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Obama Campaign Fumbles; Will It Recover?

June 19th, 2007

There were two recent incidents where the Barack Obama campaign made stupid mistakes. One was when they pushed a story that Bill Clinton used 9/11 for making money off of private investors, and the second was using a quasi-slur in criticizing Hillary Clinton’s ties to India. The first was mistaken because Bill Clinton did not make the appearance on 9/11, he made it via video from the U.S. on 9/10–it was 9/11 halfway around the world. Clinton attended charity events and other non-profit gigs on 9/11. The second was in reference to a joke made by Hillary that she could “certainly run for the Senate seat in Punjab and win easily.” An oppo piece was circulated by the Obama campaign referring to Hillary as “D-Punjab.” This was not seen as funny by those in the Indian-American community.

In both cases, Obama has taken responsibility for the error, noting that while neither was authored or personally approved by him, “I consider the entire campaign – and in particular myself – responsible for the mistake.” Which is certainly the right tone to set.

The question is, after two such errors in rapid succession, is this less a random overreach by an ardent but foolish and tasteless staffer, or a sign of the culture of the campaign? If Obama corrects this, as he promised most recently to take “appropriate action to prevent errors like this from happening in the future,” then he should recover without difficulty. But if stuff like this continues to pop up, it could cause greater problems to his image–which, after all, relies on him being a likable, straight-talking guy who strongly favors inclusion.

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  1. Tim Kane
    June 19th, 2007 at 16:51 | #1

    I like Obama, about as much as any candidate, but this is very disturbing. He now has occassion to clean house in his own campaign staff. If he doesn’t, it will be the amateurism of his own staff that sinks him.

    He best be careful, because Hillary is very skilled as a matadore & jujitzu tactics. A campaign that makes this kind of mistake this early and this often is doomed to failure agains the likes of Hillary & co.

    If it doesn’t happen again, he should be okay – I think Edwards campaign has already made some of these kinds of errors, and if Hillary’s does the same then they are all back to being even. But Obama’s shiny luster has worn thin. His appeal is one of magnatism and charisma that ha clarity on the issues, communicated clearly and transcending the everyday politics of every other candidate. If he becomes like any other candidate, then he’s no longer distinguished, meaning gone. There’s no reason to go with the new kid on the block if he’s the same as the old kids on the block, just less experienced.

    I hope he does a fairly public house cleaning of his staff, if for no other than my own selfish reasons of maintaining the image that I already have of him. I am so disappointed at this, and will become more so if he’s just another candidate. We need the next president to be great to compensate for the bozo we have now. He must clearly transcend our current state of affairs.

  2. K. Engels
    June 19th, 2007 at 22:41 | #2

    Sure attack Clinton for having too many ties to India… I mean, it is not like all the candidates, Obama included, are going to spend the next year or more trying to prove they represent the best interests of a certain other country whose name begins with the letter ‘I’ (or, I should say more accurately, the interests of that country’s Likud party).

  3. me
    June 22nd, 2007 at 20:23 | #3

    How much can stumbling cost during a marathon that has more then a year to go?

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