Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Obama Goes Negative

Presidential contender Senator Barack Obama released an opposition research paper on John Edwards in response to requests from a local union (United Auto Workers Region 4.) It was full of cheap shots; one of which may come back to haunt the "positive" candidate. From an ABC News blog;
The cheapest shot ... that Edwards somehow has something to do with Whirlpool when the company was closing down Maytag plants in Iowa, Illinois, and Arkansas.

Why is that a cheap shot? Because the link is that Edwards worked for the controversial Fortress Hedge Fund while it owned stock in Whirlpool as it was shutting down those plants.

But some argue a far more direct link exists between Obama and those plants shutting down.

The Crown family -- Lester, Renee, James, Paula -- have been supporters, fundraisers, and bundlers for Obama.

Lester Crown was on the board of Maytag when it decided to shut down a plant in Galesburg, Illinois, and sent those jobs to Mexico.

In August 2005, Crain's Chicago Business reported that the Crowns stood "to reap an estimated $86 million from the sale of appliance maker Maytag Corp. to rival Whirlpool Corp. After a bidding war, Newton, Iowa-based Maytag agreed Monday to sell to Whirlpool for $21 a share in cash and stock. Maytag has said the Crowns hold about 4.1 million shares."

Shortly after that merger was announced, Whirlpool shut down those plants in Iowa, Illinois, and Arkansas.

Do I think Obama is responsible for the plants shutting down? Nope.

But he should know better than to attack Edwards on the same subject.
This episode illustrates the fine line candidates walk- trying to chop rivals off at the knees while avoiding accusations of negative campaigning and attack ads.

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