BILL CLINTON: I believe those are the three reasons you ought to be for her: She'd be the best for the veterans, she'd be the best commander in chief, and she would certainly be the best at managing this economy. And finally, according to the evidence today, she's also the most electable. She's running ahead of Senator McCain in Ohio; her opponent's running behind. She is ahead in Florida and Arkansas, a state that voted for me twice, 'cause I was the governor -- they sort of had to, I guess -- and voted for President Carter once. They haven't voted for another Democrat in 44 years. This week's survey in Arkansas: Senator McCain is leading Hillary's opponent by 16 points; Hillary's leading him by 15 points. So she can win this election. And, and, we need to change the direction of this country.But it won't be an easy race. John McCain is an honorable man, and as all of you know, he has paid the highest price you can pay for the United States, short of giving your life. And he and Hillary are friends; they like and respect each other. They have big disagreements on foreign policy and economic policy, they have taken reluctant Republican senators all over the world to prove that global warming is real but there is a way to deal with it that grows the economy and doesn't shrink it. And we now have a bipartisan majority in the Senate to do something about this. That's the kind of leadership this country needs.And I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who love this country and were devoted to the interests of the country, and people could actually ask themselves, who's right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics. So that's my argument for her. She'd be the best for veterans, the best commander in chief, the best for the economy, and is the most electable.
On Friday in Charlotte, N.C., Bill Clinton, the man who once thanked an R.O.T.C. recruiter "for saving me from the draft" during Vietnam, sounded like Sean Hannity without the finesse.Extolling John McCain as "an honorable man," and talking about McCain's friendship with his wife, the former president told veterans: "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. 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."Some people consider the Clintons to be the "stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."
In Dowd's work, John Edwards is routinely "the Breck Girl" (five times so far -- and counting), and Gore is "so feminized that he's practically lactating." Indeed, two days before we voted in November 2000, Dowd devoted her entire column, for the sixth time, to an imaginary conversation between Gore and his bald spot. "I feel pretty," her headline said (pretending to quote Gore's inner thoughts).That was the image this idiot wanted you carrying off to the voting booth with you! Such is the state of Maureen Dowd's broken soul. And such is the state of her cohort [Ann Coulter].And now, in the spirit of fair play and brotherhood, she is extending this type of "analysis" to Barack Obama. In the past few weeks, she has described Obama as "legally blonde" (in her headline); as "Scarlett O'Hara" (in her next column); as a "Dreamboy," as "Obambi," and now, in her latest absurd piece, as a "schoolboy" (text below). Do you get the feeling that Dowd may have a few race-and-gender issues floating around in her inane, tortured mind?
What Bill Clinton was saying in full consciousness is that yes, John McCain loves America and that, yes, so does Hillary. And that Barack Obama does not. What else could he possibly have meant? And that nasty little line about that other kind of politics (Obama's) intruding on our lives! None of this is a slip. It is deliberate. It is also ugly, very ugly. If Clinton gets nominated and gets elected, we will rue the day we ever met her ... and him.
MATTHEWS: There's only one way to read that. He's saying that if you pick these two people, you get two people that love their country. If you don't, you don't get two people that love your country. You get this other guy, Obama, who has all this other stuff, as if that other stuff is Obama's problem. He's getting pretty tough here, isn't he, in these last efforts to hold onto reality or something like a Clinton reality?
There's just nothing striking about the comments. He said Clinton and McCain are patriotic Americans who can face off in a campaign about issues. It wasn't a shot at Obama; it wasn't about Obama at all. I suppose one, if they were really anxious to parse the words and raise a fuss, could make a variety of inferences, but there's really no rational need to do so. At face value, his comments were harmless.
Clinton was making the case for his wife's electability against McCain, who last time I checked is the presumptive Republican nominee and her challenger should she win the Democratic nomination. He may have intentionally bypassed Obama in his leap to match Hillary against McCain, but he didn't say anything that could be construed as questioning Obama's patriotism. The sequence went as follows: He noted that Hillary polls ahead of McCain in Ohio and Florida and also that McCain leads "Hillary's opponent" (I quit typing here and don't recall exactly which states he mentioned in that part of his comment.) His point, obviously, was that Hillary should be the nominee and, in that case, she and McCain would face each other in the final contest.
Clinton appears to be imagining a post-nomination world and characterizing the debate among two senators (Hillary and McCain) as respectful because -- as he had just finished explaining to the crowd -- his wife and McCain had traveled the world together working on the issues like global warming. When he refers to "the other stuff that always seems to intrude," it's plausible to assume -- if you strip him of the horns and pitchfork for just a moment -- that what Clinton was talking about was the "stuff" that intrudes in general-election fights -- swift-boat ads and Republican claims that Democrats aren't patriots.
MATTHEWS: It's not important what the politics of the Clinton family is now; it's what [sic] important to the country. And I really think we got to stop talking about this as if this were a sitcom. We had eight years of this sitcom: What are the Clintons up to? How do they relate to each other? What do they feel today? Mika, it's a sitcom -- and it's gotta end. We gotta focus on America. We're stuck in Iraq; 4,000 people are dead now because of decisions made by politicians like the Clintons. We've gotta focus on what matters and stop this sitcom approach to politics. It doesn't matter what happened on the phone between Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson. What matters is what Bill Richardson has to say about the future of the country. Bill -- Governor, why is it important to have Barack Obama our next president? That's a question.