Clinton camp goes on offense against Obama

In a memo, the Clinton campaign says Obama practices "lowdown politics."

By Alex Koppelman
Published March 21, 2008 3:44PM (EDT)

It may be Good Friday, a vacation day for many Americans, but Hillary Clinton's campaign is certainly not relaxing. Instead, it's in attack mode, pressing rival Barack Obama hard.

In a memo sent to reporters Friday, Clinton's camp calls Obama's candidacy "just words" and says his campaign is "desperate to change the subject." The memo -- which can be read in full below -- also accuses Obama of "actively disenfranchising millions" and "practicing lowdown politics."

Separately, in a conference call, Clinton advisors played down the importance of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of Obama, and accused the Obama camp of hypocrisy, since the Obama camp has said it believes superdelegates should reflect the will of the voters and Clinton won New Mexico. Clinton chief strategist Mark Penn said, "I think New Mexico is a state that, actually, we won. And if Senator Obama's campaign wanted to follow what they tell everyone, they certainly would be telling Governor Richardson to be casting his [superdelegate vote] to us. But I think that, you know, perhaps the time when he could have been most effective has long since passed ... I don't think that it is a significant endorsement in this environment."

The Obama camp isn't exactly resting, either. In its own conference call, Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, said of Clinton, "It will be next to impossible to win a general election if more than half of the people think that you are not trustworthy ... Sen. Clinton will have a narrow playing field, in terms of the states she can put in play, and she does have this issue around trustworthiness that will give her no margin for error ... It's hard to alleviate that if you continually engage in this misleading of voters."

As the Politico's Ben Smith points out, Penn had previously come under fire for similar comments about Obama.

The Clinton memo:

At this point, it's no secret that the Obama campaign is in political hot water given the news stories of the last few weeks and is desperate to change the subject.

The ground is shifting away from them and their response?

First, disenfranchise voters -- Prevent new votes in Florida and Michigan. Stop voting in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, Kentucky, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia and Indiana.

Second, peddle photos of President Clinton shaking hands with Reverend Wright less than 48 hours after calling for a high-minded conversation on race. Well, President Clinton took tens of thousands of photos during his eight years as president. Stop the presses.

Third, accuse our campaign of having something to do with Senator Obama's passport file being breached, a reckless charge that has zero merit.

Fourth, continue attacks on Senator Clinton's character in an effort to implement what the Chicago Tribune called a full assault on her ethics.

Fifth, stonewall the press: no tax returns, no state records, no answers about the inconsistencies in the Rezko story.

So it's not a pretty sight -- it's all part of a pattern of just words.

Senator Obama talks about voter participation while actively disenfranchising millions.

He calls for high minded debates while practicing lowdown politics.

He promises a different kind of campaign while attacking Hillary's character.

He promises transparency while hiding basic info and stonewalling the press.

It's no wonder that Americans are coming to see that for all of his lofty rhetoric, Senator Obama's candidacy is really just words.

It's no surprise that Americans are expressing serious doubts about his ability to answer the 3am call.

It's no wonder that top journalists are calling the Obama campaign desperate, saying that it's amateur hour in Chicago.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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