22 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses
As Bill Clinton waxes philosophical about having "more yesterdays than tomorrows," a top Clinton surrogate injected Barack Obama's past drug use into the campaign Wednesday. LINK
Billy Shaheen, the co-chair of Hillary Clinton's Granite State campaign, raised the issue of Obama's past admissions of drug use while discussing electability with the Washington Post. LINK
"'The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight . . . and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use,' said Shaheen," the husband of former New Hampshire governor Jeanne Shaheen, who is planning to run for Senate next year.
"Shaheen said Obama's candor on the subject would 'open the door' to further questions. 'It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. 'There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome.'"
Clinton spokesman Phil Singer attempted to distance the former first lady from Shaheen's comments, telling ABC News, "These comments were not authorized or condoned by the campaign in any way."
In "Dreams From My Father," Obama acknowledges that he used cocaine as a high school student but rejected heroin.
"Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though," wrote Obama.
Shaheen's decision to invoke the past drug use is only the latest effort to raise electability questions about Obama.
Earlier this week, what is known in the trade as "political sources opposed to Obama's presidential campaign" directed a 1996 Obama questionnaire to Politico.
The decade-old document revealed that in Obama's first run for state senate he was "flatly opposed to capital punishment, in support of a federal single-payer health plan, against any restrictions on abortion, and in support of state laws to ban the manufacture, sale, and even possession of handguns."
If any of this -- or health care, for that matter -- comes up at Thursday's debate, look for Obama to channel F.O.B. Robert Reich, Clinton's former labor secretary, in asking: "Why is HRC stooping so low?" LINK
Thursday's Democratic debate, which will be sponsored by the Des Moines Register, takes place at 2:00 pm ET. It will feature the top six Democrats (neither Dennis Kucinich nor Mike Gravel met the newspaper's criteria of having an Iowa office and paid Iowa staffer).
The 90-minute affair, which takes place in Johnston, Iowa, will be carried live on Iowa Public Television, FNC, CNN, and C-SPAN 3.
Giuliani scrutinized on disclosure
Only one Republican was asked a pointed question at Wednesday's Des Moines Register debate.
The candidate? Rudy Giuliani.
The topic? His handling of security expenses in a way that "obscured the public disclosure."
"On the issue of transparency," said Giuliani, "I can't think of a public figure that's had a more transparent life than I've had."
The former New York mayor made this comment despite the fact that a former Giuliani official complained earlier this month that he's "sick" over reports that his little-known agency was used to hide taxpayer money that funded police escorts during the former mayor's "rendezvous" in the Hamptons.