HEALY (2/12/07): Some advisers believe the issue of her vote will fade with time; even so, they emphasize that she is taking a principled position of responsibility for it.We dont know if that is the real explanation. But only Penn could ever come up with this sort of tortured reasoning. Only Penn would advise a client: Dont speak English for the next several years.
Mark Penn, Mrs. Clinton's chief strategist, said in an interview: ''It's important for all Democrats to keep the word 'mistake' firmly on the Republicans and on President Bush. Senator Clinton has been very clear that we, as a party, should keep the focus on Bush—these were his mistakes. Ultimately that's very important, not just for her, but for the entire Democratic party.
WINTERS (2/13/07): In New Hampshire on Saturday, Senator Hillary Clinton got visibly testy when a voter asked her if she would admit, without nuance, that her vote to authorize the Iraq war was a mistake. Her reply began with the tired claim that she had "taken responsibility for that vote." Which means what? "Taking responsibility" in contemporary political discourse means you want to change the subject. And, her demeanor suggested that, only three weeks into the race, she is already tired of defending her Iraq war vote.Winters linked to Cillizzas report in the Washington Post—the same report we criticized Monday. But sadly, Winters seems to have been misled by Cillizza. Hes been bamboozled, not unlike Kurtz.
CLINTON (2/10/07): Well, I have said, and I will repeat it, that, knowing what I know now, I would never have voted for it. But I also—and, I mean, obviously you have to weigh everything as you make your decision—I have taken responsibility for my vote. The mistakes were made by this president, who misled this country and this Congress into a war that should not have been waged.Knowing what I know now, I would never have voted for the war resolution. That was the first thing Clinton said. And no, that statement isnt vague or unclear, unlike the murky statement Winters quoted—completely out of context.
DAILY HOWLER (2/12/07): From reading that passage [by Cillizza], do you have any real idea what Clinton actually said to Tilton? Do you have any idea what Clinton has said about this matter in the past?...All we get from Cillizza is this: "I have taken responsibility for my vote. Thats a remarkably murky clip—seven words which tell us next to nothing.One day later, it was just as we called it. Winters, linking to Cillizza, mistakenly said that Clinton began with that statement. He then complained that the statement was hard to decipher: Which means what? he harrumphingly said. But everyone knew what the statement meant when they actually saw Clinton make it. They knew because they had seen her full statement—not the misleading clip Cillizza offered.
If wed only seen Cillizza quote Clinton this way, we might have thought that his odd bit of editing was just another dumb-ass mistake. But all last week, we showed you, again and again—the boys on the bus have simply refused to report what Clinton has said on this topic. Result? On Sunday, Kurtz didnt seem to have any idea what Clinton has said about her vote. Two days later, up jumped Winters. He complained that her statement in New Hampshire was murky—but he didnt seem to know what Clinton had actually said.
As such, this has been a textbook case of the way the press can bamboozle the public. (To see Obama explain this, keep reading.) Two liberal bloggers got taken for rides as the press corps refused to report Clintons statements. Each was blatantly wrong on his facts, in precisely the ways we had warned you about. All last week, we said this was coming. Kurtz, then Winters, confirmed it.
CILLIZZA BAMBOOZLES THE RUBES: Yesterday, we said wed post Cillizzas statement from Monday evenings NewsHour. The Post scribe spoke with Judy Woodruff about Clintons weekend trip to New Hampshire. Eventually, he discussed Clintons statements about Iraq. And omigod! He did it again!
CILLIZZA (2/12/07): I think the one concern that she does have, and it came up again and again, is with the war in Iraq.Once again, Cillizza followed the formula perfectly. Employing his own murky constructions, he explained what Clinton didnt do and say in New Hampshire. She didnt recant that vote, he said (whatever that means). And she refused to apologize. But nowhere did he ever report what Clinton did say about her vote. May voters might take her actual statement as something resembling a recantation. (We took it that way in October 04, when Clinton first began making such statements.) But they wont get the chance to decide. NewsHour viewers were never told what Clinton had actually said.
WOODRUFF: And the problem there?
CILLIZZA: Well, the problem there is simply that Sen. Clinton, unlike former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, has not apologized for her vote in favor of the use of force resolution in 2002. John Edwards, along with Barack Obama, the senator from Illinois—who was not in the Senate at the time of the vote, but said that he would have voted against it—both Edwards and Obama are to Clinton's left on the war issue.
She was asked multiple times whether she wanted to recant that vote, whether she wanted to apologize. She refused to do so. Some in the crowd received that relatively warmly. They were fine with that. She got good applause when she said, "This wasn't my mistake, it was the president's mistake," but not everyone in the crowd was won over by that remark. Many people still want her to say, I made a mistake. I apologize.
OBAMA (page 121): In contrast, a three-minute story on the lowest-rated local news broadcast in the Chicago media market may reach two hundred thousand people. In other words, I—like every politician at the federal level—am almost entirely dependent on the media to reach my constituents. It is the filter through which my votes are interpreted, my statements analyzed, my beliefs examined. For the broad public at least, I am what the media says I am. I say what they say I say. I become who they say Ive become.Obama is a superlative writer. I say what they say I say, he says, describing the power of the press corps. In this passage, Obama explains perfectly—in advance!—what the corps has been doing to Clinton. Regarding her vote on the war resolution, she has said what they say she has said—at least for two bamboozled bloggers.