In Iowa, when reporters pressed a Clinton campaign spokesman about whether the New York senator she would take any questions from the press about Bhutto's assassination, he said she did not want to be seen as exploiting it.This is par for the course with Clinton's campaign, putting a surrogate out front to say something her campaign is afraid to say. Bayh didn't stop there:
But that didn't stop Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D)--campaigning here on Clinton's behalf--from arguing that the assasination showed the need for a president with "seasoning."
He added that in a general election, Republicans would likely raise the specter of international attacks in attempt to garner votes. "When there are unfortunate calamities like this, the Republicans [will say], 'See. See what we told you? We have to have someone who's strong to defend America at a time of concern.' Well, Senator Clinton is strong," he said. "And she's experienced. And she's tough enough to defend this country and do it in a way that's true to our values, the civil liberties we cherish, and that's one of the reasons why I'm supporting her."So there you have it: within minutes of Bhutto's death, you have a Clinton surrogate out front politicizing the tragedy. Bayh, it should be noted, is said to be on Hillary's short list for the vice presidential spot should she win the Democratic nomination. Once this key Clinton surrogate had politicized Bhutto's death, it was not unreasonable for her rivals to respond.
Obama's adviser David Axelrod did respond, by pointing out that Clinton's "experience" consisted largely in backing the poor choices of George W. Bush and the Republican Party:
The latest battle between the two Democratic front-runners began Thursday when Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, seemed to link Clinton's vote on the Iraq war and Bhutto's death.So there you have it: a Clinton adviser--Evan Bayh--politicized the Bhutto tragedy first. Axelrod pointed out that Clinton's choices have contributed to the destabilization of the Middle-East. Clinton responds by going on the attack and conveniently ignoring her own campaign's attempt to capitalize on Bhutto's death. Obama took a few minutes out of his busy campaign schedule to remind her:
"Barack Obama had the judgment to oppose the war in Iraq. And he warned at the time that it would divert us from Afghanistan and al Qaeda, and now we see the effect of that," Axelrod said. "Sen. Clinton made a different judgment."
On Friday, Clinton replied in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer by saying, "I just regret that [Obama and his chief strategist] would be politicizing this tragedy, and especially at a time when we do need to figure out a way forward."
"I don't think politics should be playing a role in how our country responds ... to the tragedy," she said.
"The Clinton campaign started pushing this notion, immediately after this happened, that somehow this was going to advantage their campaign, and one of my campaign aides responded," Obama told CNN's Jessica Yellin. "But I think what the American people are concerned about right now is not how it impacts the vote in Iowa, they're concerned how it's going to impact the long term national security of the United States of America, and that's what we have to stay focused on."So there you have it: Clinton's campaign tried to use the Bhutto tragedy to gain an advantage and instead they got called out for Clinton's poor judgment in Middle-Eastern affairs. We'll see if the media gives her another free pass or if they take a look at the sequence of events and hold her responsible for her behavior.