Audio: Clinton Camp Testing Attacks on Obama

By Saira Anees

Apr 25, 2008 10:56am

On Wednesday, Obama-backing musician in Black Mountain, North Carolina, David LaMotte, got a phone call from a pollster for Sen. Hillary Clinton, Garin-Hart-Yang, in which negative messages against Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, were being tested.

The Garin in Garin-Hart-Yang, incidentally, is Geoff Garin, who has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post complaining that the Obama campaign is the one that’s negative, not Clinton.

Ahem.

"I’m going to read you a few criticisms opponents might make about Barack Obama," the pollster said. "For each one please tell me if they give you very major doubts, fairly major doubts, some doubts or no real doubts about supporting Barack Obama for president.

"At a time when we need leaders who are clear, strong and decisive, Obama has been inconsistent, saying he would remove all troops, but then indicating that he might not, and pledging to renegotiate NAFTA, but then sending signals that he would not actually do so as president.

‘He supported George W. Bush’s 2005 energy bill which paid six billion dollars in subsidies to the oil and gas industry, nine billion dollars in subsidies to the coal industry and twelve billion dollars in subsidies to the nuclear power industry. It was called ‘a piƱata of perks’ and ‘the best energy bill corporations could buy.’ Would that leave you with major doubts, some doubts or no real doubts?"

You can listen to some of the call, which LaMotte record and emailed to me, HERE.

Says LaMotte, in an email, "the questions, as you’ll hear, are unanswerable if you don’t accept the basic premises laid out in them, like the classic push poll example ‘Are you still beating your wife?’ You can’t answer that ‘yes or no.’ I don’t accept that Barack pledged to walk away from NAFTA OR that he ‘sent signals’ that he wouldn’t really do it as president, both of which are premises for the question. Like Hillary, he pledged to renegotiate, and to walk away if other parties refused. And having unpaid staff in a misrepresented casual conversation in Chicago over coffee with someone from the Canadian embassy I don’t accept as ‘sending signals.’ So how do I answer this question: ‘Would that leave you with major doubts, some doubts or no real doubts about Senator Obama’s candidacy?’ Well… if it were true, it might leave me with some doubts, but it’s not, and that’s not an option for an answer."

LaMotte adds that "the really sad part of this is that I was excited to be a part of a poll.  Unlike a lot of people that would have considered it a nuisance, I’ve been following the polls around the country closely, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to weigh in on one in my own state.  It was terribly disappointing to realize that I was just being manipulated.  It’s hard to see how these could generate any useful data either, given that most Obama supporters would simply hang up offended when the questions got so insulting.  That leaves you with data that is skewed pro-Clinton."

Incidentally, LaMotte would be happy to hear from you on his blog.

h/t dailykos.

- jpt

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