Clinton aide compares Obama to Ken Starr – Update: Backpedaling

Remember the “kitchen sink” strategy? Well it’s being employed by the Clinton campaign. Story on this from The Politico:

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson, taking the campaign a bit meta on a conference call today, attacked Obama for attacking Clinton, and compared him to a notorious Clinton foe.

“When Sen. Obama was confronted with questions over whether he was ready to be commander in chief and steward of the economy, he chose not to address those questions, but to attack Sen. Clinton,” Wolfson said. “I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president.”

Wolfson was attacking Obama’s explicit strategy, in the wake of his March 4 losses, to attack elements of Clinton’s record on the grounds of secrecy, and to revisit the questions raised by Clinton foes in the 1990s and earlier. Obama has demanded Clinton’s tax returns, cited delays in releasing her White House schedules, and even made reference to trades in cattle futures in the late 1970s that became a subject of allegations during the White House years.

Now I think I’ve heard it all. Invoking Ken Starr when criticizing Obama is actually quite humorous because I’m not sure I get the connection.

Wolfson also responded to Obama’s charges about the Clinton’s releasing their tax returns:

Wolfson also responded to the substance of Obama’s complaint, that Clinton hasn’t released her recent tax returns, and to the reminder today that Clinton (via Wolfson) attacked her 2000 Senate rival, Rick Lazio, for failing to release his tax returns.

“Over 20 years of the Clintons’ tax returns are part of the public record,” he said, referring to their White House years and also to her more recent Senate disclosure forms. “Everyone knows we have made clear that all of the post-White House tax returns will be put out by the campaign on or about tax time — April 15,” he said, though he didn’t explain why they wouldn’t be out sooner.

“As somebody who led the effort to ensure that Mr. Lazio provided his tax returns, certainly at that point he had not provided 20 years of his tax returns to the people of New York,” he said.

What’s amazing to me is that this discussion hasn’t delved into genuine issues and substance, it’s still about Ken Starr and tax returns. The truth of the matter seems to be that because Democratic voters don’t see many differences between the two candidates that the discussion has become centered on minor things which speak to personality and character.


In lieu of the fact that a top Obama adviser has resigned for calling Hillary Clinton a “monster”, Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s communications director is backpedaling a bit from referring to Obama as being like Ken Starr.

Story from The Swamp:

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — In the aftermath of the resignation of Samantha Powers, a top foreign affairs advisor to Sen. Barack Obama, for calling Sen. Hillary Clinton a “monster,” the Clinton team may also have tripped themselves up.

During a conference call with reporters, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson tried to explain his Thursday accusation that Obama’s campaign was using Ken Starr-like tactics against the New York senator was not comparable to Powers’ comments.

“Ours was a reaction to the Obama campaign’s attacks on Sen. Clinton post their losses in Ohio and Texas,” Wolfson said. “I did not refer, I did not say, that Sen. Obama was like Ken Starr and I think there is a difference between engaging in the kind of ad hominem personal attack on someone’s character that Samantha Power did and talking about the kind of campaign that Team Obama has been running since Ohio and Texas.”

But here is what Wolfson told reporters on the conference call yesterday:

“I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president,” Wolfson said

That’s a pretty thin tap dance Wolfson is doing.