Bill Seems Flustered

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 8, 2008 11:15am

Last night at Dartmouth College, President Bill Clinton was asked about his wife’s senior strategist Mark Penn. Watch the VIDEO HERE.

"One of things that Senator Obama talks about a lot is judgment," asked a student. "And I’m curious to hear your thoughts on recent criticism of Mark Penn, who’s Hillary’s chief strategist, who’s been criticized for being somewhat out of touch with reality. For instance, he circulated a memo about Iowa saying ‘Where’s the bounce?’ And the next day there was a 12 point jump for Obama."

Responded the former president, "he was wrong about that. Because the bounce always occurs on the second day. not the first day. It always goes on the second day, not the first day."

Then Bubba decided to do some hootin’ and a hollerin’.

"But since you raised the judgment issue, let’s go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. ‘It doesn’t matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I’m the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.’"

(Note: I’m not really certain that that’s actually Obama’s argument. I’m fairly certain there’s a tad more to it than that.)

Continued Bill: "First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn’t co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way."

(Note: He’s still talking about Chuck Hagel? He’s still claiming that his wife didn’t think the US was headed to war when she voted to authorize use of force against Iraq?)

Continued Bill: "Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, ‘Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn’t know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you’re now running on off your website in 2004 and there’s no difference in your voting record and Hillary’s ever since?’ Give me a break.

"This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen…So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?"

(Note: Actually, as stupid as that Obama oppo was, and as much as it clearly contradicted the idea that he’s running a purely positive campaign, the Punjab line comes from this newspaper quote: "At the fundraiser hosted by Dr Rajwant Singh at his Potomac, Maryland, home, and which raised nearly $50,000 for her re-election campaign, Clinton began by joking that, ‘’I can certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily,’ after being introduced by Singh as the Senator not only from New York but also Punjab.")

Continued Bill: "Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn’t take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon.

"So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn’t his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn’t do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that’s in the media, doesn’t mean the facts aren’t out there.

"Otherwise I do not have any strong feelings about that subject."

Well, I’m glad he doesn’t have any strong feelings about that subject.

I feel bad, too, when my wife is unhappy. I want to make it better. Sometimes all she wants is a hug and for me to listen.

– jpt

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