The whole mess with Hillary Clinton and her New Hampshire campaign chair Bill Shaheen has the potential to be a blight on her campaign. Not only did Shaheen ungenerously bring up the specter of Barack Obama’s childhood drug use while talking to a reporter, but then the Clinton campaign forced Shaheen, a long-time supporter, to resign. Both events make Hillary seem all the more ruthless. Yet, in the Times coverage, it’s actually Obama campaign chief David Axelrod who comes off as the coolest and most calculating. Axelrod says that giving Shaheen the boot was “the right thing to do.” “It’s important for every campaign to send a signal that there’s not going to be a wink and a nod to this kind of activity,” he said. But Axelrod defended Obama’s right to make hay of the Shaheen snafu and use it to raise money for himself from offended supporters. Then Axelrod gleefully describes the scene (“several times over”) during which Hillary felt she had to approach and personally apologize to Obama for the incident. The two crossed paths at an Iowa airport and chatted for roughly ten minutes about it.
Asked whether Mrs. Clinton’s apology wasn’t enough, [Axelrod] merely said Mr. Obama had accepted her apology and that the Obama campaign was not calling for further punishment. That, he said, should be left up to the other campaign.
That’s right. You go to your room and think about what you’ve done! When you’ve decided on an appropriate punishment for yourself, then you can come down to dinner.