Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

Hilzoy, the excellent front-page writer at Obsidian Wings, recently wrote a piece called "Lies and Democracy." "Lies and Democracy" purports to be a piece about how folks are forced to become experts in order to deal with lying politicians, but the bulk of it is focused on the "lies" of Hillary and Bill Clinton.  

I don't think the Clintons are "liars." I do think they are "spinners." I also think that every other successful politician is a "spinner," and that most politicians do not stick to the truth so well as do the Clintons.  To take a stab at showing that, I want to take Hilzoy's piece, which is the very best and most detailed piece I have run across in either the blogosphere or the MSM, discuss the "lies" that Hilzoy writes about, and show that in each instance the same kind of statements, and worse, come from Obama and his camp.


I choose Obama for mostly obvious reasons.  First, if as I posit, all successful politicians take similar liberties with the truth, then it is meaningless in and of itself to show that any particular politician spins/lies, and the only thing that matters is whether politician X spins/lies more/worse than his/her opponent.  In other words, the spin of either Clinton and Obama is most usefully looked at as a comparison to the other, as opposed to as an absolute.

Second, Obama invites this comparison with his "new politics" rhetoric, and he has in fact made the very point this week that his "new politics" is above all this diviseness and misleading politics that the Clintons espouse.

Third, it simply has to be another major candidate, or else there's just not enough media scrutiny to google up.  Even here, I don't think the google playing field is quite fair, because it is to some extent a reflection of how deeply in Obama's bag the MSM has been throughout most of this campaign.  (That, by the way, is not a point I'm trying to prove here.  I hope you'll take it as a given, because it has been pretty obvious, but if you disagree with me then please just disagree and move on; my thesis doesn't depend on this point.)

Finally, I choose Hilzoy's piece because it is the most detailed and analytical description of Clinton "lies" that I have found in either the MSM or the blogosphere.  In 99% of what I have read, there seems to be a base underlying assumption that the Clintons are inveterate sleezeball liars who can and frequently do say anything that will serve as a useful club against their opponents, and that there is no need to sully the truth of this assumption by actually stating any fact going to show it, when instead all can compete for the prize of using the most extreme rhetoric to describe it.  Hilzoy, on the other hand, makes specific charges, backed by analysis and citations, and her piece is worthy of analysis and contrast.

In this analysis, I'm going to start with five assertions:

(1) All politicians spin.
(2) In the real world, if you try to spin your spouse, and s/he figures it out, you can't bag out of trouble by claiming what you said was a spin, not a lie.  The rules are different in politics.  To accuse your opponent of "lying" is a grave charge in politics, and in fact it is a charge that is almost never made in Democratic primary politics (despite the fact that all successful Democratic politicians spin).  In politics, spin is not a lie. That's just the way the game is played.
(3) In judging a politician's degree of guilt in regard to a particular spin/lie, context is important.  It is fairest to hold the politician to a stricter standard for prepared speeches, written materials, and paid campaign advertisements than for responses to questions and off-the-cuff remarks.  Politicians are human, and humans tend to make lots of mistakes in off-the-cuff remarks.
(4) Similarly, it is fairest to hold the politician to a stricter standard for things s/he said personally than for things that underlings said, and stricter for things that high campaign officials said than that junior campaign officials/unpaid helpers said.  A caveat: if your campaign said/did something that gets a lot of publicity, candidate silence can at least to some extent be fairly inferred as tacit approval.
(5) The Clintons never get cut any slack.  None.

I can't really prove any of these assertions, although this piece itself is to some extent an effort to support (1).  I think history provides very strong support for (2), but showing that history is not the point of this piece.  Disagree if you will, because I haven't done the work of proving (2), but if you disagree I think you're wrong.  (3) and (4) are unproveable, but I think they are generally held views.  If you disagree about them, feel free to chime in.  (5) is where this is all at.

Now the actual analysis:

(1) The Reagan Quote

This is an easy one, because Senator Obama himself has made more deceptive descriptions of the quote in question than did either Clinton.  (Please see Hilzoy's speech for Obama's original language and for the exact Bill and Hillary Clinton quotes.)

First, let me say something about an aspect of "spin," which is what the Clintons did to this quote.  One of the accepted ways to "spin" something is to draw inferences from what someone said, and then describe that quote by using your own inferences as opposed to the speaker's actual words.  It's a spin technique of hoary vintage.  The focus is on the words themselves, not what the original speaker intended the words to mean, and it's right-down-the-middle spin if the spinner's interpretation is something that can be fairly inferred from the original words.

And that is so of what the Clintons said about Obama's Reagan quotes, but less so of what Obama himself has said.

(1) Hillary said "he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years." If your opponent describes something in glowing tones, it's fair to infer that he likes it.  And since every politician who has ever run for office from caveman times on forward has said that he is the "candidate of ideas" who "challenges conventional wisdom," (Example: Barack Obama:  "I've been trying to challenge some conventional wisdom.  And the purveyors of conventional wisdom have gotten uncomfortable.")  I think it's fair to say that Obama was describing Republican ideas in glowing terms.  This is absolutely spin and not a lie.

Notice that Hillary said this in response to a debate question.  I actually believe she flubbed her wording a little bit, because this attack could've been worded in a way closer to Obama's actual quote while still getting the gist of her attack, e.g., "Senator Obama actually complimented the Republican's twisted way of thinking over the last 10-15 years when he said that the Republicans have been the `party of ideas' over that period."

(2) Bill Clinton was giving a speech when accused Obama of saying that "the Republicans have had all the good ideas," so he doesn't get the lee-way Hillary got.  But this is still fair spin.  Obama didn't say that the Republicans were "more of a party of ideas than the Democrats," he said they were "the party of ideas," and it is elementary-school English that his use of the definite pronoun implies that there is not another party of ideas, or in other words, that the Republicans had all the good ideas.  If you are going to start picking on politicians for word changes of this stripe, you've engaged a rather large task for yourself.

(3) Here's what Obama said in the debate Monday night:

What I said -- and I will provide you with a quote -- what I said was is that Ronald Reagan was a transformative political figure because he was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests to form a majority to push through their agenda, an agenda that I objected to.

Here, Hilzoy I think fell into the same confusion Obama was in Monday night, when he responded to Senator Clinton's words about "the party of ideas" quote by defending his "Reagan" quote.  Here's what Obama said about Reagan:

I don't want to present myself as some sort of singular figure.  I think part of what's different are the times.  I do think that for example the 1980s was different.  I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.  He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it.  I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn't much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating.  I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.

I don't see anything in that quote that supports the interpretation that Obama was saying that Reagan "was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests." Not even slightly.  Nor do I see anything in that quote that even slightly supports the idea that the Reagan agenda was "an agenda I objected to." If any among these three statements is a "lie," this is the one, although I sure wouldn't espouse a fellow Democrat jumping on this statement to call Obama a "liar," nor have the Clintons done so.

Note that, while Obama did say these words in a debate context, and thus gets considerable format-based leeway, he has unfortunately made similar, and other, misstatements on the same subject in set speeches.  For example, last Sunday, in South Carolina:

What I said was that Ronald Reagan, back in 1980, was able to tap into the discontent of the American people and he was able to get Democrats to vote Republican -- they were called Reagan Democrats. Remember that? So what I said was, we as Democrats right now should tap into the discontent of Republicans. I want some Obama Republicans!

Sorry, Senator.  That's not what you said.  Not even close.

(2) Iraq

I have to say, I don't quite understand Hilzoy's point here.  What is it that Bill Clinton said that is alleged to have been a lie?  He doesn't deny that Obama came out against the war in 2002--although he doesn't acknowledge it in the quotes she prints, he has done so elsewhere--and I think everything  he is saying is true, isn't it?  All I can figure is that Hilzoy seems to think Clinton is obliged to explain the context behind Obama's own words in a way that takes some of the edge off the words.  But that ain't politics; in politics, you say it, you own it, context be damned, at least unless the cows in the field know what the context was.

The gist of Clinton's comments, I think, were that Obama and Hillary have the same Iraq record in the Senate.  From ABC News, 5/17/07:

In fact, Obama's Senate voting record on Iraq is nearly identical to Clinton's. Over the two years Obama has been in the Senate, the only Iraq-related vote on which they differed was the confirmation earlier this year of General George Casey to be Chief of Staff of the Army, which Obama voted for and Clinton voted against.

(By the way, Obama advisor Susan Rice was on MSNBC this morning, falsely claiming that Obama's and Clinton's Iraq voting records "are quite, quite different."

[NOTE: these two cites are from "The Fact Hub" on Hillary Clinton's website.  I tried to find them elsewhere on the web, but I think that for straight quotations of news sources (as opposed to anything opinionated), "The Fact Hub" is reliable enough.]

So if Bill Clinton took Obama's remarks out of context, has Obama taken remarks by Bill or Hillary Clinton out of context?  Well, yes, and I'll give you a written example, from an editorial written by Senator Obama discussing Lieberman Kyle:

Above all, it must be done through tough and direct diplomacy with Iran, which I have supported, and which Sen. Clinton has called "naive and irresponsible."

This rather badly misrepresents Senator Clinton's statements at the CNN YouTube debate where she and Obama clashed on this subject (italicization added):  

Clinton, who on the campaign trail has blasted the Bush administration for not engaging Iran and Syria directly, responded to the question by promising "vigorous diplomacy," including using high level envoys.   But she said she would not meet with such leaders in her first year before knowing what their intentions would be. "We're not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro [of Cuba] and Hugo Chavez [of Venezuela] and, you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria until we know better what the way forward would be," Clinton said. "I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes." Both campaigns issued memorandums the next day highlighting talking points on the exchange and criticizing the other. That was followed by dueling interviews with Iowa's Quad-City Times. "I thought that was very irresponsible and frankly naive to say you would commit to meeting with Chavez and Castro or others within the first year," Clinton told the paper.  

(3) The Present Votes

Unlike the first two of Hilzoy's points, I think there actually is a there there on this one.  

Maybe.

But it is worthy of note, that not all of Illinois' NOW sisterhood feel the same way as those interviewed in the piece.  In fact, Illinois NOW has endorsed Clinton, and the organization's website has this to say:  

During Senator Obama's 2004 senate campaign, the Illinois NOW PAC did not recommend the endorsement of Obama for U.S. Senate because he refused to stand up for a woman's right to choose and repeatedly voted `present' on important legislation.

As a State Senator, Barack Obama voted `present' on seven abortion bills, including a ban on 'partial birth abortion,' two parental notification laws and three 'born alive' bills.  In each case, the right vote was clear, but Senator Obama chose political cover over standing and fighting for his convictions.

"When we needed someone to take a stand, Senator Obama took a pass," said [Illinois NOW Presidnet] Grabenhofer. "He wasn't there for us then and we don't expect him to be now."


It's also worthy of note that the Obama camp's rationale, that his "present" votes were part of a strategy, is not a fact of indubitable accuracy, as Hilzoy herself commendably and honestly notes in her piece:

The Tribune last year found few lawmakers remembered such a strategy and many of those who joined with Obama to vote present were, like him, in politically safe districts.

The strategy, as described by an Obama proponent Hilzoy links to, doesn't really make all that much sense to me:

At the time, Republicans were trying to force Democrats from conservative districts to register politically controversial no votes. Senator Obama initially resisted the strategy, as he wanted to vote against the anti-abortion measures, but decided to work with our strategy to help defeat these anti-choice bills. It is important to note that a present vote on a bad bill is essentially the same as a "no" vote, as the bill needs "yes" votes to pass. However, it is difficult for Republicans to use "present" votes in their campaign literature against Democrats from moderate and conservative districts.

OK, I understand why they would ask folks in swing districts to vote "present" to keep the Republicans from targeting their seats.  But Obama wasn't from a swing district.  Why would he need to vote present, as opposed to sending a clear signal by voting "no?" And if the answer is supposed to be that it would "provide cover" to lawmakers in swing districts, how so?  What on earth difference would it make to their campaigns how he voted?  If anything, it seems to me that they would be tarred by association with the black liberal who voted as they did.

You know, I'm not an Illinois lawmaker or women's right activist.  But there are clearly differing views on this from those who are.  If the Clinton campaign put together a mailer echoing language from the current President of Illinois NOW, which is pretty much what they did, did they have an obligation to canvass the Illinois legislature and women's rights movements to see whether there were opposing views?  Scarcely.  Time and money is short in campaigns; you go with what you've got and then defend it if it's attacked.

The fact that certain interest and advocacy groups have a different interpretation is a mighty thin basis for an accusation of "lying" when there is a believable basis for the statement(s) that constituted the so-called "lie.  So let's characterize this "lie" as buying into the beliefs of one group and publicizing them when there is in fact another group that believes differently.  As an example of that coming from the Obama camp, I will merely give you Obama's and his campaign's frequent assertions that the Clintons are big liars, including last week's South Carolina radio ad claiming that Hillary would "say anything" to get elected.  That's buying in the 90s right-wing framework of the Clintons, and ignoring an immense amount of evidence to the contrary.

(4) The Teachers' Union Lawsuits

Here, Hilzoy works the math!  And tells us that President Clinton's claim that strip workers' votes would be represented five-fold is false.
So what should I do?  I'll correct Hilzoy's math!

The at-large precincts elected 492 state delegates of the state's 5407 total, approximately 9.1% of the total delegates.  117,599 Democrats voted in the caucus total, but only about 2600 of them voted at the strip sites, about 2.2% of the total voters.

(By the way, where Hilzoy went wrong was in relying on the Los Vegas Sun piece that predicted 10,000 strip participants vice the actual 2600 who wound up voting there.)

So Clinton was wrong:  those voters didn't get 5X representation.  They only got a little over 4X representation (i.e., 9.1% of the delegates from 2.2% of the voters)!  Is this slightly-off prediction a "lie"?  I don't think so.    

I'll have to admit that I don't know of any slightly-off predictions by Obama.  So I'll just let this one ride without a counterpoint.

(5) Social Security

Hilzoy's #5 is about a Clinton mailer claiming that Obama's proposal to abolish or amend the cap on Social Security represents "a trillion dollar tax increase on America's hard working families." Here, I'm not really going to ride to Hillary's rescue.  The mailer is rank demagoguery that goes against ingrained Democratic ideals and verges on outright falsehood.  But I am playing an advocacy role here, so, having spasmodically interjected that bit of open-handedness, I will make a few points in favor of Clinton and the flyer.

(1) The most important point is that we have no idea from Hilzoy's piece, or from what else I have read about this flier on the internet, who exactly put this piece out.  Yes, it's from the Clinton campaign, but that covers a very wide range, and I don't really hold the candidate responsible for what local volunteers do (e.g., I don't hold Senator Obama responsible for the reprehensible "Democrat for a Day" fliers his campaign put out in Nevada and Florida).  But this ad has gotten a fair bit of publicity and Clinton has not so far as I know made any effort to disclaim it or walk back from it (as Obama has made no effort I'm aware of to disown the "Democrat for a Day" ads).  Think through those implications on your own.

(2) In assuming that Obama would only tax those earning $200,000 or more, Hilzoy ignored the part of this Obama quote that I am italicizing:

There might be some exemptions, but once people are making over $200,000 to $250,000, they can afford to pay a little more in payroll tax.

(3) I agree with Hilzoy that the attack would be more honest if "over the next ten years" were included, but OTOH that's a very common Washingtonian shorthand.  "Over the next ten years" is often excluded from tax cost statements, because that is the standard period over which such costs are spoken about among lawmakers.

So have there been any demagogic Obama campaign ads?  Ya, I think so.  Let's take one that got my dander up, the Spanish-language ad targeted to Spanish-speaking Nevadans, that said "Hillary Clinton does not respect our people. . . .  Hillary Clinton is shameless." That ad run by outside group UNITE HERE got immense publicity in the run-up to the Nevada caucuses, but the Obama camp made no effort whatsoever to denounce it or walk back from it.

As the Edwards campaign put it:

He loudly and repeatedly attacked independent ads by unions in Iowa as the product of special interests.  But when a different outside group starts running ads on his behalf in Nevada, there's not a peep from him or his campaign. It must be because he's burning up the phone lines calling the head of UNITE HERE personally to demand he pulls the ads down right away.

Conclusion

Conclusion is that this was a lot of work and I just don't have some literarily grand bang-up finish left in me.  But I think I've at least made a good start on my point that the slippery, slimy, odious, reptilian Clintons are no worse than any other politicians and that Saint Barack is no better than they, if not my real point that they are actually a bit cleaner than he is.

Thanks to Hilzoy for apparently being the only political writer on the planet who bothered to give me something meaty to tie into on the subject of the Clinton's so-called lies.  But boos to all the other political writers, who start with their conclusion and completely leave out the evidence that would prove it.

And to those of you still reading, if I can at least get you to start looking at the evidence instead of just always believing the worst about the Clintons, then I will have succeeded with this piece beyond my wildest imaginings.

Tags: clinton, dirty politics, lies, obama, Politics, Primaries (all tags)

Comments

13 Comments

Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

Damn, this is an excellent diary. Have you posted the contents on hilzoy's site?

With your permission, I'd like to email it to various news organizations.

Recommended, highly.

by OrangeFur 2008-01-27 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

You have my permission.  I posted it as a comment on Hilzoy's site and it's currently being held up there by the anti-spam filter.  :)

by Trickster 2008-01-27 01:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

I've sent it off to the ombudsman Deborah Howell at WaPo, public editor Clark Hoyt at the NYT, and Howard Kurtz at WaPo.

Please update us on how hilzoy responds, if she does.

Thanks again.

by OrangeFur 2008-01-27 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

I consider hilzoy to be THE best blogger in all of blogland.

She is a college professor and one of the greatest "explainers" you will ever encounter.  She is always coming up with vivid examples that bring the point exactly home.

Yet she has been totally unable to explain (or I have been unable to understand, which amounts to the same thing) the whole Obama thing to me.  Once you get past the initial point, it's like trying to grab a handful of air.  Even for hilzoy, one of the most rational people you could ever encounter, it still seems to end up as a faith-based initiative.

I'm going to keep on searching for an explanation I can understand.

Oh, and nice diary.

by Steve M 2008-01-27 01:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

I've often compared my reaction to Obama's campaign in ways similar to my reaction to some religions. I see that a lot of people are genuinely inspired and deep believers, but somehow it all just escapes me. They don't understand how I could not be a believer, and try as I might, I can't start believing either.

by OrangeFur 2008-01-27 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

Think of it as a left wing version of the Bushies. Remember how everything Bush does is great? He's the savior? He's honest? It's the same rhetoric coming from the Obama supporters. Turn off reason and logic and just have faith!! It's faith based politics!

by Ga6thDem 2008-01-27 02:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

Hi, and thanks. :) I'm about to reply to the post as a whole, but thought I'd stop here. I will not, of course, be able to give any kind of thorough explanation of why I support Obama in this comment. Still:

I think it's probably relevant that while I liked the 2004 speech, and was predisposed to favor candidates who were opposed to the Iraq War Resolution at the time over candidates who supported it, the way I actually came to support Obama was by noticing him popping up in all kinds of arcane policy areas that I follow. (I described this process, which I was in the middle of at the time, here.

Because I started really liking him that way -- by noticing all sorts of really good policy initiatives that he was working on -- I was absolutely baffled by the prevailing spin on him, which was (and to some extent is) that he's eloquent but substance-free. I mean, it was the substance that drew me to him, initially, and so that entire story line just baffled me.

Moreover, the stuff he was working on -- non-proliferation issues, ethics in government, avian flu, voting rights, the conflict in the Congo, etc. -- really didn't fit another storyline: that he was just adopting GOP talking points and triangulating. I mean: yes, he was working with Ricard Lugar on arms control, but he was doing really good stuff with Lugar. Ditto, of all people, Tom Coburn on ethics: best I can tell, Coburn disagrees with Obama on a whole host of issues, which neither of them has ever tried to gloss over, but is actually serious about ethics, and the stuff they got done -- e.g., the searchable database of recipients of government spending -- was really good.

Since I was already convinced (by running into legislation he had worked on) that Obama was getting a lot done (especially for a freshman Senator in the minority party), and that what he was doing was really good, I was more or less immune to the "he has no substance" story, and the "he is a crypto-conservative" story. (I mean, the guy has, on several occasions, turned down very lucrative jobs to do community organizing.) And I suspect this is important if you want to know where I'm coming from: I have literally never found those thoughts about Obama worth giving the time of day to, and the idea that he's silver-tongued and vacuous just makes me go: huh?

I was probably also more open than I would have been otherwise to his talk about change, since I had been following his work on ethics, voting rights, and lobbying reform, which seemed to me to provide a lot of good answers to the question, "ah, but what does all this talk of a new kind of politics really mean?" It also made me think: here is someone who is actually trying to change the incentives in politics: e.g., through the searchable database, to make it much easier for reporters, bloggers, whoever to find egregious examples of spending and shame the people who proposed them; through the provision of serious penalties for voting rights violations, etc.

I think that the policy stuff, plus his having been opposed to the war from the outset, would probably have tipped me in his direction in any case. But: I was in an airport one day, and when I am in airports and need a book, I tend to pick up books that might be relevant to stuff I might blog about. This time (a little over a year ago, I think), I picked up Dreams of my Father. It's a really, really good book, and since it was written well before Obama could possibly have had any realistic ambitions of being President or anything, it's not a campaign book.

And the thing is: he's a really serious writer, in a pretty serious sense that involves, among other things, having a voice that is completely his own. This is a genuine and serious gift, it cannot, imho, be faked, and (in the form it took in Obama's book) it is absolutely bound up with being a very smart and thoughtful and judicious person.

I have never been particularly tempted by the view that Obama is a saint who will ride in on a white horse and magically transform everything. I do think he has a pretty rare political talent, and that he will at least try to use it for a lot of goals I believe in. But I do have to watch myself lest I be tempted by the idea of having, in this sense, a genuine writer in the White House: someone capable of that kind of clarity and originality. That is, imho, the thing I have to be careful not to overrate.

Since then, I've followed his campaign and his career. I haven't liked all of it -- I wish he had been more of a leader on civil liberties, for instance. But I think he has, on the whole, run a strikingly decent campaign, and one that has never tempted me to rethink my support of him.

But it was the policy that initially drew me.

by hilzoy 2008-01-27 04:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

Point by point.

1) You don't rebut the lie. You have to take it to a high level abstraction to make it defensible. And the justification about it being a debate answer doesn't fly because Bill Clinton repeated the lie a number of times after the debate. Obama didn't say he liked Republican ideas, he said that Reagan changed the whole frame of the debate. That isn't even a remotely controversial statement. And in fact, Bill Clinton said so during his 1992 campaign.

This wasn't spin. Both Clintons attributed to Obama statements which he did not say, and which were not substantially similar in meaning to what he did say.

That is lying.

2) As much as you say you don't understand hilzoy's point, I don't understand yours. For the year leading up to and the year after the beginning of the Iraq war, Obama and Clinton were very vocally on opposite sides. It is rather surprising to see you arguing that Obama should have been voting against supporting the troops with equipment and funds after the war started since the Democratic line (including Clinton's more recent position) is that you have to fund them even if you oppose the war.

But Clinton didn't oppose the war. Obama did. Clinton trying to reduce it to the post-war authorizations is completely mischaracterizing the issue in very substantial terms.

This is the classic case where your thesis that "In politics, spin is not a lie." is wrong. Hilzoy's thesis that the Clinton's lie in such a way that you have to be a political junkie to catch them (and so boring doing so) is much more reflective of these facts.

3) Your analysis here is rather thin. You are basing your quote on the already-endorsed-Clinton Political Action Committees but you seem to ignore the cited cases of NOW administrators who flipped to Obama when they saw how mendaciously the information was twisted.

And the basic Clinton charge is rather funny in light of her Iraq vote. She would be in a much better position if she had stuck to present in Iraq.

4) Ah, so he just exaggerated, he didn't lie. Oh and the delegates everywhere are determined by the size of the districts, so he was misleading insofar as he was suggesting that the districts in the lawsuit were operating significantly differently in that respect from the rest of the country.

5) Here you really have trouble.

The Social Security statement was a lie. And unlike the "Democrat for a Day" flier you cite on the Obama side (which he did in fact distance himself from), Clinton has not distanced herself from it. (Also the Democrat for a Day was factually true, so you have to include it on some other campaign tactics concept).

Your subpart (2) is losing me. The sentence is clearly talking about people making more than $200,000 per year and the exemptions that might apply to them. How does that help your case about middle class Americans?

The fact that you have to compare in-house Clinton ads with outside pro-Obama ads says good things about the Obama campaign. And as far as demagogic ads goes, you are proving hilzoys point there. Clinton makes false factual claims which are likely to be detected only by political junkies. The pro-Obama ad you cite makes completely subjective opinion statements that you personally disagree with.

Those are not similar tactics at all. Analyzing similar tactics would be impressionistically comparing Clinton's attack on the "fairy tale" to the "Hillary does not respect our people". Those are in the realm of legitimate 'spin'. Making false factual claims that are material to concepts at issue in the campaign is not.

The fact that you have to compare Obama supporter's opinion statements to direct Clinton campaign false factual statements is telling about the difference between the two campaigns.

"But I think I've at least made a good start on my point that the slippery, slimy, odious, reptilian Clintons are no worse than any other politicians and that Saint Barack is no better than they, if not my real point that they are actually a bit cleaner than he is."

I don't think you've made that point very well at all. And certainly not that Clinton is cleaner. You didn't come up with any Obama example which is comparable to the 5 Hilzoy came up with.

by Sebastian H 2008-01-27 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

1) You don't rebut the lie. You have to take it to a high level abstraction to make it defensible.

I don't know what this means, but "spin" is kind of a complex rhetorical subject.  You can't describe it with "see Spot run" type sentences.  But to deny that "spin" is omnipresent in national American politics is not, I don't think, a viable position.

I'm trying to differentiate spin from lies and say which is which.

And the justification about it being a debate answer doesn't fly because Bill Clinton repeated the lie a number of times after the debate.

(1) It was Hillary's debate answer, not Bill's.
(2) Cites?  I'm unaware of the facts of which you speak.
(3) This is a minor point, anyway, and not the main thrust of the section.

Obama didn't say he liked Republican ideas, he said that Reagan changed the whole frame of the debate. That isn't even a remotely controversial statement. And in fact, Bill Clinton said so during his 1992 campaign.

Yes, but he implied that he liked them, as I pointed out at some length and you ignore.  Saying that people said things that they implied is not an altogether dishonest rhetorical strategy, and it is, as I have noted, a very standard political-spin strategy.

This wasn't spin. Both Clintons attributed to Obama statements which he did not say, and which were not substantially similar in meaning to what he did say.  That is lying.

Sez you, without explaining why.  I explained why they are similar, and I'll stand by my explanations.

OTOH, you haven't mentioned my point that what Obama later said about his words really wasn't substantially similar to what he had said.  Not only that, but his explanation changed as time went along.  If somebody actually lied here, . . .

2) As much as you say you don't understand hilzoy's point, I don't understand yours. For the year leading up to and the year after the beginning of the Iraq war, Obama and Clinton were very vocally on opposite sides.

(1) You're right about the year leading upto, but I don't know of any reason to believe you're right about "the year after the beginning" of the war.  After all, it's true, isn't it, as the Clintons claim and hasn't been denied, that Obama removed the anti-war speech from his website in 2003?
(2) Neither Clinton has ever denied that Obama was against the war in 2002.  In fact, they have both praised him for it, as he deserves.

It is rather surprising to see you arguing that Obama should have been voting against supporting the troops with equipment and funds after the war started since the Democratic line (including Clinton's more recent position) is that you have to fund them even if you oppose the war.

Must be real surprising, since I didn't argue that at all.  All I'm saying is that they voted the same when they were in the Senate.  Nothing 'bout right or wrong.

But Clinton didn't oppose the war. Obama did. Clinton trying to reduce it to the post-war authorizations is completely mischaracterizing the issue in very substantial terms.

That's a fair argument that you and Senator Obama can make.  It still doesn't make anything that the clintons said a lie.

This is the classic case where your thesis that "In politics, spin is not a lie." is wrong. Hilzoy's thesis that the Clinton's lie in such a way that you have to be a political junkie to catch them (and so boring doing so) is much more reflective of these facts.

If every politician who quotes facts selectively is a liar, then every politician is a liar.  Including Saint Barack.

Again, you're not rising to defend Obama's egregious mischaracterization of what Clinton said about diplomacy with Iran in the YouTube debate.  His statement that Clinton called direct diplomacy with Iran "naive and irresponsible" is outright false.  Clinton has consistently supported direct diplomacy with Iran, but called Obama's pre-promise of non-conditioned first-year-in-office diplomacy "naive and irresponsible".  (By the way, you haven't heard Obama repeating that recommendation much lately, have you?)

3) Your analysis here is rather thin.

Thicker than yours. . . .

You are basing your quote on the already-endorsed-Clinton Political Action Committees but you seem to ignore the cited cases of NOW administrators who flipped to Obama when they saw how mendaciously the information was twisted.

Now you're spinning on me, Sebastian.  I didn't ignore flip-diddly.  My thesis, which I demonstrated at some length, is that there are two sides to the argument, both in the Illinois legislature and among Illinois womens' right activisits, and that Clinton had solid support to rely on for the mailer in question.

And the basic Clinton charge is rather funny in light of her Iraq vote. She would be in a much better position if she had stuck to present in Iraq.

Well, yeah, Clinton blew it on that vote, but that's not what we're talking about here.

4) Ah, so he just exaggerated, he didn't lie.

So you think rounding off is a "lie," eh?

Oh and the delegates everywhere are determined by the size of the districts, so he was misleading insofar as he was suggesting that the districts in the lawsuit were operating significantly differently in that respect from the rest of the country.

Oh yeah?  OH YEAH?  You're saying it's not significant if your vote counts for over four votes while my vote counts for the regular one?

Obviously, the point of what I was saying is that Clinton was RIGHT ON about the fact that the strip voters were going to be badly over-represented proportionately, even if he was off by a fraction in the number he quoted.

5) Here you really have trouble.

Ummm, I said up-front I thought the ad was awful demagoguery, so I don't think you can impute this all to me.  It wasn't as bad as the nasty "our people" ad in Nevada, though.

The Social Security statement was a lie.

Not as sure about that.  Not as sure where the income cap will lie.  Not as sure about the $1 trillion total.

And unlike the "Democrat for a Day" flier you cite on the Obama side (which he did in fact distance himself from), Clinton has not distanced herself from it.

I wish she would.

(Also the Democrat for a Day was factually true, so you have to include it on some other campaign tactics concept).

True, but it was heinous nonetheless, so I don't mind attacking it whenever I get a chance.  If you'll notice, it was just a throw-in to my argument, not part of the structure.

Your subpart (2) is losing me. The sentence is clearly talking about people making more than $200,000 per year and the exemptions that might apply to them. How does that help your case about middle class Americans?

No, it's really not that clear.  You may be right, and you may be wrong.  Do you have any other cite about what Obama's position is on exemptions in regard to cap-lifting?

The fact that you have to compare in-house Clinton ads with outside pro-Obama ads says good things about the Obama campaign.

Not really.  Hillary hasn't put out anything nearly as heinous as Obama's "Hillary will say anything" radio ad widely played in South Carolina and clearly coming from the very tope of the campaign.

And as far as demagogic ads goes, you are proving hilzoys point there. Clinton makes false factual claims which are likely to be detected only by political junkies. The pro-Obama ad you cite makes completely subjective opinion statements that you personally disagree with.

Those are not similar tactics at all. Analyzing similar tactics would be impressionistically comparing Clinton's attack on the "fairy tale" to the "Hillary does not respect our people". Those are in the realm of legitimate 'spin'. Making false factual claims that are material to concepts at issue in the campaign is not.

The fact that you have to compare Obama supporter's opinion statements to direct Clinton campaign false factual statements is telling about the difference between the two campaigns.

OK, stick in the "Hillary will say anything" ad in its place, then.

"But I think I've at least made a good start on my point that the slippery, slimy, odious, reptilian Clintons are no worse than any other politicians and that Saint Barack is no better than they, if not my real point that they are actually a bit cleaner than he is."

I don't think you've made that point very well at all. And certainly not that Clinton is cleaner. You didn't come up with any Obama example which is comparable to the 5 Hilzoy came up with.

Que?  I have a counter-example to each point, except for point 4 which, I think, is based on a newspaper's math error and therefore doesn't require refutation.  If you ask me, the counter-examples are a lot worse than the original examples.

by Trickster 2008-01-27 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

"Oh yeah? OH YEAH? You're saying it's not significant if your vote counts for over four votes while my vote counts for the regular one?"

You need to look into the caucus process a bit more before you go this route. Larger population districts get more delegates, that is how it works. That is not a feature unique to the Nevada caucus.

   1) You don't rebut the lie. You have to take it to a high level abstraction to make it defensible.

   I don't know what this means, but "spin" is kind of a complex rhetorical subject. You can't describe it with "see Spot run" type sentences. But to deny that "spin" is omnipresent in national American politics is not, I don't think, a viable position.

   I'm trying to differentiate spin from lies and say which is which.

You've completely lost me here. You apparently have spun the idea of 'spin' to include lies. You're free to do so, but we aren't required to agree with you.

First, you are abstracting "The facts are that he has said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can give you the exact quote." to "implied" which Clinton doesn't do. Second you haven't provided any example quote of "really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years" which DOES NOT INCLUDE THE REAGAN YEARS. She transformed a quote that said neutral/warmish things about Reagan into Obama really loving Reagan AND Obama supporting the CURRENT Republican ideas.

   And the justification about it being a debate answer doesn't fly because Bill Clinton repeated the lie a number of times after the debate.

   (1) It was Hillary's debate answer, not Bill's.
    (2) Cites? I'm unaware of the facts of which you speak.
    (3) This is a minor point, anyway, and not the main thrust of the section.

I'm beginning to think that you aren't taking this seriously.

Hillary's answer doesn't say what you say it does.

Bill's answer is linked to in hilzoy's original post. It says "Bill Clinton" and has both a quote and a hyperlink. Furthermore there are two additional non-debate settings where the Clinton campaign used the lie. Both are also linked so I'm surprised that you are 'unaware' of those facts, as this post purports to be a response to that very post.  

In the first of those links we find that before the debate Hillary Clinton said "I have to say, you know, my leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last ten to fifteen years. That's not the way I remember the last ten to fifteen years."

This suggests that your theory on wording in the debate is wrong. She rehearsed it.

I don't see how you can call the debate wording issue 'minor'. It is what lets you go to a level of abstraction that you think can get her off the hook.

2) "Must be real surprising, since I didn't argue that at all. All I'm saying is that they voted the same when they were in the Senate. Nothing 'bout right or wrong."

If you think you can nail Obama on loving Reagan with the quotes you have, I'm rather surprised you aren't willing to notice what Clinton is 'implying' with this 'fact'. You need to pick one level of abstraction for both candidates.

You haven't added anything on (3). The fact that two sides say something different doesn't mean an untruth has 'solid support'. The strategy of present voting came from Planned Parenthood. Hillary states (she doesn't even 'imply') that the present votes call into question Obama's commitment to the pro-choice cause. When you are following Planned Parenthood's strategy you are almost by definition following a commitment to the pro-choice cause.

And I say that as a pro-lifer who wishes Obama really weren't committed to the pro-choice cause.

I already hit 4. If you don't like the caucus procedure, fine, attack the whole procedure. Pretending that the Nevada caucus was different was exactly the kind of lie that hilzoy is talking about--one that only a political junkie will detect. This is illustrated by the fact that you are still fooled even after it has been pointed out. /p

5. "No, it's really not that clear. You may be right, and you may be wrong. Do you have any other cite about what Obama's position is on exemptions in regard to cap-lifting?"

It is clear from the quote YOU provide. Asserting that it isn't clear isn't helping your case, but I'll just leave it to the other readers to judge rather than getting into a "Yes it is, No it isn't" war.

"Hillary hasn't put out anything nearly as heinous as Obama's "Hillary will say anything" radio ad widely played in South Carolina and clearly coming from the very tope of the campaign."

That is an interesting opinion. If you would like to analyze the ad and share why you think it is so 'heinous' I would be happy to engage on the topic. As it stands it looks more like you just don't want to engage my point about "The fact that you have to compare Obama supporter's opinion statements to direct Clinton campaign false factual statements is telling about the difference between the two campaigns."

by Sebastian H 2008-01-27 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama, the Clintons, and "Lies"

Hi, and thanks. :)

I want to respond to this with the detail it deserves. But first, a couple of points. First, an easy one: in my post, I restricted myself to things said by Bill or Hillary Clinton, and official campaign stuff. I did this because I do not think it's fair to hold anyone running for office responsible for every ludicrous thing that any of his or her supporters say. With campaign workers, at least you can fire them, but with mere supporters, it's often hard to see how much control a candidate actually has. So I stuck to Bill and Hillary Clinton themselves: Hillary Clinton for obvious reasons, and Bill since he was serving as her attack dog at the time, and would not (I thought) do things without her agreement.

Second, I think it's worth distinguishing what you might call "mere spin" from lies. Mere spin, according to me, is presenting stuff in a particular light, one designed to favor your own ends, without misrepresenting it. Lies, on the other hand involve misrepresentation and deception. I agree that all campaigns spin, and I have no real problem with that. On the other hand, I'm not at all OK with lying, for the reasons I set forth in my piece. And I think it's crucial to distinguish the two.

Anyways, on to your points:

(1) Reagan. Here I think there's just a clear difference between saying (a) the Republicans had ideas, and (b) saying that they had good ideas, that you liked their ideas, or for that matter anything positive about the ideas at all. I just don't see that that's there in the quote at all.

Saying that they were the "party of ideas" does imply a somewhat complimentary thing about them: that they had more intellectual energy (of the sort that produces ideas, rather than, say, policy proposals). Likewise, there's something complimentary about saying about a kid who's busily smashing things up: well, she sure does have a lot of energy. Energy: good. Uses energy is being put to: not commented on, if all you say is, "she sure has a lot of energy".

For this reason, I thought that the idea that the ideas were good ideas was a pure Clinton invention. That's why the quotes I cited as lies all made that point. It's just not there in the original, and it's the very point Clinton relied on.

(2) I should have been clearer about what I took to be lies. In the first quote I mentioned, it was this: "there was substantially no difference in her record and his on Iraq". Note that he doesn't say "voting record"; just "record". I don't think differences get much more substantial than supporting vs. not supporting the Iraq War Resolution. And if you look at the context of Bill Clinton's remark, there's nothing in it that suggests that "record" means "record after Obama came to the Senate", or "voting record", or anything.

The second (second quote) is that in 2004, he said anything that called into question his opposition to the war; specifically, that his quote from the NYT article shows this. The Clintons kept saying: oh, but by 2004 you had apparently changed your mind and didn't know how you would have voted on the war. I think this is just a flat misrepresentation of the quote in question.

(3) In the quotes I cited, Clinton claimed that Obama's "present" votes showed that he was "unwilling to take a stand on choice" (mailer), that he "ducked when choice was at stake" (email), etc. Best I can tell, there seems to have been a split on tactics between IL NOW and Planned Parenthood. But to my mind, that's not the point. If I vote a particular way because Planned Parenthood, or IL NOW or NARAL or any other absolutely unequivocally pro-choice group, comes up with a strategy and my voting that way is part of it - especially if I have to be talked into it because I want to vote no, and double especially if the strategy is not on its face ludicrous or anything -- then it is just plain wrong to say of me that I vote as I do because I am unwilling to stand up for choice. I mean, it's just a lie. If I did such a thing, then obviously I would be working for choice, and the fact that other groups thought that different tactics were better would not change that.

The only reason I hedged on whether those quotes were lies was that I thought someone might argue that the Clintons had not said that, but merely implied or suggested it.

(4) Clinton made his claim before it was known how many voters would turn up at which sites. If he had accurate inside information about turnout levels across the state, I retract my claim that he lied. If not, he would have had to make his claims based on predictions, as I did. And in that case, he lied.

(5) I will try to find the cite later -- getting tired :) -- but I think similar mailings went out elsewhere, which would argue against the flyer being a freelance NV volunteer. If it wasn't done by the central campaign though, I retract this one.

That said: the mailer describes Obama as having "a plan with a trillion dollar tax increase on America's hard working families." There is no plan. The suggestions about what Obama might consider normally involve taxing income above $200-250,000; but the tax increase is only a trillion dollars if: (a) you count it over 10 years, and (b) all income is taxed, not just income below the present cutoff or above $200-250,000. Under the circumstances, I think saying that Obama has "a plan with a trillion dollar tax increase on America's hard working families" is a lie.

Anyways, that's what I think. I look forward to your rebuttal. :)

by hilzoy 2008-01-27 05:27PM | 0 recs
Thanks for responding

I'll get back to you by tomorrow night at the latest, and cross-post to ObWi.

by Trickster 2008-01-27 06:22PM | 0 recs
Response

First of off, thanks again for replying, and I am a fan of your writing.  Even when I don't agree with you, you write judiciously and with wit.

But fan or not, and despite the fact that my piece was written in response to your own writing, you may not be part of my audience.  I say this partially because you spent a fairly minimal amount of space on the first several hundred words of my diary, which I had intended to set the parameters of the discussion, but to a greater extent because you didn't address the bad acts of which I accused Obama and his campaign.  

Listen.  I'm not here to argue that the Clintons are paragons of perfect honesty.  They aren't, so if we're only going to argue that point, well I'm just really not that interested.  My argument is that they are as honest as other politicians, and more honest than most, and my specific analytic framework is to compare their honesty, bounded by your piece, to Obama's honesty, bounded by a search for examples of the particular types of dishonesty you accuse the Clintons of.

So unless you want to truly engage my argument by comparing Clinton dishonesty to Obama dishonesty--or to the dishonesty of some other politician or politicians who are relevant for whatever reason--well, I still thank you for stopping by, but we don't have much to talk about.  For now, though, let's assume we do have things to talk about.

To start that talk, let me say that even though it's important to my original thesis, we could get badly bogged down in trying to define "spin" vs a "lie," and for purposes of comparing the general levels of dishonesty of Obama vs Clintons, I don't think that conversation is important.  For comparative purposes, we can just forget about spin and whether it exists and talk about levels of dishonesty.

Before getting into the comparison itself, though, let me make a basic point about calling something "spin" versus calling it a "lie," and that point is that, while all politicians are dishonest to some extent, accusations that your opponent "lies" are strong accusations in political terms and accusations that are not frequently made, even in general election contests.  In primary elections, such accusations are only extremely rarely made by Democrats about other Democrats, and I would suggest that you need to cross a high hurdle of dishonesty before such an accusation becomes justified in a Democratic primary.  

The reasoning there is pretty simple.  If you get to accuse your opponent of being a liar based on any dishonesty, then everybody is going to be accusing everybody else of being liars and the Republican candidate's fall commercials are going to consist of tapes of other Democrats calling the nominee a liar.  That's the highway to perpetual defeat.

To the comparison:

(1) Personally, when I first read and saw what Obama had said about Reagan, my jaw dropped. I really don't want to hear about "the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s" leading to unaccountable government and how Reagan came in and replaced all that with dynamic, optimistic entrepreneurialism. You can parse that paragraph out for a million years and you will never convince me that it isn't criticizing things I love in favor of putting a positive gloss on Reagan.

Obama didn't just say that Reagan was a transformational figure. Heck, Reagan obviously was a transformational figure, and yes, he was a transformational figure in a way Clinton wasn't. But if you want to make that statement in a Democratic primary, you need to do it in a way that brings in a bit of the feeling that most Democrats have for Reagan. Not only did Obama fail to do that, but he actually dressed up the statements in a way that made it sound as if Reagan was coming in to rescue us from the false hippy worldview of the 60s and 70s, or to re-word that, from the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the women's movement, the environmental movement, and sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, among other things. And like I said, I really don't want to hear that from a Democratic candidate.

So when I hear the Clintons, or anybody, saying that Obama praised Reagan, well you know, that's how I heard it, too.  From my perspective, the Clintons may have missed a couple of the lyrics, but they damn sure nailed the melody.

Same deal for the "party of ideas" who "challenged conventional wisdom."  Please don't try to tell me that those words aren't sending a positive message.  It would be easy as pie to get across the idea of Republican intellectual activity 1992-2007 without using the buzzwords that political candidates always run on, and that Obama himself is running on.

So the fact that a couple of words were changed in describing it just doesn't move me much.  The Clintons spoke for me and it was important to me personally that they did so.  I would far, far rather have them out there saying what they said and garbling a couple of words than having nobody at all speak to the potential Democratic standard-bearer's enlistment in the army of Reagan hagiographers.

And yes, what they said was not perfectly accurate.  But I'll repeat myself: its boatloads more accurate than how Obama described the same words.  And he had the gall to stand up there on the stage with Hillary and call her a liar to her face while in practically the very same breath he said that "what I said was is that Ronald Reagan was a transformative political figure because he was able to get Democrats to vote against their economic interests."  Lord have mercy.

(2) Context: remarks to a reporter, not a speech with a text.  So a little leeway here is fair.  I hear you're a professor.  Ever missed a word in answering a student's question?

Rightfully you started with context.  You said "And if you look at the context of Bill Clinton's remark, there's nothing in it that suggests that `record' means `record after Obama came to the Senate', or `voting record', or anything" (italicization added) and provided a link to Clinton's remarks to a CNN reporter.

I can go you one better.  Here's what he said to the CNN reporter:  "The only thing I pointed out was that there was substantially no difference in her record and his on Iraq . . . ."  What does that mean, "[t]he only thing I pointed out?"  What had Clinton previously pointed out about Obama and his record on Iraq, something that had become extremely famous, so famous that when he said "the only thing I pointed out" most people would know what he was talking about?  It was, of course, the "fairy tale" remarks that Clinton was referencing when he said "[t]he only thing I pointed out."  So let's go to the tale of the tape.  Here is the "fairy tale" statement in all its glory or lack thereof:

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 Web site in 2004. 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 there you have it: context.  And the context is that Clinton clearly was talking about Obama's voting record and merely left out that word in off-the-cuff remarks to a reporter.  

Not a lie.  And not in the league of Obama saying that Hillary Clinton had called direct diplomacy with Iran "naïve and irresponsible."

(3) My point is simple.  The words of the ad are practically verbatim the words of the Illinois director of NOW which she stands by today and are on the Illinois NOW website at this minute (or at least they were last night).  That's fair game as background support for a political ad, no matter whether there is some controversy over whether what she says is a fair representation of the facts.  So far as I can tell from diving into that story pretty good, nobody really knows whether the ad was true or not and there is a legitimate dispute over whether there actually was a concerted strategy of voting present that Obama participated in.

Compare the support for Clinton's ad to the support for Obama's pointed personal attack on Hillary Clinton in the SC "she'll say anything" ad.

(4) You kind of disappoint me here, Hillzoy.  You relied on the wrong math.  Clinton was right.  You have no idea what kind of information he had about expected turnout at this caucuses.  All that either of us know is that the outcome was quite close to what he predicted, and that he was right on the money with the impact of his charge, which was that the strip voters were going to be disproportionately represented.

I can think of no reason under the sun to think that Bill Clinton wasn't honestly explaining the math of it as he understood it at the time.  The outcome supports him.  If you're going to call Clinton a liar for this, then obviously you don't buy even one cent on the dollar into my framework that you have to cross a high hurdle to accuse a primary opponent of lying.  ( I hope you'll believe me when I assert right now that this is not a principle that I just made up.  I always judge Democratic primary candidates to a significant extent on how fairly and positively they treat their opponents.)

(5) I'm not going to do much more than cry uncle on this one.  As I said to start with, this ad is rank demagoguery.  I would need more information about the math of taxes than I have, and probably from multiple sources, before I'd lower the "lying" charge, but I will lower the "buys into grotesque Republican talking points" charge.  

I really hope that this came from somewhere low in the campaign, and truly, I'd like to know about it if it didn't.  I have a very high regard for both Clintons, but I don't want my regard to be based on delusion.

Thanks much for playing.

by Trickster 2008-01-28 04:52PM | 0 recs

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