"He has not clearly opposed the war from the start," said Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz Tuesday. "Like his wife, the former president has been critical of the Iraq war in recent months, but at one time he gave President Bush the benefit of the doubt."But more importantly, isn't this just another instance of Big Bill's big ol' ego undoing years of political parsing and careful statements from his wife? She's worked so hard to get voters who haven't been paying a lot of attention to the point where they can pick literally any Iraq position out of a hat and convince themselves she's had it at some point and may still. And, Bill comes along, grabs the political tightrope she's walking and just shakes the ever-lovin' hell out of it, fueling a day or two of negative coverage. Nice going.
Mr. President -- your wife is going to be in Iowa tomorrow. She is supposed to talk about health care. You don't want to step on her message by claiming that you opposed the Iraq War from the beginning! We're in the era of instantaneous fact checks... within 10 minutes of your comments, they're everywhere, and if you want to walk them back, it's not like calling Ron Fournier to walk back an AP story!Well, the repeated Bubba snafus seem to answer the question of who will be more powerful on the trail: Oprah or the Man from Hope?
Update: Chuck Todd on MSNBC:
This is the second time. Three weeks ago, the last time he was on the trail, he made a comment. It seemed to be an offhand comment, you know, that the health care was his fault in 1993, that the failure of health care reform was his fault, not her fault and she shouldn't get the blame. And a lot of folks said, wait, wait, isn't he rewriting history?Update: And, a note on the context of this remark, which was in a discussion of war spending and tax cuts for the rich:
Yesterday, he goes out and in his first speech says he always opposed this iraq war. And the Clinton folks feel there's plenty of support to show he was not in favor of an invasion and what was interesting, our field reporter out there said that later at a later stop yesterday, he dropped the always opposed and instead started saying opposes this iraq war a little bit.
So, trying to change things a little, realizing he may have started a firestorm. And it could have been a slip of the tongue or said something not in the way he meant to say it. It doesn't matter.
This is the double-edged sword of Bill Clinton. Everybody listens to what he says. That's what makes him a good surrogate for Hillary Clinton, but sometimes a distraction for her is that everybody listens to what he says, including reporters.
"That'll require people like me, who got five tax cuts that I should not have gotten, in my income group, when we had soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers."The liberal view of ways to "support soldiers" (and charity in general) is severely limited, in this case relegated to the magnanimous act of having taxes levied upon you involuntarily. Is he really unaware that he has literally thousands of opportunities to support "those soldiers" with his money every single day? Pony up for VALOUR-IT, Bill. We'll gladly take your money for our wounded troops, but you have to give it voluntarily. I know it's rough not being compelled by government to help others, but I think you'll like it. Didn't you write a book on that?