Obama, McCain Move to Own Iraq -- From Different Directions


The Norman Hsu case continues to reverberate in Clinton land. With the memories it revives of the fund-raising scandals of her husband's years in the White House, it's "exactly the situation she feared," The New York Times' Patrick Healy writes. "As a result, Mrs. Clinton now finds herself linked to a convicted criminal who brought in tens of thousands of dollars from potentially tainted sources." But the campaign isn't eager to part with the $850,000 Hsu raised: "The campaign will try to get most of the donors to give the money back right after the refunds, said a senior Democratic strategist who advises Mrs. Clinton's campaign." Money is money, but why keep this storyline alive?

The Clinton campaign is struggling to explain how it missed signs that it shouldn't have been involved with Hsu, per The Washington Post's John Solomon, Matthew Mosk, and Anne Kornblut. "That such a basic mistake could slip through the famously disciplined Clinton campaign has raised eyebrows among strategists in both parties," they write. Terry McAuliffe is among the baffled: "I don't know how he became involved in the Clinton campaign. . . . I've never asked the man for a check."

And there could be more headaches ahead for Clinton: House Oversight Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is bowing to Republican demands to broaden a probe to include the Clinton White House's Office of Political Affairs, Politico's Mike Allen reports. "The broadening inquiry, which Republicans contend will take the committee down unpredictable avenues, could be a headache for the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who is trying to push a message of change amid unwanted reminders of her husband's administration, including a scandal centered on one of her biggest financial supporters."

The New York Sun's Eli Lake saw a possible preview of the 2012 election (yes, 2012) in Clinton facing down Petraeus. Clinton "came closer than any of her colleagues to calling the commander of the multinational forces in Iraq a liar," Lake writes. "Using blunter language than any other Democrat in the last two days, Mrs. Clinton told General Petraeus that his progress report on Iraq required 'a willing suspension of disbelief.' "

With all these senators running for president, the 2008 overtones were strong at yesterday's hearing, The Boston Globe's Sasha Issenberg and Marcella Bombardieri report. But the "four Democratic candidates tried to walk a fine line": "None of the Democratic candidates . . . committed themselves to any particular timetable for a troop withdrawal," they write. "And from the sidelines, former senator John Edwards of North Carolina continued to push his Democratic rivals to assert themselves forcefully in the chamber he left in 2005."

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