There was a lot of talk on the Sunday shows about Barack Obama's PA comments made at a 4/6 fundraiser in San Francisco. The comments became public on 4/11.
Clinton supporter/Philly Mayor Michael Nutter: "It seems damaging to the campaign. I'm certainly saddened to hear those kinds of comments. I've lived in Philadelphia and, of course, Pennsylvania for almost 51 years. They don't represent the thoughts of people throughout this great commonwealth. And I don't understand why Senator Obama would make such comments. I'm sure he can explain them for himself" ("Fox News Sunday," 4/13).
Obama supporter/ex-Senate Maj. Leader Tom Daschle: "What he was saying is that there are those who use guns and religion, use faith and guns, as a divisive issue. And when you're angry, when you feel disenfranchised, you're more susceptible to those kinds of divisive politics. ... There is a great deal of anger out there, a great deal of sentiment that we've got to see change in this country, and that unless Washington breaks with its past and accepts the fact that this sentiment is really deep-seated, it's palpable, we're not going to see the change we need in this country" ("Fox News Sunday," 4/13).
Clinton supporter/Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN): "I like Barack Obama. I think he's a good person. But these comments are subject to misinterpretation. ... I don't think John Kerry is a chronic flip-flopper. But you remember when he said he voted against the $87 billion before he voted for the $87 billion? And they took that one soundbite and just beat it and beat it and beat it. ... Look at what the Republicans did here in the last 48 hours. They're calling on everyone who's received contributions from Senator Obama's political committee to give the money back. They're calling upon people to disavow his remarks all across red-state America. ... I think our superdelegates and our voters have to ask themselves, you know, who is in the best position to win the fall election, to deliver the kind of change that we need in this country? And I'm afraid that this gives the Republicans a stick to beat us with" ("Late Edition," CNN, 4/13).
Obama supporter/Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), on Hillary Clinton calling Obama's comments "elitist": "I think that's ridiculous. Anyone who knows Barack Obama, knows his life story, knows that that's not true. But he expressed regret and we understand. I think he understands why some people could be offended by those words. But here's the larger point. He was trying to express the frustration that people feel, not only with this economy, but what has been happening in Washington, where special interests have had a stranglehold on the process in Washington. ... I know Barack Obama and I know Pennsylvania. And I've been blessed with the votes of people all across our state, including a lot of smaller communities in Pennsylvania, and I don't think they're going to judge him by one statement" ("Late Edition," CNN, 4/13).
GOP strategist Mary Matalin: "The damage here is that what he said accurately reflects the current Democratic Party. It's more affluent. It's more liberal. That's the way it's moving. He was saying it to San Francisco Democrats, rich San Francisco Democrats, and it reflects the kind of Democrat that loses at the presidential level" ("Meet the Press," NBC, 4/13).
Dem strategist Bob Shrum: "Should he have said it that way? No. I think it does give him the chance, by the way, to go back into these small towns and talk about what he really meant. More than that, I think this will be settled by the debate on Wednesday night. I think this will be a big issue in the debate. The way he handles it will establish whether he can create resonance with these folks he was talking about" ("Meet the Press," NBC, 4/13).
MAY ON THEIR MINDS
Dem strategist James Carville: "I think Senator Obama yesterday said something that I can definitely agree on. He says, 'Indiana's going to be the tie-breaker.' ... I think that he's right. I think that Indiana is going to pretty much tell us a lot about which way this is going to go" ("Meet the Press," NBC, 4/13).
Clinton supporter/Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN): "I hope we are the tiebreaker. And it's just nice that we matter. We haven't had a primary that mattered in 40 years. So it's a good thing that we're going to have our say. ... It's going to be hard fought. It's going to be very close. He comes from next door. He has a little bit of a home court advantage, because about 25 percent to 30 percent of Democrats in our state watch Chicago TV on a daily basis. I assume he'll continue to outspend her by 3 or 4 to 1, which gives him a little bit of an advantage. ... And while he started off ahead in the polls in our state, I think she's going to win a narrow election at the end in the state of Indiana" ("Late Edition," CNN, 4/13).
LET THE GAMES BEGIN?
And NSA Stephen Hadley made the rounds to talk about Iraq and whether Pres. Bush will attend the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics:
ABC's Stephanopoulos, on Bush: "He'll go to see events, but he won't go to the opening ceremony?"
Hadley: "The president has said he's going to the Olympics."
Stephanopoulos: "How come you don't want to answer the question?"
Hadley: "The whole issue of opening ceremonies is a non-issue. ... The way to deal with the issue of Nepal is not by a statement that you're not going to the opening ceremonies and say, therefore, I checked the Nepal box. ... The president, at this point, is going to the Olympics. We haven't worked out the details of his schedule at this point in time" ("This Week," ABC, 4/13).
Hadley, on American policy towards the Olympics: "We have a lot of leverage on China. We are using it in constructive, diplomatic way, and it's a lot greater leverage than just the issue of whether he goes to an opening ceremony or not. I think the whole international community has leverage and should be using it now, not letting themselves off the hook by simply saying, 'Well, we won't go to the opening ceremonies of the Olympics'" ("Fox News Sunday," 4/13).
Jimmy Carter, asked if the U.S. should boycott the Olympics: No, I don't think so at all. That was a totally different experience in 1980, when the Soviet Union had brutally invaded and killed thousands and thousands of people in Afghanistan then. ... Fifty-four nations in the world decided to boycott the Olympics. Two-thirds of the U.S. Olympic Committee, a relatively independent group, decided not to go. The Congress voted overwhelmingly not to go. And that was a completely different situation. But I hope that all the countries will go ahead and participate in the Olympics in Beijing" ("This Week," ABC, 4/13). MOVE ALONG, NOTHING TO SEE HERE
Meanwhile, Defense Sec. Robert Gates and Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared on "Face the Nation" to talk about Iraq. Pelosi was also asked about Bill Clinton resurrecting the Bosnia sniper fire story:
Pelosi: "I think Hillary Clinton's husband was being a husband and wanted to be protective of her. ... I know it's fun to talk politics, but I couldn't possibly tell you the motivation for that remark. ... Maybe it was late at night when he said it, and maybe he should be forgiven. ... I can't, for the life of me, figure out why the president would have said it, except he may have been having a late night adult moment. But let's leave it at that" (CBS, 4/13).
The roundtables on "This Week," "Fox News Sunday" and "Late Edition" all discussed Obama's comments:
Brit Hume: "He says he didn't say it very well. One wonders what 'it' was. I mean, the thought is pretty clear, which is that you have economic frustrations which are the reason why people in small towns of Pennsylvania and elsewhere around the country cling to guns and religion. Those are the very kind of people that one would imagine that we would describe as Reagan Democrats. And one could hardly have imagined the statement that would more alienate those people from him and possibly, ultimately, if he were the nominee, from the Democratic Party. ... I think it raises questions about whether he does have a kind of elitist attitude toward people who come from very different backgrounds from him, he being the one with the more elite background. ... I'm not sure it will derail him from the nomination, but this was a bad gaffe" ("Fox News Sunday," 4/13).
CNN's Bash, on John McCain attacking Obama for his comments: "For any Republican this is political tee-ball, because they have used this playbook successfully before. You remember 2004 what the Republicans -- the way they painted John Kerry. They painted him as a windsurfing, French-speaking guy who really is very, very liberal. There is no accident in the fact that the statements that the McCain campaign have been putting out have been reminding people that these statements that Barack Obama made were in San Francisco, which is the ultimate connotation in Republican circles for the ultimate liberal. ... If they do run against him, they will do it through the prism of this idea that they're calling him an elitist" ("Late Edition," 4/13).