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January 21, 2008

Obama: Bill Clinton Lies

I guess you know this means war. Fans of Bugs Bunny will recognize that line, but fans of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama may not enjoy it as much as Republicans will over the next few weeks. In an interview that will air on ABC's Good Morning America today, Obama makes it clear that he will not stand silently while Bill makes arguments that could politely be called factually deficient (via Memeorandum):

"You know the former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling," Obama said. "He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts -- whether it's about my record of opposition to the war in Iraq or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas.

"This has become a habit, and one of the things that we're going to have to do is to directly confront Bill Clinton when he's making statements that are not factually accurate," Obama said. ...

"I understand him wanting to promote his wife's candidacy," Obama said. "She's got a record that she can run on. But I think it's important that we try to maintain some -- you know, level of honesty and candor during the course of the campaign. If we don't, then we feed the cynicism that has led so many Americans to be turned off to politics."

Wow! Who'd have thought that Bill Clinton doesn't tell the truth? Only all of the Republicans and at least a few Democrats who retained consciousness throughout the eight years of his presidency. He has demonstrated many things over the last sixteen years, but candor and honesty are not traits that come to mind.

Obama made a big step in making this an issue. He has explicitly tied Bill to Hillary at a time when other Democrats have begun to beg Bill to get more in the background. Newsweek has an article in this week's edition that name Ted Kennedy and Rahm Emanuel as party leaders who have told Bill directly to pipe down. Obama has now made it harder for Bill to withdraw from the fight, and Obama clearly now believes that Bill could be an effective way to attack Hillary.

He's right, and he should continue to pursue that attack. Bill won't retreat anyway, and the nastiness will continue whether Obama chooses to respond or not. Democrats want Bill to shut up because they see that the American electorate has begun to recall Bill's less-admirable qualities with this performance on the stump, and that will damage their prospects for regaining the White House considerably. Their best bet would be to find a candidate who isn't related to Bill -- and that argument helps Obama most.

UPDATE: Baldilocks says, "It's on." She also reminds us that in the Identity Wars, the weakest always wins.


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