that Clinton will lose the election if she gets the nomination, not because of the slime, but because she's going to run the same campaign that Democratic presidential hopefuls have been running for decades. She won't try to run on a larger message that will inspire people who don't give a shit about the issues. Instead, she'll play to the center-right, while doing as little as possible to inspire or piss off her base.

Best case scenario: she barely ekes out a victory. Most likely scenario: she loses by a small margin, potentially helped by Republican election fraud.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 14, 2008 9:24 PM

OK, folks -- I finished finger-banging myself while thinking of Mr. Poe, and now I'm ready to share my earth-shattering explanation for this sudden thaw:

Both campaigns' internal polls show only murk. There's no controlling statistical authority (ahem...) that shows this course of play is beneficial for either party so: Control-Alt-Delete. Reboot. Back to square one. No risk whipping up the whole race thing (Come in, Perugia. Perugia, do you read?)

I'm sure some squabble or another will bubble up soon enough. Personally, I predict the next contretemps will be over whether to use/not use malt vinegar with fish and chips.

I know I almost cut a motherfucker over that same argument tonight.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 14, 2008 9:44 PM

Please Please Please can we disband the circular firing squad and stop doing the Republican's work for them? The Rove playbook is to make the target candidate's strength his weakness. Please, let's not do his work for him.

Posted by Andy Niable | January 14, 2008 9:57 PM

I will reiterate a theme from another post and say that if Obama supporters go apoplectic at this level pf elbow-fouls, wait until they see what the Republicans will do in the general election.

Yes, Clinton is competitive and pushy- this is what I want in the general election. Obama has given every indication thus far that when the Republicans swift boat him (my guess: white women) he will respond with Kerry-like statesmanship and dignity.

Posted by Big Sven | January 14, 2008 10:36 PM

Fucking Snore. Meanwhile, the entire country is on the verge of economic collapse & we're throwing $10/day at Sunni insurgents to stop killing us (that's the secret of the "surge").

John Edwards please save me from those 2.

Posted by max solomon | January 15, 2008 9:05 AM

1. Why is it wrong in the first place to openly talk about a candidate's drug usage?

Some say this is off limits, "private," he was a teenager, it's slimey politics, etc.

But the relevance is this: if doing drugs was okay for you, Ms./Mr. Presidential Candidate -- and doesn't disqualify you from running for president -- how can you not say your no. 1 priority will be to massively change the drug laws we have right now?

How can you say your past drug use is no bar to being President, but hundreds of thousands of other people who only did what you did, should continue to rot in jail?

Isn't the time to do what's right NOW?

(And BTW: the GOP is going to make past drug use/"no experience" isssues no. 1 and 2 in the general election. "We can't afford a youthful experiment in the White House." The ads write themselves. Why can't we talk now about how Obama will handle this? I think this is a time for him to say he will take a look at all drug laws and we all need to change, etc. Otherwise, he is just on the defense and has no way to turn this into a right and just advantage. How indeed does he justify keeping others in jail for exactly what he admits he did?)

2. What's wrong with saying "without LBJ the civil rights act wouldn't have been passed"?

If this is taken as "insensitive" or dissing MLK or "injecting race into the campaign" -- what a posturing load of crap. It's a true statement. It doesn't diminish anybody else. End of story.

Change means ending the cultural/politcal taboos.

Posted by unPC | January 15, 2008 9:35 AM

hey unpc, if you're still reading this;
Obama DID talk about changing unfair drug laws, I just saw this earlier today - unfortunately you have to wait until almost the end of this pretty amateurish video to get to the Obama interview, but it's there.

Also, you did know that H is against retroactivity for crack/powder dispartity sentencing reform, and Obama and Edwards are for it?

Posted by Phoebe | January 16, 2008 2:16 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).