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For Some, Negative Turn is a Turn-Off

DES MOINES -- Once, Garry Thomas counted himself a Hillary Clinton supporter -- even signing up to be one of her 25 co-chairs in Iowa alongside with former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack.

But Thomas now says he felt obliged to switch sides in recent weeks. "I think the Clinton campaign went negative," Thomas said in a telephone interview on Thursday. He attributed his defection to the new tone Clinton took last weekend, describing it as divisive. Obama officials said Thomas committed to them this week.

Clinton officials said they lost touch with Thomas in October, and are skeptical of his claim that he left them because of her tone (she did not launch her offensive until this past Sunday).

But either way, Thomas is now with Sen. Barack Obama, putting him on a growing list of Iowans who have switched from one candidate to another heading toward the caucuses.

Thomas said he informed Harry Baxter, the former Des Moines County Democratic Party chairman and a Clinton coordinator, of his decision to defect -- and no one from the Clinton campaign tried to talk him out of it.
"I didn't get any calls," Thomas said.

The switch by one man -- even someone in elected office, as Thomas, a Burlington city council member is -- may mean little in the end. But Baxter's eagerness to speak out -- against Clinton and now, on behalf of Obama -- comes as the campaigns are trying to assess the impact of a sharper tone by Clinton that began last weekend.

Clinton, after months of being targeted by her chief rivals, decided to respond with a forceful challenge to Obama's character and a charge that he is much more ambitious than he has let on. Her campaign advisers said she strongly believes that she must not let attacks go unresponded to -- even if it means appearing to go somewhat negative herself. They pointed to the success former Vice President Al Gore had in Iowa in 2000 after drawing distinctions between himself and former Sen. Bill Bradley.

Clinton officials also said that they are detecting newfound support from Iowa voters on the issue of health care, which is what they drew the sharpest distinction over.

Obama advisers, meanwhile, believe that the mere appearance of negativity will play badly among Iowa voters, saying a more apt comparison is to the slugfest waged by Rep. Dick Gephardt and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean in 2004 (both lost).

--Anne E. Kornblut

By Washington Post editors  |  December 6, 2007; 8:00 PM ET
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Please back up your statement (if you can) especially concerning your allegations about Senator Obama. I am referring to your comment: "Obama and Edwards have been running the negative attacks on Hillary, very personal attacks, since this race started."

I would be very interested if you can find a single specific example of Senator Obama running any "negative attack" against Ms. Clinton that was a "personal attack". I suspect your claim is as false as those by the Clinton Campaign that Senator Obama is secretly a Muslim who intends to bring down this country from within or that he still uses or possibly even deals cocaine. Just one example of something like this is all we ask to give your statements a little credibility.

I suspect we won't be hearing from Mr. dyck on this matter anytime soon!

Posted by: diksagev | December 21, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

It's very simple when it comes to Hillary, she cannot be trusted. That being said I hope she wins the nomination. Also please make sure Michael Moore is on the podium when she is nominated. I just love to watch the Democrats commit political suicide.

Posted by: surf4phil | December 19, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

you obama hags are on crack

you are completly distorting the truth

this guy is an idiot and whomever thinks the Reverend Obama preaching down from Mount Holier than tho is the right man for the job is delusional as well

just give it to the republicans will ya?


Posted by: drileyadkins | December 7, 2007 11:20 PM | Report abuse

You ain't seen negative until you see what Romney and the establishment Republicans will do the populist Huckabee. But he will handle it. TrueHawk

Posted by: TrueHawk | December 7, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I switched to Obama, too, after the bashing "moms at home with kids" and "retirees" received (as Oprah listeners) by Clinton's campaign. What crap! Also, I didn't like the events planned in Iowa -- making out Hillary to be a rock star. At every event, we were treated like attendees at the Who Concert ... I wasn't impressed.

Posted by: sklopfer | December 7, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

It is possible that Senator Clinton is the best candidate. However, even though many may like the policies that Senator Clinton proposes, they should also consider her record, just as Senator Clinton insists.
The last Clinton Administration, when faced with the fact that protection rackets where assaulting, torturing and murdering people with poison and radiation, chose to avoid its responsibilities to incarcerate the criminals and to protect the citizenry.
Instead, they made a deal with the criminal gang stalker protection rackets to leave them alone and to consequently abandon the citizenry.
Do we want a President who sells out the citizenry for votes?
Do we want a President who sends a "crime does pay" message to society?
Would you vote for a President who signed nonaggression deals with the KKKlan or the Nazi party? Gangs that torture with poison and radiation are much like the KKKlan and Nazi Party.
We do not need a sellout President. We need a principled leader President.
If you are one of the few who do not know what the above refers to, do a web search for "gang stalking" to see the tip of the dirtberg. Please do it before you decide to reply to my post. Here let me make it easy for you:

Posted by: avraamjack | December 7, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Oprah will bring them Barack will give them

BARACK OBAMA'S ANSWERS Top Priorities, Iraq war, SecurIty, Health care, Education, Gay Marriage, Abortion, Poor, Guns, Stem Cell Research, Energy, Affirmative Action, Budget Issues, Social Security

choose your candidate washington post



My top priority as president will be ending this war
in Iraq, a war that should have never been authorized
and never been waged. In doing so, I will work to keep
our country safe from terrorists and to restore
American credibility around the world. Providing
universal health care to the 47 million Americans who
currently do not have it will be another top priority
of my administration, as will combating global warming
and putting our country on the path toward energy
independence. But all of the issues that I have
focused on in this campaign -- whether it's creating a
21st century education system and fighting poverty or
achieving comprehensive immigration reform and
strengthening our economy -- are vitally important and
must be prioritized by the next president. And all of
these issues share one thing in common: in order to
fully address them, we have to do more than change
political parties. We have to fundamentally change our
politics and transform the way business is done in

















Posted by: PaProgressiveDem | December 7, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Testing testing testing testing
e Huckabee ar

Posted by: judgeccrater | December 7, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Bob_Greiner | December 7, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

What kind of self delusion does it take to believe a candidate for President of the United States does not, by definition, have outsized ambition? Please, tell me.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

The more I hear about Hillary the more convinced I become that her only goal is to become president whatever the cost. Sounds kinda like GW all over again. I think we need to move on to someone new with no Bush Vs Clinton baggage and get past the divisiveness that she will bring ...for me that means anyone but Hillary for Prez.

Posted by: cmsatown | December 7, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

From a real newspaper:

Obama on the Clinton 'secret pact of ambition'
by Glenn Thrush

LAS VEGAS -- Barack Obama is starting to slip into his speeches a disputed account of a secret 20-year plan for both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton to win the White House.

"I'm not in this race to fulfill some long-held plan or because it was owed to me," Obama told a gathering of Nevada Democrats after Thursday night's Las Vegas debate.

That was a veiled reference to an account by biographers Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta that the Clintons sealed a "secret pact of ambition" to both win the presidency, which has been vehemently denied by Clinton advisers.

Asked if Obama was referring to the pact, a spokeswoman replied: "Barack Obama has not been mapping out his run for president from Washington for the last 20 years like some of his opponents."

Clinton spokesman Blake Zeff responded, "This is an odd statement, considering that the number of people who say Senator Obama talked about running for president as a youngster seems to grow daily."

Glenn Thrush reports for Newsday, a Tribune Co. newspaper.

Posted by Mark Silva on November 17, 2007 7:30 AM | Permalink

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

RUSSERT: But when asked by The New York Times whether Senator Clinton has been truthful, you said no.

OBAMA: What I said is that she has not been truthful and clear about this point that I just made...


OBAMA: It does not mean, I think, changing positions whenever it's politically convenient. And Senator Clinton, in her campaign, I think has been for NAFTA previously. Now she's against it. She has taken one position on torture several months ago, and then most recently has taken a different position. She voted for a war, to authorize sending troops into Iraq, and then later said this was a war for diplomacy.

I don't think that it--now, that may be politically savvy, but I don't think that it offers the clear contrast that we need. I think what we need right now is honesty with the American people about where we would take the country.

OBAMA (videotape): As we saw--as we saw in the debate last week, it encourages vague, calculated answers to suit the politics of the moment, instead of clear, consistent principles about how you would lead America. It teaches you that you can promise progress for everyday people, while striking a bargain with the very special interests who crowd them out.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Hillary supporters, please give me one example of a personal attack on Hillary made by Obama. Just one. Is it personal to say that when Hillary claims to be so experienced that she has to accept the failures of that experience as well as the triumphs, as Obama said when Bill kept saying on the trail that the health care fiasco was his fault and not Hillary's? Is it wrong for Obama to continue to point out that Hillary is constantly on the wrong side of issues (Iraq and Iran)? He didn't call her an idiot, or corrupt. She's taken more money from lobbyists and PACS than any Repugnantcan or Democratic candidate. Is it wrong for Obama to point that out? How is that a personal attack. He didn't call her sleazy. Obama has said time and time again that he considers Hillary to be an intelligent, hard-working and good senator. He just has some differences with her that happen to be huge. So quit with the "Obama attacks" stortline. You guys are really coming off as paranoid and petty. ne more thing, if Obama was writing full-on essays in kindergarten - if if they were in crayon - it just goes to show you how brilliant the man is. I was taste-testing crayons at that age. By the way, burnt umber tastes nasty. I prefer sky blue.

Posted by: markiebee001 | December 7, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Where are you headed with this complaint?"

You don't read well, do you?

" If false, Mr. Thomas' conversion would be easily disprovable. If true, it is emblematic for the emerging trend in the race."


"Where's the beef?"

I think you are exhibit A. A person able to type complete sentences is sheep enough to let this sort of "reporting" influence your opinion of a presidential candidate. Judging from the insane comments here, there may be others. There's the beef.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama may have been chipping away at Clinton while she tried to play the frontrunner and get her negatives down for the general, but he has never directly attacked her. He might have called individual statements or policy positions disingenuous, but that's a far cry from saying someone "says one thing and does another," as Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfman did recently.

I have to comment on lylepink - do you really think this guy is an Obama plant worked for the Clinton campaign for an entire year to set up leaving now? You see plants and conspiracies from the Obama camp behind every tree.

Posted by: Nissl | December 7, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

""claimed" switch? Is this a factual dispute?"


From the article:"Clinton officials said they lost touch with Thomas in October, and are skeptical of his claim that he left them because of her tone (she did not launch her offensive until this past Sunday)."

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

And my point in asking is, how does one discover a Mr Thomas? Does he in his capacity as an Obama campaign worker call Anne and offer a story idea? Does Anne call Obama's campaign and ask if they could supply someone who fits this "switched" profile? Unless Anne was hitting on the guy in a bar and his story just happened to come up, how does one explain this anecdote's existence at the Post without the intent on someone's part to support this overarching storyline?

That's why it matters.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

A last point zukermand.

Your big question is "how Ms Kornblut came by knowledge of Mr Thomas' claimed switch of allegiance."

"claimed" switch? Is this a factual dispute? Does a journalist need to provide affidavits?

Or is the issue merely how she "came by it?" Let's assume news of Mr. Thomas' switch came by certified mail, signed by David Axelrod. Is it unethical to crow over endorsements, whether switched from other candidates or not? Or perhaps it's just unprofessional for journalists to report them. Is there an equal time requirement? Where are you headed with this complaint?

With the objective facts showing Hillary slipping (and possibly sliding), the changing race is the story, the anecdote is the hook. If false, Mr. Thomas' conversion would be easily disprovable. If true, it is emblematic for the emerging trend in the race.

You have complained about word choice - "targeted" vs. "attacked". You have complained about the subject of the piece, which is headlines everywhere, particularly since Hillary publicly announced her decision to go negative. Where's the beef? For someone who (apparently) is all about the process and not hacking for a certain candidate, you have some very, er, particular sensitivities.

Posted by: bamyers | December 7, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Goodness Gracious, sakes alive!

This is like trying to grab a shaved weasel with greased hands. Everyone's all flyin' off half crooked. I've been following this junk with a meth-head's devotion (to meth, mine is to the campaign). HERE'S THE DEAL: HRC got great press every time she wiped herself for the first nine months of the year. When she managed to beat Obama in Fundraising in the third quarter, she was exalted as the second coming of Christ, especially by the WaPo. Chris Clizza actually had to change his pants. Obama, as Mr. Robinson coins, has been perceived as uppity and out of place, every assault by Hillary finding friendly ears and handy pens to take notes.
Edwards picked up that he needed to start doing something, so he began to ratchet up the rhetoric in September/October. HRC immediately replied in kind and continued (as she had since January) to tout that Obama does not have the requisite experience. (he does - its judgement that makes great presidents) Obama, as far as I'm concerned has NEVER gone negative. Every time he even whispers that he disagrees though, Her Royal Clinton's campaign immediately inundates the hungry beat reporters inbox with press releases saying the same thing over and over "We thought Obama was supposed to be the politician of hope, looks like he's abandoned that." or something similar. Any punch-drunk boxer could see that this was clearly not the case, but Hillary knows if you just say it, some idiot won't read the next day's paper and that will be their "Fact" going forward. That's also why an Iowa campaign chair for HRC sent out the extremely racist "Muslim plant/Terrorist" email about Obama that's been circulating from KKK members for the past 9 months.

Obama's recent commercial says it all. Yes I'm supporting Obama, because I've been following every step of this race for the past year and I KNOW he's the one who hasn't gone negative. Regardless of what the HRC campaign would like the WaPo to print, Obama has not directly attacked hillary herself, he has gone after POLICY. She has gone after him personally and poorly, why? Because even the "juggernaut" HRC campaign (FYI, it would be an interesting research project to find out how many times this newspaper has referred to Hillary's campaign as a "juggernaut", my guess is, at least once ever two days for the past 300 days) can't find dirt on the guy. The dirt they do find actually humanizes him because - as he was the ONLY candidate to admit (dem side) that he is not perfect, makes mistakes, and believes the true test of a person is what they do after they learn they've made a mistake. HRC, Bush, Cheney, "DENY DENY DENY, Don't equivocate, don't negotiate, and NEVER EVER EVER EVER ADMIT YOU WERE WRONG*. (*taken with permission from the HRC campaign playbook**) (**Copied without permission from the Republican National Committee official campaign playbook.)

Obama. All the way.

Posted by: Nemotoad | December 7, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"... I do think her campaign is hurting her.

From the beginning I've been talking about the campaign, and the perceptions of the electorate."

I guess we're different that way, I don't base my opinion on the "perceptions of the electorate".

" You keep implying that I have some kind of god/omniscience complex. It's known in some circles as an opinion."

We differ on what constitutes a matter of opinion.

"What's your motivation for running around the internet sticking your fingers in the dikes of HRC's campaign coverage?"

I've already answered this. And it's not just Clinton's coverage, I comment whenever I see these people hacking, regardless of candidate or party. I will admit, my perception of such is most frequent in Anne's coverage of Clinton, but I believe I back up all of my criticisms with specific supported examples.

"There's eight million stories on the political net, and you're all in a lather over "how Ms Kornblut came by knowledge of Mr Thomas' claimed switch of allegiance." Huh? Who cares?"

It's funny, you're concerned over Clinton's campaign and how it's perceived, but when the Washington Post seizes on an obviously cherry picked anecdote to make broad criticisms without evidentiary basis, you ask "Who cares?".

You're a character.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Not a Clinton hater. The things her campaign does have me heading that way, but when I hear her speak on policy in a non-circus setting, I regain some degree of appreciation for her strengths. I do think her campaign is hurting her.

From the beginning I've been talking about the campaign, and the perceptions of the electorate. You keep implying that I have some kind of god/omniscience complex. It's known in some circles as an opinion.

What's your motivation for running around the internet sticking your fingers in the dikes of HRC's campaign coverage? There's eight million stories on the political net, and you're all in a lather over "how Ms Kornblut came by knowledge of Mr Thomas' claimed switch of allegiance." Huh? Who cares?

Posted by: bamyers | December 7, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

cmartin gets it.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

This is all very interesting when you realize that it all started when one candidate didn't want to give the the opposing party the ammunition with which to defeat their party in the general election. I remember this happening once before and we are all living with the results.

I am not a fan of the "kum ba ya"(ph) school of thought but if something doesn't happen soon to change the dynamics, we may need to learn how to survive with some real flippers.

Posted by: cmartin | December 7, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

bamyers, you're a Clinton-hater. That's OK, you can hate anyone you like, this is America. Just don't try to pretend you're some sort of knowledgable, detached observer. It looks silly.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Have you in recent months switched candidate sides?


Posted by: jeffboste | December 7, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

"But either way, Thomas is now with Sen. Barack Obama, putting him on a growing list of Iowans who have switched from one candidate to another heading toward the caucuses."

I eagerly await Anne's article about the guy who switched from Obama to Clinton and the broad inferences we may draw from his reasons.

Any second now.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

zukermand, what I meant was that she has used pointed policy criticisms by Obama and Edwards as a justification for launching personal attacks, many of them baseless smears. "Smear" is overused, but when your campaign is (at the least) winking at the "Muslim Manchurian candidate" meme.

I have no idea what she feels, but she PROFESSES to feel that criticism of her Iraq/Iran votes that plausibly lumps her foreign policy views with those of the current admin is carte blanche for personal counterattacks on a "B.Hussein"/"Kindergate" level. The zest with which she has gone negative I think has caught everyone's notice.

I do note that you're not explicitly excusing this approach but more addressing what you see as slanted coverage. But who do you think brought kindergate to the fore, and have you noticed that no one's brought up HRC's numerous skeletons? The hate spam and hate memes of HRC supporters against Obama are so blind and so free of any factual basis that they cannot be taken seriously. They are the sideshow of the D primary discussion.

Posted by: bamyers | December 7, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Whatever the answers to my questions, it appears this gentleman was successful in engineering an anecdotal article under the byline of Anne Kornblut and the banner of the Washington Post about problems for Sen Clinton. And we all know how rare those are these days.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm interested to know how Ms Kornblut came by knowledge of Mr Thomas' claimed switch of allegiance.

Also, I would expect this gentleman to offer, and Anne to report, some support for his disputed, and central to the story, claim his work for Clinton ended "in recent weeks". This seems a substantial omission on Anne's part.

Interesting this gentlemen is presumed credible by Ms Kornblut. I wonder how she makes that determination.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a phony and opportunist.
Never before a less qualified person feel that America owe him respect.

He will turn out to be another Liberman in near future.

Posted by: lotus_med | December 7, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I find this all very disingenuous. You mean, Obama & Edwards can go negative for months, but Hillary can't take off her gloves? They can hit below the belt, but she cannot question their integrity or character? Her defector is allowed to do whatever he pleases, but I do not believe for one minute he had to score points like this except that he had a hidden agenda to do so, and wants to make a splash. Loyalty used to count for something.

I am an immigrant, and will vote for my President for the very first time next year. I will vote for Hillary. She is not perfect, by far. But she is more substance than style, unlike her opponent. At the end of the day, I will vote for her because I believe she has fought the good fight, and will be ready to tackle the difficult problems facing our country.

As for her opponent, I like Obama. But he is not ready yet tp be president.

Posted by: glenntan | December 7, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

I mean, really, bamyers, you write things like:
"Clinton feels herself to be above criticism on her policies and policy inconsistencies. That is the whole premise for her claiming the right to fight dirty - as in, personal, dishonest, and mean"

How could you possibly have any idea what "Clinton feels"?

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 11:22 AM | Report abuse

"And much like you, funneling your resentment into aspersions about the motives of any blogger who dares to report Hillary's downward trajectory.

Posted by: bamyers | December 7, 2007 10:27 AM "

I'll disregard your broad brush and address your criticism. This "blogger" is the lead Dem Primary reporter for the Washington Post. As to motives, I never guess motives. Unlike you, I don't pretend to read people's minds. I couldn't care less what Anne thinks, I don't want to know. All I care about is accurate, informative reporting, untainted by the silly Heather crap Ms Kornblut consistently aims at Sen Clinton, in particular. Rest assured, come the general, Anne's knives will be equally sharp for whichever Dem is nominated. I prefer she leave her opinion, and her snark, out of her reporting on any candidate. Is that so much to ask?

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

vwcat - really, Clinton has been treated with kid gloves by the Media - you've got to be kidding; she's borne the brunt of most of the criticism and also praise - more than anyone, anyone in the race, she has been put under a microscope and a different set of (double) standards. For 15 years, she's borne the brunt of unjust criticism fomented by the right wing, and now coagulating with young voters most of whom have no idea of history and why they're suddenly calling her "calculating" or "cold" or "witch," especially someone who devoted her life in defense of women, children, who helped deliver insurance to 5 million children in this country, who delivered a speech on women's rights as human rights in China to those who had been so oppressed, it was a turning point for many..her husband who has raised 10's of billions of dollars now for world relief, AIDS relief, and the environment, and was one of the best presidents of the 20th century, and she, of course, is the conniving, calculated, cold one. She has certainly NOT been treated with kid-gloves.

Posted by: bbln | December 7, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Obama is so "nice" that he doesn't even think Bush has committed impeachment offenses.
Sure would hate to see his DOJ!

John Edwards is the most principled and trustworthy - with a faithful wife of 30 years!

Posted by: JoseyJ | December 7, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Was Baxter the one eager to speak out, or Thomas? Some poor writing and editing here, Washington Post!!

Posted by: mvmichener | December 7, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Hillary is going negative because she FELL BEHIND.

It is very simple, as team with a comfortable lead will not take chances. She see's that she is falling behind Obama in Iowa, and had to do something to stop him.

Edwards could win Iowa. He would be the best nominee.

Posted by: river845 | December 7, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Obama turned me off long ago with his Bush Lite comments -- I viewed those as Bush Strong attack tactics.

Obama will cozy up to anyone who is nice to him: this includes strong support for Lieberman in the primary and saying nice things about extremely rightwing Senators.

Posted by: Respectthe9thAmendment | December 7, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Obama and Edwards have been extremely negative for months now. Obama and his wife, and Edwards and his wife have said some of the most personally insulting, vindictive, outrageous things about Hillary--she finally comes back and calls them out for the phonies they are (particularly Obama), and it makes headlines? Crazy.

Obama is the worst candidate running for the nomination--no experience and a glossy makeover for a newbie who has no idea what he is doing and would be a terrible president. THANK YOU, Hillary, for calling him out for the complete fraud that he is.

Posted by: byron_msl | December 7, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Mike Huckabee arguing over whether his support for Wayne DuMond was for probation or clemency.

He's making an unwinnable pitch for his political survival, much like Hillary. Relevance?

And much like you, funneling your resentment into aspersions about the motives of any blogger who dares to report Hillary's downward trajectory.

Posted by: bamyers | December 7, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Wow, bamyers, you're one astute political observer. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for your insights into the minds of other candidates. For example, why is Mike Huckabee arguing over whether his support for Wayne DuMond was for probation or clemency. I can't really see the difference politically but it must be significant. I'm sure you can explain it. I'll check back soon. Thanks.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Clinton feels herself to be above criticism on her policies and policy inconsistencies. That is the whole premise for her claiming the right to fight dirty - as in, personal, dishonest, and mean.

But if there is one thing the larger electorate does get, it is issues of basic fairness. They may not all care about the differences in health care policy or Iran, but the fake excuses for going negative will not fly with anyone who's made it through their grade school playground days. Going negative is questionable; trumpeting the fact that she is is surely a bad idea; fake claims that she has been forced to do it will sink Hillary. Deservedly.

Posted by: bamyers | December 7, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"The switch by one man -- even someone in elected office, as Thomas, a Burlington city council member is -- may mean little in the end"

Of course that doesn't prevent Anne from making it the hook for a "Hillary's sinking" piece.

"Clinton, after months of being targeted by her chief rivals"

Interesting choice of "targeting" rather than "attacking". I appreciate the nod to reality, but could have done without the soft pedal. Of course, considering Anne has never used the term "attack" to characterize an Obama criticism of Sen Clinton, it's to be expected.

Posted by: zukermand | December 7, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Edwards has not been attacked by Hillary and Obama because they don't want to give the impression he is a credible candidate. Between hiis incredible flip flopping and his complete lack of any releavant experience, not to metion his lackluster following in the south, NC and SC in particlular, he is very easy to crticize. He wants to be criticized and given attention.

Posted by: GGGF55 | December 7, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"A vote for obama is selling out America for TV entertainment. Shame on Oprah"
- dyck21005

So is a vote for Hillary selling out America to the music industry because Barbra Streisand supports her? I guess endorsements are only bad if they're for your opponent?

Posted by: winstonsalem | December 7, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

To Hillary:

Calling someone on saying two different things on policies = mudslinging and attack Democratic brethren

Smearing someone with a)stuff they wrote in Kindergarten b)false muslim rumours over the internets c)unfounded accusations of "dirty tricks d)etc.... = drawing contrasts between candidates

Posted by: gobanana910 | December 7, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

When Edwards and Obama respond to another candidate's position on drivers liscense, who flip flops THAT IS NOT AN ATTACK!

When a candidate ATTACKS a candidates kindergarten dreams THAT IS AN ATTACK.

If candidates didn't respond to the others postions that wouldn't be a DEBATE !

Debates are where candidates RESPOND TO THEIR OPPONENTS POSITIONS.

Attacks are where A CANDIDATE RESPONDS OUTSIDE A DEBATE WITH childish inuendo about a candidates kindergarten dreams.

Posted by: PaProgressiveDem | December 7, 2007 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Obama and Edwards have been running the negative attacks on Hillary, very personal attacks, since this race started. Of course she has to fight back? Otherwise the media would be reporting she won't fight??? I agree the media is not treating Mrs. Clinton fairly. It's because she is a woman, a powerful, smart, intelligent former First Lady, Senator, with a positive vision to help save our great country from bush/Chaney admin, and the republicans who have been selling America for the last 7years! But that doesn't sell newspapers or magazines. All Obama has to offer is the smoke screen of a TV talk show host. WE the voters DO NOT ABOUT OPRAHS DOG AND PONY SHOW! Leading obama around the ring like a circus trick... We need solutions ASAP, save the country NOW! For the sake of our children! Don't place your faith and vote in a person who cannot handle the job... A vote for obama is selling out America for TV entertainment. Shame on Oprah

Posted by: dyck21005 | December 7, 2007 7:17 AM | Report abuse

John Edwards was the one who was attacking Hillary Clinton, even using the word "corrupt" in regard to her. So why did she attack Obama instead of Edwards except that its politican and not sincere? She said for months and months that she wouldn't attack Democrats and then she goes and attacks the guy who didn't attack her. Chris Dodd was the one who went after her about the drivers licenses in that debate. Why didn't she attack him?

Posted by: Malia2 | December 6, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

david...: Didn't mean you, your comment came in while I was typing mine.

Posted by: lylepink | December 6, 2007 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I am a strong Hillary supporter and can not find what the previous comments are all about, except they are Obama supporters. Ms. Kornblut is very much in the category I often describe as "Hillary Haters". This "Defector" seems to get his "FACTS" a little mixed up and was, more likely supportive of Obama all along, and knew by doing this would bring about the negative story that Ms. Kornblut has just written. Happens all the time, and it still works, as us old timers know.

Posted by: lylepink | December 6, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Obama and Edwards went negative in Iowa a long time ago. And they began drawing their "differences" months ago...months in the plural use of that word. Vwcat, you should do a quick search of a few news archives. Your eyes will be opened.

October 2007:

August 2007:

July 2007:

Posted by: davideltrabajador | December 6, 2007 10:13 PM | Report abuse

She's not drawing distinctions- she is trying to draw blood. Obama loves the thrust and parry of his duel with Hillary. And he is proving to be much more adept at it than she is. The Clinton people are in panic mode.

Posted by: kolp999 | December 6, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

For every negative personal attack on any candidate, I am donating to the targeted candidate. We all should be concerned about negative personal attacks. We should not reward such irresponsible acts from our candidates. We are already paying for tolerating such tactics. That is why we have a Bush in the White House instead of McCain, Gore or Kerry. What is sad is that our passive tolerance of this matter fosters a political environment that is disdained by decent and capable public servants.

Posted by: Sirack | December 6, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: julieds | December 6, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

After months of attacks???
Clinton has had kid glove treatment by the press and by her rivals all year until a month ago when they had difference on policy.
Clinton went negative on the personal. On character and not policy like Obama and Edwards.
I can't believe the Washington Post is so wrong on their 'facts' all the time.
Edwards nor Obama went after Clinton personally like she has with Obama. And they began drawing differences a month ago not many months.
Please, try to report the real facts.

Posted by: vwcat | December 6, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

HRC naive and irresponsible and patronizing negativity has been there since summer.

Obama, Edwards, Biden are true leaders, and do not take anyone for granted.

Fortunately, Iowans have the patience to sieve through it all

Posted by: FebM | December 6, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

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