Smear Politics Reaches A New Low
Robert Novak reports that
Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed.
He goes on to say that “word-of-mouth among Democrats makes Obama look vulnerable and Clinton look prudent.” That strikes me as a rather odd response. To me, this is the worst sort of gutter politics. If her campaign has something on the man, it should just release it or shut up about it. Having operatives whisper about it quasi-off-the-record is the same as using it outright, just sleazier.
This tactic also raises the question of just how “scandalous” the alleged story really is. A truly titillating ‘scandal’ might be newsworthy, but if her opposition research team only found a minor skeleton in Obama’s closet, they could easily have decided that purveying it this way was the best way to get mileage out of it, undermining Obama’s clean-as-a-whistle image while keeping the candidate’s hands clean.
In this, I must perforce agree with HuffPo: Obama should either just ignore the story altogether or tell Novak to “Put up of STFU!”