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Mommie dearest: Chelsea speaks, but won’t talk to journalists April 26, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in Election 2008, elections, Hillary, Hillary Clinton, News and politics, Politics, primaries.
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Chelsea Clinton, Dorothy Rodham, and Bill Clinton

Look mom! No reporters!
Photo: AP

In Philadelphia Monday night for a final rally before the must-win Pennsylvania primary, Chelsea Clinton told a packed crowd that she and her father are having an “implicit competition about who is, like, duh, more normal.”

Bill Clinton is the master of retail politicking, widely acknowledged to have few peers as a campaigner. But ever since the red nosed beacon of 21st century racism began making an utter fool of himself, there’s a case to be made that his 28-year-old daughter is the more valuable advocate for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.  After all, she is allowed to speak in front of thousands, but the Clintons won’t let her speak to journalists. Smart move, considering the family’s sordid past. The question really becomes, though, why is the media giving her a free pass? Why are they afraid to ask her questions? Is she still a child?

Meanwhile, the former president has stumbled badly at times, veering wildly off message, picking fights with reporters and making ill-considered comments that have caused his wife’s campaign to relegate him to out-of-the-way locales and made even progressives consider the nickname “Bubba” legitimate fodder. The once-and-maybe-future first daughter, on the other hand, has loosened up and eased into her role as a surrogate, hitting her stride just when her mother needed it most, and done a marvelous job of keeping at arms length from reporters. Sites like Politico unabashedly sing her praises, partly out of fear that the Clintons may somehow still wrest the nomination from Obama and not have access to whatever they think they’ll need access to as journalists, perhaps, or maybe somehow too ashamed to ask why a major political figure like Chelsea will not talk to the press.

And, a major political figure is exactly what Chelsea has become.

Despite the fact that she is now a major figure on the Hillary campaign stump, she will not talk to reporters, and even spurned a child reporter in a now famous diss.

In the last three and a half months alone, Chelsea Clinton has traveled to 37 states, logging more than 75,000 miles on commercial airlines, speaking at more than 115 college campuses and answering more than 1,500 questions in total, said Philippe Reines, a senior aide to the campaign.

“She’s definitely her mom’s secret weapon,” said Erika Alexander, an actress who has appeared on the stump with Chelsea. “[Hillary Clinton] has no better messenger. But if you are a journalist, she’s like a scorpion. Good luck getting near her.”

Chelsea also has helped take some of the burden off her mother by reaching out to undecided superdelegates and placing as many as 80 thank-you calls a day to organizers of fundraisers and other events. The thank-you’s have even included the many vendors that are owed huge sums of money by the Clintons.

Earlier this month, when a small printing press in Pennsylvania sent a bill to the Clintons for a $300,000 printing job, it was Chelsea who called and told them to back off.

And, even earlier this month, when Minnesota superdelegate Nancy Larson decided to endorse Sen. Barack Obama, it was Chelsea Clinton who picked up the phone to find out why.

Larson told The New York Times that the conversation was “heartbreaking” because Chelsea was a “delightful young woman who loves her mother very much. I mean, I could almost hear the suckling still from her pursed little lips, and I now understand why the Clintons are reluctant to expose her to the mass media.” The incident stood in stark contrast to media accounts of Bill Clinton’s private discussion with uncommitted California superdelegates several weeks earlier, in which the superdelegates reported being stunned by his angry response when one of them broached the subject of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s endorsement of Obama.

Asked if Chelsea was proving to be a more effective surrogate than her father, Reines said, “Sen. Clinton is lucky to have two fantastic surrogates who know her best and how great a president she’d be, working tirelessly on her behalf. Well, I mean, I’m not sure Bill would be comfortable being called a surrogate, since he’s used so many surrogates in his marriage, but, well, you know what I mean. ”

So far, then, it is Chelsea who has handled delicate situations with aplomb, and it is Chelsea who has emerged unscratched from public events where her family’s most sensitive issues — such as the Monica Lewinsky scandal — were suddenly and unexpectedly thrust upon her by questioners.

Only once has she drawn unfavorable public notice — and that for an absurdly disciplined approach that led her to refuse an interview request from a 9-year-old student journalist. Since then, the press has gotten smart, and has been afraid to challenge the notion that she should be asked questions on the stump.

Bill Clinton, by contrast, has appeared volatile and contentious at times as he careens from controversy to controversy, seemingly unable to grasp the realities of a new political environment where every statement is captured on audio or video and can be immediately vetted for accuracy.

However, that hasn’t stopped the press from its relentless pursuit of Obama’s relationship with a pastor. The question of this campaign hasn’t been, “How do you control your husband?” It’s been, “how do you control your pastor?”

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Chelsea Clinton’s Age Will Be Updated February 17, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in Hillary, Hillary Clinton, News and politics.
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In a move to further protect Chelsea Clinton from the media, The Clintons today declared that a mistake was made in her birth certificate, and that she is actually 13 years old, not 28, as had been previously alleged.

Harold Ickes, one of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s senior advisors, made the announcement before a rambling strategy session today. “She’s 13. There was a mistake on her birth certificate,” said Ickes. “The Clinton campaign is determined to protect Chelsea from the media hounds, and this correction is part of that strategy.”

Chelsea Clinton, who is campaigning in Democratic front runner Barack Obama’s home state of Hawaii, would not comment on this newest development.

Asked by reporters how to explain Chelsea’s appearances among the Clintons during Bill Clinton’s presidency, where she appears to be a young teenager, Ickes replied that the individual seen in photographs and news footage was a surrogate. “As you know, the Clintons have many friends in the film industry, and the good people at Industrial Light and Magic created a computer-generated image of what the Clinton’s daughter would have looked like as a 12 year old. They then took that information and hired a body double.”

Told by reporters that there were still some general issues with this kind of time line, Ickes became visibly irritated and began to detail the Clinton campaign’s strategy for preventing Obama from winning the Democratic nomination. “Sending Chelsea to Hawaii, Obama’s home turf, will re-invigorate this campaign and deliver a firm message that the Clintons belong back in the White House.”

Although the 13 year old will be campaigning actively for her mother now, she will still not be allowed to talk to the press. “No,” confirmed Ickes, “absolutely not. And I think you can see why. She’s 13 years old, for God’s sake.”

Obamamania January 8, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in Al Gore, Barack Obama, Hillary, Hillary Clinton, Iraq War, News and politics, Obama.
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Barack Obama’s apparent impending sweep of the Democratic primaries speaks loudly about the American mood. Even in a time of unprecedented prosperity under Al Gore, Democratic voters are shunning his would-be successor, Vice President Hillary Clinton.

It may be that Americans simply don’t like the idea of dynasties. If Clinton would be elected, not only would it be the second Clinton in office, but it would extend the Clinton/Gore dynasty to, potentially, nearly a quarter century. Americans are understandably squeamish about such things.

Ironically, this kind of feeling could have been exacerbated by some of the fears generated by progressives who have repeatedly pointed out that a cadre of Republicans such as Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney, pushed hard for an invasion of Iraq and have since written that had George W. Bush won the election, they would have launched preemptive strikes against Sadaam.

A Newsweek journalist even raised the hairs of many Americans by posting a fictional blog called The Bush Years which painted a nightmarish, almost science fiction-like alternative future that had America sending ground troops into Iraq and spending hundreds of billions of dollars funding a long-term quagmire. Most economists scoffed at the premise: that the war is largely funded via long-term debts to China. In the blog, the American dollar becomes nearly worthless, and America is reviled throughout most of the world.

These are events that, had they happened, would have been blamed at least partly on dynastic politics.

In real life, of course, Sadaam, has long since disappeared from the scene, having been stricken down by his own people. The Middle East is thriving even as the U.S. is throwing off the chains of its oil dependency. The American economy, fueled in no small part to a host of emerging technologies spurred on by the Gore Administration’s industrial policies, is humming along like a well oiled machine.

Still, voters appear to be on the brink of rejecting Hillary and embracing Obama.

There are two things that Gore has not accomplished that might help explain this phenomenon. One, he has not healed the divisiveness between Republicans and Democrats that has existed since the Clinton years. In fact, under Gore, it may be worse, as the Republican Party has become marginalized because of the domination in that party of evangelicals and the far right. Eventually, though, the GOP will return to a more moderate focus, and the pendulum in Congress will swing back. It always does.

Obama, though, isn’t waiting. He’s already reaching out to Republicans and leveraging his long-term mantra of unity by pointing out that we don’t live in red states or blue states, but in the United States. This message is resonating.

The other thing Gore hasn’t accomplished is in regards to lobbyists. They still have way too much control, and Obama has promised to do something about that. These are two powerful messages. Combine that with Americans’ inherent distaste for dynasties, and you have a rout in the making.

Hillary’s mistake may have been to simply assume she was the appointed successor to the throne. The Bush Years did a nice job of pointing out how dangerous a dynasty can be, even if it did seem a little far-fetched in its apocalyptic tone. And the American people don’t need much help anyway in rejecting the concept of the throne. They’ve been doing it for 232 years.

Wishing They’d Play Nice November 21, 2007

Posted by chuckwh in Barack Obama, Barak Obama, Hillary, Hillary Clinton, Obama.
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Today I find myself hoping that Hillary and Obama start to play a little nicer with each other. The reason is based on pure strategy. If Hillary wins the nomination, it seems to me that a Hillary/Obama ticket could very possibly lead to 16 years of non-Republican governance.

If you want to see the full effects of what can happen when a country changes its political pendulum check out the video here:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/mlasalle/detail?blogid=38&entry_id=22097

When Ronald Reagan was elected, it signaled a massive political tsunami that has had America reeling for more than a quarter century.

Imagine an American president doing what Richard Nixon, a Republican, did, and imposing wage and price controls. The right wing would probably scramble to Texas and declare it a sovereign state, just to get away from the horrors of federal economic controls.

If progressives want to return to liberalism, it will require more than the obvious necessity of capturing hearts and minds. It will require that Democrats (sadly, the closest thing we have to liberalism) don’t shoot themselves in the foot when it is so clear that the government is theirs for the taking for a very long time.

If Obama wins, I’m sure Hillary won’t be the Vice Presidential candidate, but if Hillary wins, Obama seems like a perfect fit. Right now, the attacks are really fairly soft. Candidates have taken bigger shots at each other and found themselves as running mates. But I hope both sides keep a close eye on their gun happy artillery men.