When Barack Obama attacked Hillary Clinton, she accused him of “abandoning the politics of hope,” but when she does it her campaign calls it “drawing contrasts.”
Clinton tried to head off any criticisms Obama would make of her in the October 30 Democratic presidential debate by mocking the mocking the title of his autobiography “The Audacity of Hope.” In an October 30 memo, her campaign said “Losing ground in the polls, Senator Obama announced over the weekend that he will abandon the politics of hope and attack Hillary in tonight’s debate… One candidate is defining the ‘politics of hope’ while the others are abandoning them. Want to guess which one?”
Right now, it would be hard to tell. As Clinton loses her once-commanding lead over Obama in Iowa, she increases her attacks on the Illinois senator. She once now trails him by 3 percent according to a Des Moines Register poll released today, 28 percent to 25 percent. John Edwards received 23 percent in that poll, making each of the three candidates within the poll’s margin of error, 4.4 percent, of each other.
Within the last week, Clinton’s campaign has accused Obama of illegally dishing out political action committee money to early primary states, demanded he take down “misleading” television advertisements about Clinton’s healthcare plan and even tried to make an essay Obama wrote in kindergarten a point of contention.
Frank James of the Baltimore Sun was a bit taken aback that Clinton would investigate Obama’s childhood writings. “Good thing he was born before widespread pre-natal ultrasounds,” he joked. “Who knows how they might have used that against him?” Then James predicted this strategy would backfire on Clinton. “The problem for Clinton is that her campaign's attempt to paint Obama as a calculating type who precociously hungered for the presidency runs the risk of reminding voters of some of the very questions they have about her, that she herself has wanted the presidency for decades and has plotted her course with that in mind,” he said.
Compounding the charges of hypocrisy is the fact Clinton has a long history of campaign finance troubles herself. The details surrounding Whitewater, “Asiagate,” the selling of the Lincoln bedroom and other scandals have filled up thousands of book pages. Her campaign was forced to pay a $35,000 fine to the Federal Elections committee for “underreporting” donations in her 2000 Senate election and return almost $1 million in campaign donations solicited by her felon contributions bundler Norman Hsu this year.