"What we saw this morning was why the American people are tired of Washington politicians and the games they play," said Obama in a conference call announcing the endorsement of Sen. Claire McCaskill (Mo.) "[Clinton] started this campaign saying that she wanted to make history and lately she has been spending some time rewriting it."
On the recent controversy regarding remarks Clinton made about Martin Luther King Jr.’s role in the civil rights movement, Obama called the comments "unfortunate" and blasted Clinton for accusing his campaign of distorting her words for political gain. "The notion that this is somehow our doing is ludicrous," he said.
Memo from Amaya Smith, South Carolina Press Secretary, Obama for America:
MARTIN LUTHER KING / LYNDON JOHNSON COMPARISON
Clinton, Criticizing Obama For Promising "False Hope" Said That While MLK Jr. Spoke On Behalf Of Civil Rights, President Lyndon Johnson Was The One Who Got Legislation Passed: "It Took A President To Get It Done." Clinton rejoined the running argument over hope and "false hope" in an interview in Dover this afternoon, reminding Fox’s Major Garrett that while Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on behalf of civil rights, President Lyndon Johnson was the one who got the legislation passed. Hillary was asked about Obama’s rejoinder that there’s something vaguely un-American about dismissing hopes as false, and that it doesn’t jibe with the careers of figures like John F. Kennedy and King. "Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act," Clinton said. "It took a president to get it done." [Politico, 1/7/08; Video]
Bill Shaheen quite rightly payed the price for implying Obama was a drug dealer. I’ll leave others to decide the merits of the argument that Clinton’s comments were racist, but it’s clear that Obama’s campaign is pushing the story. Laundering arguments you don’t want to make yourself through surrogates and hoping you don’t have to take responsibility for them should not be an option available to candidates this time around.
FWIW, Russert redux — I hope nobody lets Clinton get away with the war argument she made on MTP this morning, either. Is she really trying to say that she and Obama have identical voting records on the war, but it was okay for her to vote for funding because she supported it and he didn’t? Because I really can’t figure out any other way to read that.