Hillary Robocall ... And She is Ticked Off
I got a robocall from Hillary Clinton tonight. This time she was angry, railing at Barack Obama's "dishonest" mailers about trade policy. She told me that she's the one who will have a "trade prosecutor," not Barack Obama.
"I have a plan," she declared. "My opponent does not. Ohio needs solutions, not distortions."
No more Ms. Nice.
Suddenly it all clicked into place. Her entire Ohio strategy is now based on convincing us that Obama is dishonest and untrustworthy. She's filled with righteous anger at his deceptions, and she expects us feel it too.
In a conference call with reporters today, communications director Howard Wolfson and Ohio director Robby Mook pretty much laid it out. Noting that Obama had criticized John Edwards in Iowa last December for failing to intervene when an independent 527 group run by his 2004 campaign manager bought air time for pro-Edwards ads, the two of them castigated Obama over a United Food and Commercial Workers ad buy set to begin on Tuesday in Ohio, with no apparent protest from Obama. "Barack Obama has a pattern of making statements and promises and walking away from them," Wolfson declared. His "promises are not followed through with action." It's "not about principles for Barack Obama, it's about politics." Barack Obama is "running on promises of strength and the strength of his promises." Voters "need to know that when they choose a president he will follow through on his promises." But Obama is not "consistent in his leadership." (Yes, they said all that.)
Pretty heady stuff, for a campaign that doesn't object to helpful advertising from the 527 group American Leadership Project. "I don't know anything about that group," Wolfson said. We are "not in the business of criticizing groups that act within the bounds of the law." The Clinton campaign "believes union activity in the electoral process is okay." But the issue is consistency on Obama's part, because "if you don't have a strong record of accomplishment, you are going to be judged on the strength of your promises." Ohio voters are "smart enough to note that he says one thing in Iowa, another in Ohio."
Wolfson was asked why Clinton had her tirade about the deceptive mailers yesterday, when the mailers had been out in the field for over a week. "Hillary is out on the road, she hasn't necessarily seen the mailers," Wolfson said. "Her reaction was quick -- people were seeing the mailers in real time, so she wanted people to hear in real time that they were untrue." So it was all spontaneous, not timed to coincide with the new strategy: the conference call about UFCW's ad buy, the angry robocall, and Tuesday night's debate.
Ironically, those commercials celebrating Hillary Clinton's shining moment of goodwill in last Thursday's debate are still playing in Ohio as she launches her assault on Obama's integrity. [CORRECTION: My bad, Clinton's conciliatory words and handshake are edited out of her closing statement as presented in the ad.]
UPDATE: Here is the script of the robocall:
This is Hillary Clinton calling to set the record straight.
Senator Obama has sent out attack mailers that distort my record on NAFTA, but I believe Ohio deserves the truth.
NAFTA has hurt Ohio families and I have a plan to fix it. My opponent does not. I’ll appoint a Trade Prosecutor to enforce our trade agreements, and crackdown on China’s unfair trade practices. I'll eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and invest in creating good jobs right here in Ohio.
Ohio needs solutions, not distortions. With your support on March 4th, we can jumpstart the economy and get Ohio back to work.