Um… where’s Bill Clinton? Other than a quick mention a few days back that Bill thinks Hillary needs to win Ohio and Texas, he’s been conspicuous by his absence. Now he’s nowhere to be found. Maybe they’ll trot him out again if Hillary can eke out some wins next week. Maybe not. Even Clinton’s closest advisors don’t know for sure.
This is a campaign in disarray.
Check out what went on at a high-level breakfast chat yesterday:
First came Harold Ickes, who gave a presentation about Hillary Rodham Clinton’s prospects that severed all ties with reality. “We’re on the way to locking this nomination down,” he said of a candidate who appears, if anything, headed in the other direction.
But before the breakfast crowd had a chance to digest that, they were served another, stranger course by Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer. Asked about an accusation on the Drudge Report that Clinton staffers had circulated a photo of Barack Obama wearing Somali tribal dress, Singer let ‘er rip.
“I find it interesting that in a room of such esteemed journalists that Mr. Drudge has become your respected assignment editor,” he lectured. “I find it to be a reflection of one of the problems that’s gone on with the overall coverage of this campaign.” He went on to chide the journalists for their “woefully inadequate” coverage of Obama, “a point that has been certainly backed up by the ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit that opened the show this past Saturday evening, which I would refer you all to.”
After the breakfast, one of the questioners asked Singer whether he could elaborate on the tax-return issue. He dismissed her with more hostility. When the reporter suggested that Singer was being antagonistic, the spokesman explained.
“Sixteen months into this,” he said, “I’m just angry.”
The picture is one where the Washington media hates Clinton (or at least her people) and vice versa. But it gets worse. Advisor Harold Ickes is in a state of disarray all by himself:
At one point, [Ickes] warned of “a bitter and potentially very divisive credentials fight” at the Democratic convention. At another point, he compared the race to 1972, when a strong front-runner, Ed Muskie (now played by Clinton), was upended by an antiwar candidate, George McGovern (now played by Obama), who lost to the Republicans. “The fact is, he could not carry his weight in the general election,” Ickes argued.
But Ickes could suspend reality for only so long. He referred to Clinton’s opponent at one point as “Senator Barack,” swapped 1992 for 1972 and Michigan for Vermont, and said of the Pennsylvania primary: “Um, what month is it?” Eventually, Carl Leubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News drew a confession out of Ickes: “I think if we lose in Texas and Ohio, Mrs. Clinton will have to make her decisions as to whether she goes forward or not.”
Ickes also can’t seem to make up his mind what the superdelegates should do:
“They are supposed to exercise leadership,” Ickes said of the superdelegates Monday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast with reporters. “They are not sheep.”
Back in Olden Times, when Clinton held a commanding lead, Ickes thought differently. But of course.
With sinking polls, sinking chances, and a staff sinking into desperation, what’s Hillary’s next move? See here:
After struggling for months to dent Senator Barack Obama’s candidacy, the campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is now unleashing what one Clinton aide called a “kitchen sink” fusillade against Mr. Obama, pursuing five lines of attack since Saturday in hopes of stopping his political momentum.
I’d call it the “pasta attack.” Throw it against the wall and see what sticks. So far, nothing sticks — because this is a campaign that stinks.