“During our debate in Las Vegas on Thursday, we heard Senator Clinton rail against the politics of ‘throwing mud.’
“At the very same time, in Washington, Robert Novak was publishing a column in which he reported the following: ‘Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama…’
“The item did not identify these ‘agents,’ nor did it reveal the nature of the charge. It was devoid of facts, but heavy on innuendo and insinuation of the sort to which we’ve become all too accustomed in our politics these past two decades. If the purpose of this shameless item was to daunt or discourage me or supporters of our campaign from challenging and changing the politics of Washington, it will fail. In fact, it will only serve to steel our resolve.
“But in the interest of our party, and her own reputation, Senator Clinton should either make public any and all information referred to in the item, or concede the truth: that there is none.
Oh yeah, Robert Novak. I’ll get right on that.
I didn’t buy it last week when rumors were circulating that Obama was push polling against Clinton and Edwards in Iowa, either.
I smell a much bigger rat.
Update: Digby concurs:
Robert Novak was once a real journalist but after the events of the past few years, it’s safe to say that he no longer can be considered anything but a Republican operative, specifically a Rove acolyte who basically works for him. He has more than proven his loyalty. This rumor, especially coming from him, should never have seen the light of day. MSNBC is running with the story like it’s 9/11. It remains to be seen if it has any legs among the rest of the mainstream press. But I think it’s fair to say that they will, at the very least, “store such incidents in [their] minds and then use them to interpret major incidents when they occur.”
We don’t know exactly what happened here, of course, but Democratic campaigns should know better that to ever use Robert Novak to try to score points either way. His item, (just like Rove’s from earlier in the week) was a twofer, virtually designed to make both candidates look bad — and, frankly, both of their responses only reaffirmed that impression.
(photo by Steve Schwartz)