Saturday, March 22, 2008

Election 2008: Clarifications and Apologies

The presidential election of 2008 seems to be an endless series of explanations and clarifications and apologies, unrelated to the issues.

One of the campaigns always seems to be in the midst of some sort of lame controversy, requiring some sort of lame explanation, and sometimes a lame apology.

In short, Election 2008 is lame.

The latest offense comes from Bill Clinton.

SALEM, Ore. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is trying to clarify comments by former President Clinton that seemed to question Barack Obama's patriotism — comments an Obama aide likened to Joseph McCarthy.

Clinton's campaign said the comments were being misinterpreted and quickly posted a clarification on its Web site. But retired Air Force Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak said he was disappointed by the comments and compared them to those of McCarthy, the 1950s communist-hunting senator.

The former president made the comments while speculating about a general election between his wife and Republican John McCain.

"I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country," said Clinton, who was speaking to a group of veterans Friday in Charlotte, N.C. "And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

McPeak, a former chief of staff of the Air Force and currently a co-chair of Obama's presidential campaign, said that sounded like McCarthy.

"I grew up, I was going to college when Joe McCarthy was accusing good Americans of being traitors, so I've had enough of it," McPeak said.

Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer rejected the comparison.

"To liken these comments to McCarthyism is absurd," Singer said. He said McPeak was "clearly misinterpreting" the remarks and suggested that might be an intentional effort to divert attention from a recent controversy involving controversial statements by Obama's former pastor.

In a posting on Hillary Rodham Clinton's Web site Friday, the campaign said the former president was simply talking about the need to keep the race focused on issues, "rather than falsely questioning any candidate's patriotism."

This is getting ridiculous.

I don't think Bill's comments questioned Obama's patriotism. He certainly wasn't suggesting that Obama is a traitor.

Good grief. What a stretch!

There's nothing wrong with saying an election should be about issues and ideas.

I think what's happening is that Obama's campaign was able to turn Bill into a liability for Hillary before and it's desperate to repeat that past success.

McPeak is just nuts for likening Bill's remarks to McCarthyism.

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