Sunday, November 11, 2007

Plants & Tips

Looks like the Clinton Machine is taking the opportunity of Hillary's debate meltdown two weeks ago to get all of her irritating, off-putting personality faults and tactical campaign skull-duggery out into the public realm before even the primary voting actually commences in order to neutralize it thoroughly for the general campaign.

Most pertinent to that catalyst is the apparent fact that The Once & Future Queen is now taking no chances on getting surprised by questions she doesn't want to answer by having her staff plant questioners in her audiences who ask questions she does want:
According to a report on the Grinnell University Web site, the Clinton campaign arranged for some of the questions for the candidate to be asked by college students:
"On Tuesday November 6, the Clinton campaign stopped at a biodiesel plant in Newton as part of a weeklong series of events to introduce her new energy plan. The event was clearly intended to be as much about the press as the Iowa voters in attendance, as a large press core helped fill the small venue....

"After her speech, Clinton accepted questions. But according to Grinnell College student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff , some of the questions from the audience were planned in advance. 'They were canned,' she said. Before the event began, a Clinton staff member approached Gallo-Chasanoff to ask a specific question after Clinton’s speech. 'One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask],' she said.

"Clinton called on Gallo-Chasanoff after her speech to ask a question: what Clinton would do to stop the effects of global warming. Clinton began her response by noting that young people often pose this question to her before delving into the benefits of her plan.

"But the source of the question was no coincidence — at this event 'they wanted a question from a college student,' Gallo-Chasanoff said."
Hmmm; "Young people often pose this question to her"? Freudian slip, perhaps? Maybe this angle isn't anything new, but is now starting to come out since some scrutiny has actually started to be thrown in her direction. It would certainly fit in with the Nixon "iron-discipline/plan down to the nth degree/we gotta protect this volcanic broad from herself" template that the Clintonoids never had to worry about when Mr. Bill was the frontman of that organized criminal enterprise.

As if to provide pre-emptive confirmation of this suspicion, another plant popped to the surface in short order:
For the second time in as many days, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign has had to deal with accusations of planting questions during public appearances, FOX News has learned.

In a telephone interview Saturday, Geoffrey Mitchell, 32, said he was approached by Clinton campaign worker Chris Hayler to ask a question about how she was standing up to President Bush on the question on funding the Iraq war and a troop withdrawal timeline.

The encounter happened before an event hosted by Iowa State Senator Gene Frais on a farm outside Fort Madison, Iowa.

Clinton's Iowa campaign confirmed to Fox News that one of its staff discussed questions with Mitchell before her April 2 event, but denied attempting to plant a pro-Clinton question.

Mo Elliethee, spokesman for Clinton's campaign in Iowa, told Fox that Hayler and Mitchell "had a previous relationship" and that a discussion about Clinton arose out of a normal conversation between two people who knew each other well.
Except that Mr. Mitchell says he never laid eyes on Ms. Haylor before that April campaign event. Indeed, he says that when he refused to cooperate, she wandered off to try and recruit somebody else. So either he's lying about this "previous relationship," or Mo Elliethee is. I'm no professional oddsmaker, but I know where I'd be placing my bets.

April 2nd isn't exactly last week either, my friends. This suggests that Hillary's nistas have been striving mightily to maintain and hold together this patently phony, plastic, faux-chuckling image of the ex-first baraccuda, and they came within a couple of months of the first primary ballot-casting before the cracks started to spiderweb across the veneer surface, allowing the hellfire beneath to belch forth.

I still see two rather obvious PR avenues the Clintonoids can take from this juncture: (1) blame it on the "vast right-wing conspiracy," since it's Fox News that is so far leading with this story, and in the longer term, if/when it's brought up next year during the general campaign, (2) they'll trot out the standard Clintonoid "Who cares?/That's old news" dismissal. I would suggest that all the Norm Hsu fundraising shennanigans already reside on that particular ashheap. By the time the conventions roll around next summer, all the fresh scandal fodder will have long disappeared from her Nib's rear-view mirror, and even Fox won't be talking about it.

So savor such irrelevant scrutiny while it lasts - even stories about the Clintons' legendary personal cheapskatedness:

Esterday [the waitress that got tip-stiffed by Hillary] said "nobody got tipped that day," and NPR should have checked with the Clinton campaign before the story aired to see if any tip was left and how it was done. We regret that this was not done. On Thursday, Esterday was sticking by her story.

"Why would I lie about not getting a tip?" she told NPR. She also maintained that her co-workers at the restaurant had not received tips.

A Clinton campaign staffer called on Esterday at the restaurant Thursday after the story aired. The staff member apologized to her and gave her a $20 bill, according to Esterday. The Clinton campaign confirmed that visit. The campaign also produced photocopies of receipts showing $157.46 was paid to Maid-Rite on a VISA card on October 8 for meals consumed by the candidate's entourage. The tip was supposed to have been paid in cash, and the campaign insisted such a payment was made but has declined to make available a staff member who was present at Maid-Rite and left tip money [...]

"Where Hillary was sitting, there was no tip left," Crawford said.
Wonderful. Now we have "Tipgate".

Look, I'm as big an afficianado of Clinton scandals as the next right-winger, but this is plumbing the depths, if you ask me. Oh, sure, I appreciate the irony of the woman who is so supremely generous with everybody else's money having to be hounded into coughing up a twenty dollar diner tip several days after the fact out of the $80 million she's shaken out of the pockets of Asian dishwashers, bellhops, and ditch-diggers....

Okay, Tipgate makes the cut. But Plantgate, particularly in the wake of her Philadelphia mask-cracking, is the more damaging "chink".

Ultimately, though, none of it will matter. Once that eighty mil (and more) finishes feeding poor Fred, Rudy, or Mitt through the PR wood-chipper, that dragon will look like Mother Teresa with implants in comparison.

Never underestimate the power of a viper to hypnotize its victims - before it strikes.