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Trying to Heal a Rift in New Hampshire

By Alec MacGillis
Three New Hampshire Democratic leaders who signed a letter two days before the state's primary at the request of Hillary Clinton's campaign, attacking Barack Obama as soft in his support for abortion rights, are asking Obama supporters in the state to put the rifts of the primary campaign behind them and praising Obama for being "strongly pro-choice."

Of the two dozen prominent women who signed the critical letter, e-mailed by the Clinton campaign to a list of supporters and undecided voters, three have now signed their names to another missive asking abortion rights supporters in the state to come together and take comfort in the fact that all of the Democratic presidential candidates are firmly pro-choice. One of the three Clinton supporters went even further, saying in an interview Thursday that signing the letter attacking Obama was a "mistake."

Katie Wheeler, a former state senator, said the Clinton campaign had not given her background information about Obama's record on abortion rights when it asked her to sign the letter calling him weak on the issue, and said that, as a result, she did not understand the context of the votes that the letter was attacking him over.

"It should never have gotten to the point where anyone thought Obama was not pro-choice," said Wheeler, a founder of the New Hampshire chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "I don't think the Clinton campaign should have done that. It was divisive and unnecessary...I think it was a mistake and I've spoken to the national [Clinton campaign] and told them it caused problems in New Hampshire, and am hoping they won't do it again."

The new letter and comments by Wheeler are the latest twist in a back-and-forth that Obama supporters believe did real damage to his campaign in the final days in New Hampshire, though Wheeler said she doubted that the e-mail had that much impact in the final day of the race. "I don't think this one thing would sway people," she said.

Nonetheless, the conflict over Obama's "present" -- rather than "yes" or "no" -- votes on abortion bills in the Illinois legislature has left behind such deep divisions among the state's Democrats that some Obama supporters vowed, in the wake of her come-from-behind N.H. win, not to vote for Clinton, should she become the party's nominee.

The e-mail arrived in selected New Hampshire in-boxes shortly after a postcard from the Clinton campaign that attacked Obama for being "unwilling to take a stand for choice" was mailed to homes.

"The difference between Hillary's repeatedly standing up strong on choice and Obama's unwillingness to vote 'yes' or 'no' is a clear contrast, and we believe the voters in New Hampshire deserve to know this difference," the e-mail stated. "We support Hillary Clinton because she never ducked when choice was at stake."

The Clinton campaign has made the same charge repeatedly over the past year, including a couple weeks before the Iowa caucus. The Obama campaign had rebuffed it by invoking statements by an Illinois Planned Parenthood official, who said the "present" votes were part of a deliberate strategy to protect other pro-choice legislators, other than Obama, in vulnerable districts.

But the fresh New Hampshire attack arrived much closer to election day, leaving the Obama forces scrambling to respond by rushing out an automated phone call on the evening of Jan. 6, two days before the vote. On primary day, Clinton won by two percentage points after trailing in the final polls by as much as 10 percent, thanks in large part to a last-minute surge in support from women.

The new e-mail seeking conciliation was signed by five prominent Clinton supporters in the state -- including Wheeler, House Speaker Terie Norelli, and state senator Maggie Hassan, the three who signed the initial attack. The letter, which was also signed by several Obama supporters, states that "many of us...engaged in good faith in the rough and tumble of competitive politics. In doing so, feelings have been bruised and some deep anger has emerged." It goes on to downplay the dispute created by the initial e-mail as "nuanced differences" which should not be allowed to "drain our energy." And it concludes, in seeming contrast to the initial attack on Obama's abortion rights credentials, that "The good news is that all of the candidates within the Democratic Party are strongly pro-choice and we should be proud that our efforts have led to such a solid field. "

In the interview Thursday, Wheeler said she was not aware of the explanation of Obama's present votes by Illinois Planned Parenthood when she agreed to sign the critical letter at the request of Clinton officials in New Hampshire.

"What we didn't know was the circumstances of those Illinois pro-choice votes. Since then we've learned that it was the plan of the pro-choice community in Illinois. These were subtleties that those of us in the Clinton campaign here didn't understand," she said. "I for one did not understand the present votes....I did not know the full context."

Wheeler said she regretted the ill will it had caused. "I'm sorry there was a misunderstanding, and we're hoping to heal divisions that still may exist," she said. "It's a real pity it got so intense, but that's what happens in that close an election. People get impassioned and lose their judgment..It was the heat of emotions in a tight election where everybody cared deeply about the issue, and many of us over-reacted."

The other two Clinton supporters who signed both the critical e-mail and the conciliatory one stood more strongly by the initial one. Sen. Hassan said she, too, was unaware of the Illinois Planned Parenthood defense of Obama at the time she signed the critical letter, that she had only been told by the Clinton campaign that the Illinois chapter of NOW had cited concerns about Obama's present votes. She said it was wrong for anyone to suggest that Obama was not pro-choice, and that she was sorry about the upset that the letter had caused.

But Hassan stood by what she said was the main point of the initial e-mail, that Clinton was the most staunchly pro-choice Democrat. "All of the leading Democratic candidates are strongly pro-choice but I think Hillary's record is unparalleled. I stand by what I signed before the election and don't think it's inconsistent with" the new e-mail stating that Obama is strongly pro-choice, Hassan said. "Everybody's going to interpret these letters and e-mails as they want to."

Norelli, the House Speaker, said she had been aware of the Planned Parenthood defense of Obama's Illinois record at the time she signed the critical e-mail but was comfortable with the letter's attack against Obama nonetheless, noting the concerns of the Illinois NOW chapter had raised about the votes. "I would say that the record is clear that he voted 'present' seven times. Planned Parenthood, some of the time at least, says it was part of a deal. Well, NOW says that in 2004, they chose not to endorse Sen. Obama" because of the votes, Norelli said. "I would say every voter needs to have all the factual information and each individual needs to make their own decision."

As for the new conciliatory note, Norelli said there was no inconsistency in calling Obama "strongly pro-choice" after attacking him on the present votes. "I would take any of the Democratic candidates on issues of choice over any of the Republican candidates. But I would take Hillary Clinton and her leadership on choice over Senator Obama," she said. Norelli said the purpose of the latest e-mail was to help calm the ruffled feathers of the Obama supporters. "We are working to heal any problems that there are among the Democrats and looking forward to working together closely," she said. "They have time to get over it."

One of the Obama supporters who signed the reconciliation e-mail, Mary Rauh, said she did so because she was very worried that the rift created by the primary could seriously harm abortion rights efforts in the state if it was left unadressed. But she said that she remained aggrieved by the Clinton attack and by the willingness of so many Democratic leaders in the state to go along with it, and worried by reports that similar e-mails attacking Obama on abortion rights have gone out in other states preparing to vote.

"We still have battles to fight in New Hampshire and we can't let dirty politics destroy the choice voice here. It's too important," Rauh said. "But for Clinton to do this to the choice community is so appalling. I can't tell you how it distresses me ... how devastating this and how horrified I am that the Clinton campaign would do this. I fear it will happen elsewhere and it's just appalling."

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 18, 2008; 4:06 PM ET
 
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Comments

HRC has some hell of a f*cking NERVE saying Obama's commitment to choice is soft, when she herself, days after the 2004 Republican rout (remember all those "values voters"?) described herself as "moderately pro-life." Hah! What dies THAT mean? What mealy mouthed bullsh*t. She was typically, wetting her finger and sticking it in the wind.

Meanwhile, she has pushed adoption far, far more than abortion in her public life. She supported the bankruptcy "reform" bill, which hurt women and children. Yeah it takes a village, all right----to kick Hillary's a*s!

Posted by: jgmurphyj | February 25, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, how sad and mean from the clitons to have done such an awful thing, do they know what it takes for a woman to end her pregnancy? This not a easy thing to do. women who do so are sometimes obliged to trough such a devasating experience to avoid having a child from rape and others just cannot for many reasons bring the pregnancy to term.BUT, none of those women who did it enjoyed it, they all are very saddned by it. For the Clintons to use this painful experience to advance their agenda is just WRONG AND PURE EVIL. SHAME ON THEM. I'll be voting against them in Maryland and if she is nominated, I'll vote republican. Obama is completely right, we need healing, not this kind of atrocity from our president. I'm done with the Clintons.

Posted by: adakamba | January 29, 2008 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Where is this petition? I am appalled and disgusted by the lies of the Clinton campaign. As a woman, I find HC's egregious and blatant distortion of any candidate working for woman's rights is completely unconscionable and unacceptable. I will never compromise my integrity as a person nor my values as a woman by voting for Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: arielwire | January 29, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Barack inspires, Bill backfires

Posted by: FebM | January 28, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Too little and far too late ladies. No way, no how and never will this independent vote for divisive politics and those who live by them. Maybe I am the only one ???

Posted by: jim.bickerstaff | January 28, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, too little to late Katie. There is no doubt in my mind that the underhanded, despicable tactics of the Clintonistas, the N.H. Democratic machine and WOMEN such as Ms. Wheeler cost Obama N.H., tactics such as these and Hillary's crocodile tears. Didn't bother to research the charges first? How pathetic, and unfortunate, as it just feeds into the perception that women are mindless lemmings. Count me in. ANYONE but Hillary. Her and her husband's sense of entitlement is beyond arrogant.

Not only will she not get my vote if nominated, I will vote for McCain or Bloomberg to assure she never sets one foot in the WH again. How short our memories...Rose Law Firm, Travelgate, FBIgate, Whitewater. She'd throw any one of us under the bus in a heartbeat in order to protect/promote her own self interests, so lest we forget, here's a little reminder of what we're in for should "sister" Hlllary be elected.


"Who is going to find out? These women are trash. Nobody's going to believe them." -on Bill Clinton's bimbo eruptions

Posted by: sandtats | January 23, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

jrosecrans ~ Where's the site... I need to SIGN UP! I am a Feb. 5 voter and Hillary will most definately NOT be getting my vote. If she is the nominee.... still not getting my vote. Now I know some will say you are just givng your vote to a Republican... so be it. I am not going to let her act in this disgusting fashion and then just "hand" her MY VOTE! Sorry - my vote needs to be EARNED and she has not done that. Yes, a woman president would be great, but this is not what I wanted from teh "First" Woman President. I need integrity and class - honesty & character. I am having a hard time finding that in Senator Clinton. Shame on you Hillary for playing Repulican politics. That is not what the Democrat Party needs!

Posted by: Dlarosa13 | January 23, 2008 5:27 AM | Report abuse

Please do not blame Howard Dean for this Clinton fiasco. As Chairman of the Democratic Party, he is forbidden to endorse or to take sides for any of the candidates. He must remain absolutely neutral until a nominee is chosen. Then and only then is he permitted to speak out. Believe me, if Clinton becomes the nominee she will bury Howard Dean. She hates him.

If any of you are familiar with the Clintons, then you know they have been trying to destroy Howard Dean since 2003. They have consistently attacked him as Chairman of the DNC and did everything in their power to prevent him from becoming the head of the Party. The Clinton gang of thugs which include Terry McAwful, aka Terry McAuliff, James Carville, Paul Begala, Rahm Emanuel and the whole gang of DLC thugs fear losing their power to new Democrats coming into office through grassroots elections that have been the cornerstone of the 50 State Strategy that was the creation of Howard Dean. We have every bit as much to fear from the Clintons as the Republicans such as the Bush appointees, the Bush supreme court, and the Bush policies that have so devistated our country. We will not take our country back with a Clinton administration.

Posted by: marciagm | January 21, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

As I go from website to website, reading comments in response to articles like this, I have noticed a trend -- the number of people who have taken a "pledge" to not vote for Hilary Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee. Is this the beginning of something? I wonder what would happen if we started a website to organize Democrats who are disgusted with the Clintons' sleazy campaign tactics and who pledge not to vote for Hillary as a result of these tactics. I was most upset by House Speaker Terie Norelli's comment that "[Obama supporters] have time to get over it." What if we don't get over it? What if we do something about it?

Posted by: jrosecrans | January 20, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse


Well Eleanor after the fiasco here in NH, I would have thought you'd be cautious about carrying water for the Clinton campaign, but it appears you haven't yet learned to stay away from their poisoned bait, so let me respond to your post.

(a) Number of 'present' votes - a total of 130 out of over 4000 votes taken, many of the rest on procedural matters except for the Trojan Horse bills. In any number of the remaining cases, Obama had legal or constitutional objections to bills that appeared facially attractive, and used that mechanism - accepted practice in Illinois - to register his concerns. He has been after all a constitutional law professor, and has a focus on such matters, even if that nuance is unimportant to others....

(b) Illinois NOW - if their disagreement with ILL PP was purely tactical, how does that illustrate a lack of political courage? Is NOW's judgment on such matters determinative, and how does opting for one tactical political judgment from a choice group over another support that charge?

It appears that NOW and it's PAC are simply angry that he chose to cooperate with PP on this issue, rather than standing on the ramparts and waving the battle flag, leaving other Demo legislators hanging out to dry. You admit this yourself when you refer to the fact that NOW looked at the PP strategy and 'found it [the strategy] lacking'.

Some organizations prefer to take an absolutist stand every time they find a principle at work, even if it risks political defeat; others choose to neutralize the political risk of anti-choice legislation by countering it with tactical responses. The first - apparently NOW's preference - may make you feel good about yourself, but is often damaging in the longer term; the other is less satisfying emotionally, but neutralizes political damage to the reproductive rights cause.

This isn't about principle, it's an inside baseball arguments about tactics, and as Katie Wheeler at least recognized, it's intellectually dishonest and ethically repugnant to send people to the barricades with incomplete and misleading information.

Take a look at Eric Zorn's column from the Chicago Trib in 2004 for a better understanding of the company Obama was keeping when he voted 'present':

"Disparagement Of Obama Votes Doesn't Hold Up."...Obama's 'present' vote on that bill is one Hull is attacking him for in a flier decorated with rubber duckies. Sutherland just laughs. 'We also had [Democratic Senate leader] Emil Jones, [current Atty. Gen.] Lisa Madigan, Miguel del Valle, Rickey Hendon and other very strong pro-choice legislators voting `present' on that one,' she said. 'It was all done to pull "present" votes off the fence.' Obama confirmed Sutherland's account of the legislative strategy and said, 'No one was more active to beat back those bills than I was.' 'Criticizing Obama on the basis of "present" votes indicates you don't have a great understanding of the process,' said Thom Mannard, director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence."

(c) A vote for choice in the NH Legislature isn't as difficult as it's been in past times (I assume you refer to repeal of parental notification). The political tide was running with you, with pro-choice party figures leading both the House and the Senate, and a pro-choice Governor ready to support it. I don't see how this supports your argument.

As a politically active NH resident, I have a pretty good understanding of the damage that the Clintons wreaked on the NH party. You may not like the fact that a lot of NH voters were taking names on this issue, but you are ignoring it at your peril. If you're running for re-election, you'll be having some interesting conversations as you go door to door. It's going to take a while to repair the damage this has caused to the party, and it's exactly this heedlessness on the part of the Clintons that stokes the widespread resentment at their behavior.

Posted by: zoot1 | January 20, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

These NH Clinton supporters have been playing with fire. If, by supporting Clinton in these low-brow tactics, they believe they are supporting the greater good, come November if their woman is the nominee and she loses, what will they have gained? I am completely prepared to cut off my nose to spite my face I am so angry and disillusioned over these tactics. The Clintons have repeatedly distorted Obama's record and his positions in this race to the degree that I am finally beginning to understand why Republicans hate her so much. I will not be voting in the general election if Hillary is the nominee. Period. I will be pulling for a Bloomberg/Obama ticket if that happens.

Posted by: kathleen.mcgee | January 20, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I'll just succinctly say that I totally agree with all the posters who say they'll never ever vote for Clinton. The tactics of both Hill and Bill are despicable. How can anyone continue to support them when stories come out every single day detailing all their dirty tricks. And when will the MSM start reporting the news of all the Clinton crap?

Posted by: knuckleroad | January 20, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

When I heard the results of the NH Primary, I sensed that something was wrong. In my heart I knew that the Clintons had won "by any means necessary". It is a sad commentary that many of the women leaders in NH were so gullible as to take action without knowing the facts! What kind of leadership is this? Was it a part of the strategy to do the damage and apologize later?

It is my hope that the Obama campaign will continue to uphold the high standards he is noted for and what America needs. "Truth crushed to earth will rise again" Obama is the winner in NH, he won more delegates in Nevada than Hillary and will continue to rise.


Posted by: rosemsloan | January 20, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I would never vote for Hillary Clinton and will vote for any Republican if she is the Democratic nominee.

These New Hampshire people are incredible: How could they think they wouldn't have heard it from any number of sources if one of the leading Democratic candidates wasn't sufficiently pro-choice? It wouldn't be just coming from the Hillary Clinton campaign.

I read that Shaheen has fallen way behind Sununu in the polls already.

Posted by: Malia2 | January 19, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

After Iowa,

And the campaign released a statement from Chicago NOW director Lorna Brett, who devised the strategy on abortion issues that led Obama to vote present, saying "I am a supporter of Hillary Clinton and an Emily's list donor, but this line of attack is unacceptable. While I was the president of Chicago NOW, Senator Obama worked closely with us, could not have been more supportive of a woman's right to choose, and there was no bigger champion in Illinois on our issues."
http://cameron.blogs.foxnews.com/2007/12/04/emilys-list-goes-after-obamas-leadership-on-choice/

After New Hampshire,

The tone of Senator Clinton's campaign has been so negative that even her supporters are saying enough is enough. Lorna Brett, a former Clinton donor and president of Chicago National Organization for Women, had this to say about the tactics:

"I was disappointed that Hillary Clinton would launch misleading attacks on Barack Obama and his unimpeachable record on a woman's right to choose. I have switched my support to Barack Obama because I know the truth. I cannot be a part of that kind of deceptive politics."

http://campaignemails.blogspot.com/2008/01/obamas-nevada-campaign-points-finger-at.html

Posted by: jbialer | January 19, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

'But I would take Hillary Clinton and her leadership on choice over Senator Obama'

You should be ashamed of yourself Ms. Norelli. You and other women who are willing to overlook the manner in which the Clintons are conducting this campaign and brush aside that you were used, are almost beneath contempt.

Nice example that you are setting for young women when you are subscribing to the idea that winning is everything, nevermind how you get there.

It seems to me that strong women want to be judged on their accomplishments and not on the lies and distortions of someone else. How you can condone what the Clinton campaign is doing is beyond me. Not only are they killing the democratic party, but they are setting the women's movement and civil rights back 1000 miles.

I will not be voting for Clinton (now or ever) if she is the nominee. I have to assume that the way she is running her campaign (or allowing it to be run) is very indicative of how she will run her presidency. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.

If people don't wake up pretty soon, we will be losing alot more than the Whitehouse.

oh, and BTW, not reading something and knowing what your signing is a ludicrious excuse. But seeing as how Ms. Clinton didn't read the NIE report before she voted for the war, I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. (And don't try and justify that by saying she wasn't the only one, from where I sit, it seems that the people who did read the NIE report voted against the war.)


Posted by: skylab2 | January 19, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone thinking of organizing a national group of Women for Obama?

Has anyone contacted the national head of NOW and Planned Parenthood to publically endorse Obama?

What I don't understand is the dicing of votes. Obama has been clearly in support of womens isses, but for seven present votes at the request of PP.

He's also responsible for the All Kids health plan in Illinois that offered health care for 70,000 kids and 84,000 adults, where all kids qualify for $40 per child.

He expanded early childhood education. In the US Senate, he cosponsored the Healthy Kids Act of 2007 and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2007 to ensure that more American children have affordable health care coverage.

Obama worked to pass a number of laws in Illinois and Washington to improve the health of women. His accomplishments include creating a task force on cervical cancer, providing greater access to breast and cervical cancer screenings, and helping improve prenatal and premature birth services.

He's also passed laws, as primary sponsor, that work to limit nuclear proliferation, provide transparency to government spending, ethics legislation for both Illinois and US government, alternative energy funding, VA health benefits, funding for Congo and Darfu.

These are the legislation that has been enacted with his help.

So, if Hillary and Obama have similar pro-choice records, why are people standing by Hillary when Obama has been much better at passing legislation that impacts our lives?

What does Hillary do to these people that makes them so hostile they say things later that they regret?

I'd like to help if anyone has any suggestions on how we can stand together on this. I've never been an organizer before, but I'm almost at the point of starting.

Posted by: kiku | January 19, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons, by hook and by crook will destroy the Democratic party. How tragic that we allow an outstanding candidate to be taken down and ground up by the corrupt Clinton machine. Divide and destroy is the Clinton mantra.

Posted by: Marnie42 | January 19, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Attention Hillary supporters in this WaPo piece: I'm a single middle aged woman in a Feb 05 state..she lost my vote after I heard about this aweful and deceitful tactic..she used you to spread lies. I spoke to NOW myself..

Hillary lost my Feb 05 vote and if God forbid, she's the nominee, I'm either staying home or voting Republican..she's a disgrace to women and all democrats because she's using tactics that are disgusting, that are Rove inspired...I hope you too consider your vote..

Posted by: maelisa | January 19, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

What kind of people are these women? They sign a paper that makes a statement against another person and they didn't know if it was even true? I hope NH votes these women OUT of office when their term is up.

I know that I have joined the club that will NEVER vote for Clinton. The dirty slime-ridden, slash & burn politics of the Clintons is frightening. But what is more frightening is the women who signed this letter without an ounce of proof. And then the silly women who accepted it a face value.

I am a 59 year-old woman and I am ashamed of the actions of women around this country and their support of Clinton who has the ethics of a snake. Howard Dean is not high on my list either. The DNC is allowing the Clintons to destroy the dem party.

The Clintons caused us to lose the house & senate during Bills first term (I believe it was his first 2 years). It looks like we're heading in that direction again thanks to people like the women in NH.

Posted by: danmic | January 19, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

DITTO

""They can apologize all they want, I will NEVER vote for Hillary after the Clintons' sliming and lying. I am president of my local Planned Parenthood chapter and having a pro-choice president is critical. But for the first time in my voting life, I will stay home, vote for the Green Party Candidate or write in Obama if she is the nominee. If I wanted to vote for a candidate with no integrity who is willing to do anything to win, I'd vote for a Republican.

Posted by: Free_Ride2300 | January 18, 2008 05:12 PM"""

DITTO

Posted by: DANIELLECLARKE | January 19, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I absolutely will take the pledge as a woman against HRC.. I'll never vote for her.. I'll either stay at home or vote for a republican first. We should ban together to keep her out, and she'll never be the first woman in the white house if she's waiting for this black woman's vote. Shame on the women in NH. I hope all of you can sleep at night, you were played for fools by the Clintons..

Posted by: raemackenzie | January 19, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

They're concerned about "ruffled feathers"? They should be thinking more in terms of "chickens coming home to roost."

Those who live by "rough and tumble" tactics will lose elections by "rough and tumble" tactics. When House Speaker Terie Norelli and State Senator Maggie Hassan are up for re-election, I'm sure they'll welcome their own records being closely examined and then spun by a bunch of people who don't know and don't care about the actual truth, but want to win at any cost.

Those women (and do notice they were all women) behaved disgracefully.

Posted by: TomJx | January 19, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

After years of defending the Clintons during the 90's I am now so totally sick of them. Their sense of entitlement to the nomination is so transparent and their willingness to mow down anyone in their path is just too much to stomach. Where were all these "hardball" tactics when they could have been useful in dealing with the Republicans during the last 7 years?

I have to live with myself, and in good conscience I cannot and will not vote for Hillary.

Posted by: janetj1 | January 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Still more deceit from Clinton supporters, even in the comments in this thread. Holdencaufield claims that the head of the Illinois PP is a gay man who is lying about the present votes to support Obama.

Well, the head of Illinois Planned Parenthood is Pam Sutherland, a woman. She gave an extensive interview to Newsweek on this matter which you can find here:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/91755/output/print

SNIP: >>Pam Sutherland, president of Illinois Planned Parenthood, tells NEWSWEEK that the ploy was her idea: "Senator Obama was always a no vote in committee, but we had other Democrats, and a couple of Republicans, who were tired of having mailers sent out against them." Sutherland says Obama could have voted no without suffering any negative fallout, since he came from a very liberal Chicago district. But, she says, his participation in the deal helped give cover to his colleagues.>>

But, of course, we should believe the Clintonistas who have been so honest to date who are, at this moment, spreading lies to the Jewish community that Obama is anti-semitic, the same way Bill Clinton did about Paul Tsongas. Bill Clinton apologized for it later . . . after the damage was done.

ENOUGH CLINTON DRAMA. ENOUGH CLINTON LIES!

Posted by: Free_Ride2300 | January 19, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Clinton playbook is all about lies and distortion, even to the point of lying to their own supporters. And shame on their supporters for not doing the research before they jumped on the bandwagon and drank so copiously of the Kool-Aid.

No, we won't get over it. Remember, payback is H - E - double hockey sticks, don't cha know.

If you want to go back to the divisive politics of the 90s, vote for Hillary.

If you want someone with better ideas, vote for BARACK OBAMA. It's just that simple.

BTW, Happy Monica-gate Day!

Posted by: jade_7243 | January 19, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

eleanor,

Can you give links of creditable sources for your accusations and everybody else above your post?


BLT

Posted by: wtobie | January 19, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Following links on this issue from a prior post by Mr. MacGillis reveals that,as Speaker Norellli said, the NOW organization in Illinois in 2004 chose not to endorse Mr.Obama because of his failure to vote for choice, instead voting to protect himself and others from what may have impacted them unfavorably in their districts. The mailer in question did not accuse Obama of not being pro-choice-but of not standing up for choice when given the opportunity. NOW Illinois was there, understood the strategy he developed with Planned Parenthood and found it lacking. We should remember that these 7 "present" votes on Choice issues are only a part of the 126 times Obama voted "present". Republicans have characterized that as not good leadership- "when it appears the rookie did not take all his at-bats". This record of shirking instead of standing up for a principle even when it may have been politically risky will be brought up and combined with what the Republicans told us in a debate that they would attack Obama on- his lack of experience. So while some Obama supporters may cry foul ,and Choice community leaders try to reach out to the aggrieved, we as Democrats are still facing the challenge of putting forth our strongest candidate, with the most experience and whose record of always taking a stand and voting yea or nay even when it may have been difficult is clear. That candidate is Hillary Clinton. It is not a smear or dirty politics when the truth is spoken- even right before an election. Better the facts are revealed within our own party in the primary,than by the Repubicans in November. As a new NH legislator , I have had to take a stand and vote to support choice in the Legislature. I have no sympathy that a strategy designed to protect a legislator has backfired. I would have signed the original letter if asked and would not apologize for having done so now. The record and the history of the circumstances is clear - despite the Obama apologist's revision today. Some of the loudest NH complainers are well-known to have been against the Clintons for their own reasons separate from this issue and are jumping on the bandwagon to bring down our strongest candidate.

Posted by: eleanor | January 19, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

In 2003 and 2004 I worked for national Planned Parenthood promoting the '"Stand up for Choice " march on the National mall.

The work of the PP clinics is totally separated from thee political work of the local PP offices and fiefdoms.

Though I sadly found the new england PP to be run by a vain, insular and self promoting leadership, it was nothing as compared to Chicago PP.

In my 20 years in national politics I have never ever worked with a more dysfunctional group of faux activists and limousine liberals in my life. I also have never seen a political "leader", the exec dir of Illinois planned Parenthood, who lied so often and still was so bad at it. He [not a woman, but a member of the gay male clique and club that runs much of the politics of PP}was the singularly most deceitful person I have ever worked with on any kind of project. He lied to me repeatedly and the national PP office just collectively just shrugged its shoulders.

I have zero doubts that he and Ill. PP is lying about the "deal" with obama over the present votes. Obviously, he would do such thing in order to have A very grateful home town Senator and potential President in his debt.

Since other democratic members of the state senate say they had never heard of such a "deal", can someone explain to me the strategy of how it would work if not all of the members of the democratic caucus DID NOT know about it? If not, what the heck was the point?

This "plan" simply is a lie and the press has never asked about this problem and logical question.

Posted by: holdencaulfield | January 19, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

There's beginning to be a pattern with the Clintons. They are truly showing themselves. One has to wonder why the importance of this election would cause them to stoop so low as to destroy areas of the Democrat Party?
I fault Gov. Howard Dean as much as the Clinton's for not stepping in and take control before the Dems lose the White House, Senate, and House?

I have said for the past 3 weeks, if Hillary is the Party candidate - I will NOT vote for the first time in over 35 in tje Presidential race, unless a 3rd Party puts up a viable candidate.
It's all about Hillary and we need a President that puts this country #ONE

Posted by: mknitkowski | January 19, 2008 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton made a fool out of New Hampshire women who gave her the win at the expense of women's rights across America.
I will never vote for Hillary, but if she wins the Democratic nomination, I'll go to the polls and write in Obama in the general election.

Posted by: Katy7540 | January 19, 2008 3:19 AM | Report abuse

They're "hoping to heal divisions"? That's pretty audacious, imo. If they signed that without checking it out, I wonder what else they've signed.

Charlie Rangel and Robert Johnson have apologized. The New Hampshire Three should line up right behind them.

New Hampshire got burned. I hope the Democratic leadership in the remaining states learns from them and is very careful of anything they do at the request of Team Clinton. If they don't? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Posted by: TomJx | January 19, 2008 1:53 AM | Report abuse

I too will sign the pledge never to vote for Clinton. She and her gang of thugs are the "top down" Dictatorial Democrats that have lost elections for us for the last 12 years. Only the grassroots and the 50 State Strategy have been able to bring progressive Democrats into the party that have won for us across the country in November of '06. I am also an elected NH official and am appalled at what our "party leadership" has done. It seems that when Republicans pull such things it is called "dirty tricks". Yet when Democrats do this, they want us to think of it as "politics as usual". Sorry, I'm not buying it and am thoroughly disgusted with our female leadership. You have lost my respect and my support.

Posted by: marciagm | January 19, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

How shameful that the women who signed the NH letter did so without even educating themselves--HRC told them to 'jump' and they said 'how high?'

I'm practicing my ABC's: Anyone But the Clinton's. As an Iowan who caucused for Barack Obama, HRC had many months to try to convince me to support her. We had the fliers, the push polling, the robocalls attacking Barack's pro-choice stance. I'm glad someone mentioned Emily's List--please do unsubscribe and tell them why--because they spent nearly $500K on behalf of HRC by the time we caucused, so it's probably more than that now. (they may have paid for the Iowa flier...)

The dirty politics emanating from HRC's campaign is repulsive--we saw it for months in Iowa. However, I am so proud to have been one of the thousands of women who stood for Barack on January 3rd and helped deliver the women's vote to him 35% to 30% over HRC. (HRC won the 60+ range)

Sure, there are a lot of women still sold on HRC and Bill, but if she gets the nomination, she loses a lot of our votes plus Democrats, Independents, and Republicans (who changed parties to vote for Barack).

Posted by: OceanDog | January 19, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

By the way, "ruffled feathers" and "get over it", is demeaning and not at all conciliatory... This is more than a game to many of us!

Posted by: kmvpc | January 18, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

That definitely answers the question, thanks. I don't think that Harry Blackmun (or Ronald Reagan) was "evil" either ; )

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

"SearingTruth:

Is this thread convenient enough for us to discuss abortion finally? I think my pending question went something like "Do you ever think of the millions of children killed by the evil that was Harry Blackmun?" : )"
Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2008 04:33 PM

OK, I'm honored that you want to discuss this so avidly, so I will answer your question as thoroughly as possible.

I do think of the millions of children killed by late term abortions, and believe it was wrong to grant anyone the unrestricted right to it. And while I don't think Harry Blackmun was evil, I do believe he was critically mistaken in the scope of his judgment.

However, I draw fire from both the right and left because of where I have chosen to draw the line on what is and is not the termination of a human life.

I would allow unrestricted abortions only up until 3 weeks after conception. At this point the fetus is still basically a conglomeration of cells without a brain, with the fetal heartbeat usually beginning within 18 to 21 days of conception.

Of course, this does not satisfy the right, who believe that fetuses are humans at the moment of conception, or the left who believe woman have the right to abort a child at two or three months.

And yet the statement often made by the right that the moment of conception introduces a potential human life cannot be denied, and I agree. But for me a potential human life is not human life itself, and I do perceive a stage where a mass of biological material transforms into something human. And for me that's when it begins to develop a brain.

But I am for allowing abortions at later stages to protect the health of the mother, and in other extraordinary cases such as incest when a young child may be involved and the discovery of the pregnancy is delayed. Of course, this could also be considered a medical reason.

As for those on the right who disagree and believe that embryos must be protected from conception, I can only respectfully disagree.

And for those on the left who think three weeks isn't enough time check for pregnancy, I again respectfully disagree. If you're going to have sex, especially unprotected sex, then you have an obligation to test yourself and determine if you have an unwanted pregnancy as soon as possible.

And I know it's unfair that the burden is on women and not on men to check for pregnancy, but we can't change nature and that's just the way it is.

I hope this answers your question JakeD.
ST


"Children should not know fear, or death, or suffering, for it is not their lot to know. Theirs is a time for joy, and wonder, and a time of great discovery. Let them never despair, or hurt, or want. This should be our highest calling, and our most sincere dedication."
SearingTruth

A Future of the Brave - www.searingtruth.com

Posted by: SearingTruth | January 18, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Small indication of rancor: show the Clinton campaign that their tactics are NOT tolerated by returning every single request for donations with a big ZERO written on it, and let them pay for postage. PS I also suggest cancelling membership in Emily's list, which is being used as an arm of the Clinton campaign instead of saving its resources for races whare the opponent disagrees with their agenda.....

Posted by: kmvpc | January 18, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

AS a lifelong dem. voter, I never thought I would find myself in this spot, but I join the pledge NEVER to vote for a Clinton again... (I fear for the Supreme Court - one more justice, and we'll resemble the old Soviet Union, where we know the outcome of most cases the moment a suit is filed...) I started out "neurtral" on HRC; after the past 7 years, any things looked good. I had almost forgotten the % of time we spent on travelgate, whitewater, perjury, Monicagate, foster-gate, secretive health care meetings, bimbo eruptions, parsing "is", defining "sex" Lincoln bedroom and desk stories - and these are the first few that come to mind. My major fear was that HRC would have a hard time winning: she has a definite ceiling in the dem party (which has been lowered wuite a bit the last few weeks!), NO crossover-appeal, and attracks very few independents. The only uniter she can be is of the GOP (look what she is willing to do to "her" party, all for the sake of winning!). The down-ticket harm if her name is at the top will definitely harm the dem. power in congress. So even if she were to eke out a 50.01% victory, the other side will be "fired up and ready to go" from day one, no matter how ready she may be. So either way, we, as a party and as a country, loose. AS her skills seem to be very well suited for the senata, I hope she can become a very senior and effective leader in the senate - we sure seem to need leadership there. All this changed the last few weeks; distortions, voter supression, Bill and other surrogate's attack and their blatant power hunder at any cost is more than I can take. If the party 'establishment" is willing to behead its most promising and inclusive newcomer for the sake of preserving the status quo, and for the sake of winning at all cost, I fear the costs will be higher than they imagine. Just a shame that we'll end up paying. I still hope that we can show than with our voices, votes and $ that we deserve better. Thanks for considering this!

Posted by: kmvpc | January 18, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

gbuze07 - I used to live in NH & the first campaign I participated in in a long, long while was Jeanne Shaheen's 1st run for governor. She had proven herself a terrific consensus builder (w Donna Sytec as speaker of the house) in the NH Senate. Shaheen betrayed herself as totally lacking in moral compass (just as Hillary Clinton) when she chose to not get the income tax provision thru the NH legislature that one golden moment. She bankrolled her political future on that move, and I truly hope that she will forever be justly rewarded by never holding public office again in NH. I pray for NH that Cong. Hodes & Porter are somehow able to wrest away the junta-like power which the Shaheens, Kathy Sullivan & others have exerted there. In the meantime, maybe Hodes/Porter could fashion a totally successful Indie political party? You all have my sympathies - If Clinton becomes the nominee in 08, it will simply confirm that our electorate has become irretrievably naive, easily manipulated, and stupid (just as demonstrated in the past 2 elections). I rather think that's the case.

Posted by: jrsweld | January 18, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

As a young leader in the reproductive rights movement, I can't begin to express how angry this makes me. This kind of gamesmanship with such an important issue, something that really touches the lives of women, disgusts me. It is this kind of myopic attitude that keeps young women away from supporting their reproductive rights. I sometimes want to shake the baby boomer "leaders" of abortion rights groups and scream at them, "there are black, brown, and poor women across the country suffering from lack of access and care while you do THIS with our political clout?!"

Posted by: mjbaumann | January 18, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

When I said the Clintons are not good for the Democratic Party, some folks thought I was joking. I live in NH and i have seen how this damage done by the Clinton's campaign is going to affect the senatorial election coming up in November.

Most Obama supporters that I have talked to are very mad and have vowed not to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election. Not only are they going to cast their vote against Hillary but also cast their vote against the former governor of NH that is running for a senate sit.

Personally, I have decided not to vote for former governor Shaheen because of her husband's comment on Obama. Here is my prediction; the democrats will loose NH come November if Hillary is the nominee. They will also loose the senatorial election to Sununu. That is the price they will pay for demonizing Obama. As an Obama supporter who doesn't have affiliation with Democratic Party, I'll rather vote for any of the republican candidate than Clinton and Shaheen.

Posted by: gbuze007 | January 18, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Here, here Democrats and America, this is what you have to look forward to.

Divide, divide, divide -- think it's gonna get any better? Think again.

Who puts self over party. After all the NARAL groups have worked for, now they are fighting amongst themselves. With friends like thee, who needs the Republicans?

This is what winning at all costs means.

Posted by: askpeabody | January 18, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

They can apologize all they want, I will NEVER vote for Hillary after the Clintons' sliming and lying. I am president of my local Planned Parenthood chapter and having a pro-choice president is critical. But for the first time in my voting life, I will stay home, vote for the Green Party Candidate or write in Obama if she is the nominee. If I wanted to vote for a candidate with no integrity who is willing to do anything to win, I'd vote for a Republican.

Posted by: Free_Ride2300 | January 18, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

It's a Clinton two-fer: Not only did the Clinton campaign mislead voters in Iowa and New Hampshire on an issue of importance, it misled its own supporters! Enough's enough.

Posted by: wesfromGA | January 18, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

nickmj:

Will you join those of us in pledging to NOT vote for Hillary even if she secures the Democratic nomination?

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

There's a method here: surrogates coerced (balckmailed?) into slinging mud, then apologizing with shame and regret sometime not much later: Tom Harkin's comments on islamic heritage, Rangel's comment about book sales, Bob Johnson's, and now this. Seems like Clinton slash & burn, post-Rovian if you will.

Posted by: nickmj | January 18, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

cmss1:

I hope you remember that pledge if Hillary indeed secures the Democratic nomination.

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

More outrageousness that demoralizes anyone who thinks politics can matter. A founder of a NARAL chapter didn't bother looking into the Obama smears before signing her name to them? Others saying, now that they helped the Clintons shamefully and dishonestly bury Obama in NH, that they'd like to kiss and make up?

There will be no "coming together" with the Clintons again for this die-hard Dem. I'm through with them.

Posted by: cmss1 | January 18, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

SearingTruth:

Is this thread convenient enough for us to discuss abortion finally? I think my pending question went something like "Do you ever think of the millions of children killed by the evil that was Harry Blackmun?" : )

Posted by: JakeD | January 18, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

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