Sen. Hillary Clinton has a new ad running in Iowa. It's called "Invisible." I watched it. It's OK. She talks about struggling Americans -- people needing healthcare, struggling single moms, even soldiers -- who feel they're "invisible" to President Bush, and promises they'll be visible when she's president. It was soft and unremarkable to me.
But not to White House spokeswoman Dana Perino, who bashed the ad as "outrageous" at a briefing today. (Mid-afternoon it was the top story in our AP wires.) "As to the merits of it, I think it's outrageous. This is a president who, first and foremost, has helped millions of seniors across the country have access to prescription drugs at a much lower cost. ... As to whether or not our troops are invisible to this president, I think that is absurd and that it is unconscionable that a member of Congress would say such a thing."
What is Perino thinking? Why is the White House giving Clinton such a boost in the news cycle? It reminds me of Deputy Defense Secretary Eric Edelman slamming Clinton's request for information on Pentagon troop-withdrawal planning last month as abetting "enemy propaganda that the United States will abandon its allies in Iraq." Of course the scuffle helped boost Clinton's antiwar bona fides with the Democratic base; she plastered the exchange all over her Web site.
Karl Rove slammed Clinton, too, in his exit interview with the Wall Street Journal, calling her "fatally flawed." Conspiracy theorists have to think Clinton is the Democratic candidate the White House favors. Personally, I think Perino is in over her head. But it's another gift to Clinton, either way.