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More On Barack V. Bill

I just have a quick point about David Greenberg's post below, which discusses Ryan Lizza's New Yorker piece on Bill Clinton. Greenberg writes:

For example, in The New Yorker today there is a dig at the former president that repeats Barack Obama’s false claim that jobs “fell through the Clinton Administration and the Bush Administration.” Oddly, the piece--by Ryan Lizza, late of this magazine, and by all accounts a fair and careful reporter--fails to state explicitly, as a factual matter, that Obama was simply wrong about this claim.

Here is Obama's full quote:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

It seems clear to me, at least, that Obama is not saying we had a net job loss in the Clinton administration. Rather, he is arguing that certain industrial communities in the midwest have faced hardships over the past 25 years regardless of who has been in the White House. Ryan's piece is simply saying that the former president finds even this argument unfair--which is a reasonable, debatable point--but Greenberg's claim about Obama being "wrong" is much too black-and-white.

As for Greenberg's argument that the Obama campaign wrote a memo "seeking to construe innocent remarks by Bill and Hillary and their supporters as racist," readers can draw their own conclusions about whether Bill Shaheen's and Mark Penn's comments about cocaine use--which the memo details-- were "innocent." (Admittedly, some of the things mentioned in the memo were indeed harmless).

--Isaac Chotiner