Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Sets the Tone

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Politico reports that Barack Obama has, once again, criticized his staff for overreacting to his opponent:

“When asked about his campaign’s attack on Palin, attributed to top spokesman Bill Burton, at a Friday afternoon media availability at a Pennsylvania biodiesel plant, Obama referred to a statement he and running mate Joe Biden had since issued that hardly touched on policy issues and called Palin “an admirable person and … a compelling new voice.”

Obama disavowed his campaign’s first response, telling journalists that “I think that, uh, you know, campaigns start getting these, uh, hair triggers and, uh, the statement that Joe and I put out reflects our sentiments,” he said.”

The Politico further notes how Obama scapegoated his campaign staff several times in the past:

“The latest disavowal of his staff’s comments on his behalf or in his name continues a tactic Obama employed repeatedly during his contentious battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

When confronted about a campaign memo during the primary criticizing Clinton’s ties to India that referred to her as “D-Punjab,” Obama called it “a screw-up on the part of our research team” and said “it was stupid and caustic.”

And when the late Tim Russert asked Obama at a Las Vegas debate about his campaign’s efforts to push the storyline that Team Clinton was stoking racial tensions, Obama said “our supporters, our staff, get overzealous. They start saying things that I would not say.”

But, he added, “it is my responsibility to make sure that we’re setting a clear tone in our campaign.”

Obama’s penchant for publicly rebuking his staff stands in sharp contrast to his declarations about how important they are to his management strategy, as well as the all for one, one for all mentality that he encourages in them.”

Either his staff is poorly managed or this is an intentional device the Obama campaign is using to make him look good while his staff inflicts maximum damage on its opponents. We have a name for it in the law — it’s called good cop/bad cop — and the good news is it works. The bad news is Obama thinks we’re too dumb to see through it.


13 Responses to “Obama Sets the Tone”

  1. So…is anyone keeping track of the number of times BO has to “correct” statements made by his staff?

    Is this “judgement to lead” again? On the other hand, constantly having to correct statements made by one’s staff is half of the “Hope and Change” meme.

    Eric Blair (642d37)

  2. Either the staff is accurately reflecting the thoughts/desires of BHO; or, he has no control over his orginization?
    Either way, it does not reflect positively on his abilities as a leader.
    Certainly not as a prospective Chief Executive Officer of the United States Government!

    Another Drew (4b90b4)

  3. Same old shit. A nearly-anonymous staffer makes the statement (with the foreknowledge or understanding that if the backlash gets too heated he or she will be called upon to fall on their sword) and the candidate gets to play the “Who, me? You can’t reasonably expect me to control exactly what everybody connected to my campaign says,” card. The message gets out and the candidate survives the minor hit to his image.

    Icy Truth (75e0f5)

  4. Remember, this is the same guy who’s political Godfather called another legislator who dared to go off the reservation as an “Uncle Tom.” The pupil has indeed learned well from the master.

    Dmac (874677)

  5. If things like this had happened once or twice I would be more than happy to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but since it appears to be a pattern one can only deduce that it is either deliberate or that Sen. Obama cannot control his staff. While my personal opinion is that it is deliberate, either way it is a black mark on his candidacy. Why should voters trust a man who either cannot control his staff or demonstrates such dishonesty?

    Fritz (46a651)

  6. How many times has Obama said “this is not the staffer I knew”? He then throws the staffer under the bus–actually he hooks him up to a revolving tread like a tank track. The staffer gets run over by the bus, then is recycled to the front and put on staff again.

    I’d say that Obama couldn’t organize a two car funeral–except that somehow through this trick “under the bus” routine, he’s managed to knock off the legendary Clinton machine. Except it appears that she couldn’t organize a two car funeral either–so the two clowns gummed each other to death.

    Mike Myers (31af82)

  7. Proof that with Obama running things, the buck stops . . . well, somewhere.

    Also evidence that his campaign promises, like his promise to be ‘post racial and political’, are fungible due to his inability to both control his staff and accept responsibility for their actions.

    Unaccountable politicians? Where’s the change in that?

    Apogee (186a12)

  8. The buck stops near?

    fat tony (bb9729)

  9. The buck stops here.

    As long as “here” is the Chicago mayor’s office.

    Icy Truth (75e0f5)

  10. I was very impressed by the tone set in this smear Palin site set up by the Obama campaign and the other smear sites noted in the post. They were probably set up by overly aggressive staffers Obama doesn’t know anything about, is what I’m guessing.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  11. Actually, the bad news is it works, and the good news is Dumbo thinks we’re too stupid to see through it.

    joe (6e1d93)

  12. This is “community organizing”. Obama was not only a student of this technique but also taught it.

    Listen to the Aug 28 Mark Levin interview with John Lott — at 56:20 of the Aug 28 stream (you can fast-forward) to
    see what Obama is really like.

    Obama’s sponsors (Ayers) when he was a law professor played the same role. Once your followers are “trained”, they do what is required and you have deniability.

    gh (785437)

  13. Let’s not give the press an out on this — they keep reporting the statements of these off-the-record staffers. They know they’re being used as a conduit for deniable smears.

    Rob Crawford (b5d1c2)

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