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The Other Problem With Hillary's Character Attacks

Like Jason, I thought the Clintonites were really reaching by throwing Barack Obama's kindergarten oeuvre back in his face. In general, the last 24-hours of Clinton statements have made the campaign sound unusually panicked. My own feeling is that Clinton would be much better off banging away on differences in health-care plans than launching a round of what, by her own admission, will be character attacks.

Besides potentially turning off Iowa voters, there's another reason for Hillary to hold her fire: It's only going to fuel the Obama fundraising juggernaut. To wit, this e-mail came in over the transom a couple hours ago:

Noam -- 

The latest Iowa poll, from the Des Moines Register, shows Barack Obama has pulled ahead of Hillary Clinton and is now leading there. We even lead among women by five points.

While that's all good news, there was even more telling news this weekend.

The poll also showed that -- by a wide margin -- Iowans have found that Senator Clinton is running the most negative campaign of any candidate.

And sure enough, less than 12 hours after the poll results were released, the Clinton campaign launched multiple frantic, baseless attacks against Barack Obama. The emerging pattern is disturbing: as Senator Clinton's poll numbers slide, the campaign of "inevitability" becomes more desperate and negative by the day.

It's exactly one month until the Iowa caucuses, and Senator Clinton has promised that this is just the beginning of her negativity. She even quipped yesterday that attacking other Democrats is "the fun part" of campaigning for the presidency.

Barack will always respond swiftly and forcefully with the truth when attacked, but we have to do more to stop this kind of politics once and for all.

These attacks take attention away from solving people's problems and exact a real cost on our political process.

We need to respond by increasing the cost of these tactics for her campaign.

If 10,000 people donate in the next 48 hours in response, it will show our opponents that when they attack Barack Obama, it literally makes our campaign stronger.

You can make them think twice about continuing these attacks. Respond now with your donation of $25:


Here's a quick rundown of her campaign's attacks from yesterday alone:

- They falsely claimed that Barack Obama doesn't support universal health care, even though he's had a detailed plan for it since May that would provide affordable health insurance for every single American and do more to cut the cost of health care than any other plan in this race.

- They attacked our youth organizing efforts and tried to intimidate Iowa college students who plan to participate in the caucus (the latest Iowa poll shows Obama with a commanding lead among young people).

- They even published an article on their website attacking Barack for telling his kindergarten teacher he wanted to be president when he grew up. (I'm not kidding.)

Senator Clinton and her campaign may find it fun, but this kind of disingenuous attack politics is exactly what turns people off about our political process.

You can set the tone for the next 30 days. Will you respond to these attacks with a donation of $25 right now?


While Barack continues to talk about real problems like the war in Iraq, the tens of millions of uninsured, and the need for fundamental change in Washington, Senator Clinton's personal attacks come from the same, tired textbook of establishment politics.

These attacks are borne out of cynical political calculation, plain and simple.

But if 10,000 people respond to these attacks on Barack in the next 48 hours, we can change the math for them.

Thank you,


David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America

I suspect this is going to be very effective.

Update: I deleted the links to Obama's donation page. I'm happy to pass along what I think is an effective pitch, but I probably don't need to be helping readers dial right into their fundraising system...

--Noam Scheiber