So Hillary Clinton did what she had to do yesterday to earn a tomorrow for her candidacy: She won Ohio (decisively) and Texas (by a hair in the popular vote, though Obama is likely to win the caucus portion of that state’s weird-ass system). It’s true that a few weeks ago, this would have seemed no great feat, so great were HRC’s leads in the opinion polls in both places. But in the face of Barack Obama’s monthlong, twelve-contest winning streak, of being massively outspent on the air and out-organized on the ground, of two debates where she did no better than battle her rival to a draw, of a slow and seemingly inexorable drift of superdelegates (and not just any superdelegates, but John Lewis, for chrissakes) to Obama — in the face of all of that, Hillary’s achievement was inarguably considerable.
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Oh, Camille Paglia, what are you doing? We know you've talked to Us Weekly before about relevant issues like Britney's vagina and Jennifer Aniston's victimhood. But giving a sincere political evaluation of Hillary Clinton on the celebrity magazine's Website, directly on the eve of her most important contest? What, was there static on the receiver and you thought they were calling from The Week? In response to Hillary's evasive answer on 60 Minutes when she was asked whether or not she thought Barack Obama was a Muslim, Paglia had this to say:
The Clintons are lawyers and they’ve been pushing language ever since Bill said "depends on what the meaning of 'is' is."… That’s my problem as a Democrat with the Clintons and the people around Hillary, which include Harold Ickes and Howard Wolfson — all of these people are so self-infatuated with their own clever superiority, that in fact they're quite transparent.
Okay, sure, but Camiiiiilllllllleeeeee! Throw us a bone! What did you think about when Hillary helped Us Weekly pick out her worst outfits of all time? "I don't approve," Paglia snapped. Ahh. Now that's more like it.
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At this moment, David Shuster may very well be booking a flight to a remote island somewhere. During a discussion of Chelsea Clinton's recently elevated role in Hillary's campaign on MSNBC last night, Shuster asked whether the 27-year-old was "sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way." (Click above to view.) His point, some have interpreted, was that the only type of person that would campaign for their mother is some kind of street whore. Shuster made an on-air apology today, but so far Hillary is unwilling to bury the hatchet. Her communications director, Howard Wolfson, told reporters that Hillary might pull out of MSNBC's planned debate on February 26 in Ohio. "I, at this point, can't envision a scenario where we would continue to engage in debates on that network," he said in a conference call. Now, instead of ignoring Fox News, whose invitation to host a Democratic debate Hillary finally (unilaterally) accepted a few days ago, Hillary's shutting out MSNBC. It's like the networks just switched their acceptable/pariah roles. Those with sharp memories may recall a similar Chelsea-attack episode in 1993, when Mike Myers claimed on SNL that Chelsea Clinton, 13 years old at the time, was "not a babe." If Chelsea's the type of person to look for a silver lining, she might note that at least the inappropriate, disparaging comments about her have improved over the years: She went from being unattractive to being so attractive that people will pay to have sex with her. Remember to thank Shuster for the compliment, Chelsea. —Dan Amira MSNBC's Chelsea Comment Angers Clinton [Guardian]
Update: Shuster has been suspended temporarily from appearances on NBC and MSNBC because of his gaffe.
Chances are, many of you know who Clinton's communications director, Howard Wolfson, is. Probably fewer of you know that he is afraid of flying. But among campaign reporters and workers, it's no secret. He hasn't flown on a plane since 1999, when he flew on Air Force One during Hillary's New York senate campaign. But he's never really talked about it until now, when he admitted all his neuroses to Observer reporter Jason Horowitz.
“It’s all mishegoss — fear is not rational,” said Mr. Wolfson when asked to explain the root of his now decade-long aversion to air travel. “I could point to a couple of things but at the end of the day it just ascribes a level of rationality to it that doesn’t exist.”
You'll recall that this primary schedule is one that requires moving from, say, Iowa to New Hampshire or South Carolina to Nevada with great speed. While the rest of the campaign is in the air, Wolfson is driving alone, often up to seventeen hours at a time, in his BMW. One could argue that this is a severe detriment to his usefulness on the trail. One could also argue that since everybody has a phone and a BlackBerry these days, it doesn't really matter. Regardless, we really like that Horowitz is letting us into the secret world of the Hillary press camp. First Hillary's hipster, and now this. He's all up in their bidness! No wonder he's around when they get important phone calls.
The Spokesman Who Couldn't Fly [NYO]
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When I asked Bill Clinton about this issue, during an informal meeting in South Carolina, he readily agreed to sit down for a longer interview on his legacy’s role in the campaign. A few weeks later, however, and at the last minute, Hillary’s aides canceled the interview. Famously controlling, they would not even allow the former president to talk about his record.
Hillary's advisers were probably trying to stop the onslaught of Bubba coverage, which they knew would inevitably become the main story if it got too big. Unfortunately for them, it looks like this week, they failed in that effort.
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