Sunday, January 06, 2008

Desperation! Clinton Grossly Distorting Obama's Abortion Record

Well, I'm not surprised, but this is pretty pathetic. In a desperate bid to somehow get back in the Democratic presidential race, Hillary Clinton has resorted to grossly and knowingly distorting Barack Obama's legislative record on abortion. Clearly, Clinton is trying to play the gender card by scaring young women away from Obama and into her camp. (Recall, Obama bested Clinton among women in Iowa 35%-30% and drubbed her among young women)

In a mailer sent to voters in NH over the past couple of days, the Clinton campaign claims "A woman's right to choose demands a leader who will stand up and protect it." It says Clinton has a record of fighting "far-right Republicans" to defend abortion rights, while Obama has been "unwilling to take a stand on choice." It concludes, "Seven times he had the opportunity to stand up against Republican anti-choice legislation in the Illinois state Senate. Seven times he voted present - not yes or no, but present. Being there is not enough to protect choice." The mailer, which clearly states "Paid for by Hillary Clinton for President," not too subtly suggests that Obama is not a strong advocate for abortion rights and women, in general.

I call "Bullshit!" This is totally disingenuous and cynical, not to mention false. Here is the reality, according to a fact-checking piece by Nedra Pickler posted at the Huffington Post (emphasis added):
"During his eight years in the legislature, Obama cast a number of votes on abortion and received a 100 percent rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council for his support of abortion rights, family planning services and health insurance coverage for female contraceptives. He voted against requiring medical care for aborted fetuses who survive, a vote that especially riled abortion opponents. He also joined other state Democrats in voting present on some bills."

That's right, folks, Obama gets a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood for the range of positions he has taken not only on abortion rights, but women's reproductive health rights, more generally. This is silly. Anyone who knows anything about how the legislature works knows that there are times when, for strategic or political reasons, certain members of a party vote "present." This is all about political maneuvering and is almost always done in conjunction with a broader party strategy.

When called to task for the distortions in the mailer, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, in classic Clintonian fashion, "New Hampshire voters.. deserve a straightforward presentation of the facts about both candidates."

To his credit, Obama spokesman Bill Burton did not throw a chair or simply tell Hillary's campaign to "Go to hell!" when asked by reporters about the smear. Instead, in another sign of the maturity of the Obama operation, "The Clinton campaign's false negative attacks were rejected by Iowa voters, and we expect that they'll suffer the same fate here in New Hampshire."

Geesh. I hope so...

This is all about Clinton's ego and ambition run amok now that her campaign is going down in flames, not about what is best for the party or the country. It is likely Hillary will NOT be the nominee, yet she is creating a false issue with which the right-wing will surely pounce. The is all downright Karl Rovian! Shame on you Mrs. Clinton. Go down with some dignity, won't you? I guess not...

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