Clinton Behind Closed Doors

Following a recent gaffe made by Obama behind closed doors, Clinton was recorded making divisive comments about MoveOn.org, a very large liberal Democratic group, in one of her closed door sessions. In an attempt to explain her continual loss in caucuses, Hillary Clinton blamed the grass roots organization for working against her. MoveOn.org initially did not take sides in the primary, but polled its five million supporters shortly before Super Tuesday to find out which candidate to back. On Feburary 1st after an overwhelmingly margin voted for the organization to back Barack Obama, MoveOn.org endorsed him.

Celeste Fremon of the Huffington Post reports, April 19, 2008:

“Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] — which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down,” Clinton said to a meeting of donors. “We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn’t even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that’s what we’re dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it’s primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don’t agree with them. They know I don’t agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.”

Politico.com’s editorialist Ben Smith adds to the analysis, explaining the hypocrisy present in Clinton’s statements:

Huffington Post says the comments — of which it provides tape, and which the campaign doesn’t dispute — came from a small, closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday but before March 5; slightly oddly, it doesn’t say where or when.

But there’s some irony in the scorn for MoveOn, whom Hillary courted and which was founded, after all, to save her husband from impeachment. What’s striking here is the the “us” and “them” view — the almost cultural scorn — toward a section of the Democratic Party to whom, at times in the White House, Hillary was seen as the ambassador for the more conservative Bill.

Also, though some people associated with MoveOn opposed the Afghan war, the group says it didn’t.

Obama’s gaffe concerned small town voters in Western Pennsylvania, but this depiction of small town voters was amplified to apply to people across the country. While Clinton’s statements do not have such widespread effects, they could have a significant impact within the Democratic Party. One other important note to make is that MoveOn’s support of Obama occurred after Obama had won the Iowa Caucus, and more delegates from the Nevada Caucus.