The Gaffe Tax

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I’m on record as favoring a shorter political campaign season. When a presidential campaign drags on for a year or two, well it’s just too long. There are too many opportunities to say something out of context, to stumble and trip over some mistake.

Politicians pay a high price these days for making mistakes. What with the internet and YouTube, is it any wonder that people put no trust in their elected leaders? They need to share some responsibility for what we do. They elected us.

As soon as Barack Obama trips up I’m ready with criticism. Then I trip up. It never ends. We both pay a political price for such mistakes. He called white folks bitter. I said something about sniper fire.

We pay the gaffe tax for such blunders which mean so little to voters who also have a brain. It’s the rest of them that help get us elected.

Are television commercials free?

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I’m sitting at a hotel in Philadelphia after dinner and I flip on the television to catch Saturday Night Live. I’m hoping they’ll do another skit lampooning Barack Obama.

Instead, I watch about 10 Obama commercials, and not one Hillary commercial. Not one. Are commercials free on cable TV?

I called Maggie on the phone and asked her to track down rates for cable TV commercials. She said we don’t have a budget for cable TV. So, I tell her that’s silly because 70-percent of everyone who votes also watches cable TV. It’s their crutch to get through their miserable existences.

Maggie was adamant. We just don’t have the money to spend on cable TV commercials.

Hillary Country or Hillaryland?

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Figures don’t lie, and liars don’t figure. Maybe that’s why I have a hard time grasping the numbers behind the convention delegates we’re trying to win. With Mark Penn gone, I have to trust Howard ‘Bull Dog‘ Wolfson to explain them to me. That’s probably a mistake.

Howard is Communications Director. Basically, that means he’s in charge of campaign dirty tricks, like insinuating that Barack Obama is like Ken Starr. In reality, Howard just handles the ‘message’, whether it be a good one, or cleaning up a bad one.

But, numbers? Howard is not a numbers guy. He makes a lot of money helping me with my campaign, and he’s a big talker. His wife Terri handles all the money. Everyone knows that.

So, what am I to do? I keep reading in the papers that I’m falling behind Barack Obama in the delegate count, and falling behind in the SuperDelegate count. How can that be? I’ve won every big primary state so far. From California to Texas, from Ohio to New York to Florida. That’s Hillary country. 

Somehow, with all those states, and after spending over $150-million, I’m still losing ground in the delegate count. How is that possible?

Someone get Mark Penn on the phone!’

Saturday Night Live Redux

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I just finished watching Saturday Night Live. Again. It was a repeat of a few weeks ago when I was host. Well, not really host host, but I was the star attraction, along with that cute little girl from the movie Juno.

SNL really came through for me this year. Win or lose, I want to host the show some day. Maggie put the word out to Lorne Michaels to schedule me for a show right before the election. Bill did his little Blues Brothers saxophone routine back in 1992 and America loved him for it.

There’s something about a man in black blowing his horn. Other than a little piano, I never learned to play a musical instrument.

There’s danger when a politician performs in public for the public, especially a live show, but it’s something we deal with regularly. The country loves to put politicians on a pedestal and wait for us to fall off. Saturday Night Live is not Meet The Press. I can say things on SNL that would get me in trouble if I said them to Tim Russert.

When I host the show again I want to do a skit where I skewer Russert with a hundred little fondue forks.

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

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I’m more than a little worried about the recent poll results. John McCain is surging ahead of me and Barack Obama. How could this happen?

Bill says I peaked too early, probably sometime back in November or December. He says Barack has peaked, too, but McCain has not. Politics is full of ups and downs, changing currents and storm clouds, so the next few months may tell a different story, but for now I’m worried.

The Bush administration may go down in history as the worst ever. There’s a trillion dollar deficit, an unpopular war with rising casualties, scandal after scandal, and an economy entering a recession. That’s a perfect storm for almost any Democrat to roll into the White House with a victory.

Add to that the Republican nominee, a grizzled old white man who carries all the charm of Elmer Fudd, Mister Magoo, and Dwight Eisenhower, and somehow he leads in the national polls.

How could this happen? What did we do wrong?

Al Gore told me he had refused to make a pact with the Devil back in 2000 when he rain against Bush. I thought he was joking. Now it looks as if the Devil made a pact with the Republicans. Everything has gone wrong and they still control the government.

What did Rudy do with the money?

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Barack Obama and I have raised more campaign money than any presidential candidates in history. Out in Pennsylvania, Obama brought in over $350,000 in February, almost twice what I brought in, which was still far less than Rudy Giuliani brought in, and he’s out of the race entirely.

Mark Penn was posting the numbers on a big white board in our campaign war room, and said, “How does Barack do it?

I said, “The real question isn’t about Barack Obama, people. He’s a fad. A flash in the pan. People blow their money all the time on dreams. It happens. Get over it.

The real question is, ‘What did Rudy do with all his campaign contributions?‘”

Where is 60 Minutes when you really need them? Rudy Giuliani raised tens of millions in campaign contributions for a campaign that nobody ever saw. Did anyone ever see a television commercial? Did he run a newspaper ad? He didn’t really campaign anywhere except Florida and Ron Paul got more votes.

What did Rudy do with all the money?

New campaign slogan: “Barack Obama: Slacker.”

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One of our operatives in the Obama campaign let us know that Barack is taking a few days off this week. The slacker. Tens of thousands of people in Pennsylvania and other states are losing their homes to foreclosures and Obama takes a vacation.

I told Harold Ickes, “Icky, I want a new campaign slogan this week. Make it, ‘Barack Obama: Slacker.” Icky said, “Hillary, that’s about Obama, not you. Most candidates have a slogan about themselves, not their opponents.

Fair enough, I thought. “OK, how about this one? ‘Hillary Clinton. Not A Slacker Like Barack Obama.’ Better, right?

There’ll be questions,” he said. That’s what I want. Questions. People will ask me what I’m talking about and I’ll tell them that I’m on the campaign trail showing people I care. I have a plan to ease the housing crunch. And all Barack Obama can do is lounge around and take time off while people suffer. Voters need to ask themselves, ‘Who do you want running the White House? A bitch who gets things done, or a slow moving black man who slacks off all the time?

This slogan will catch on.

National polls are worthless pieces of garbage

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America is obsessed with rankings, poll numbers, who’s number one and who’s not. We got word tonight about a new Gallup poll which shows me ahead of Barack Obama, 49 to 42-percent.

All I can ask is, ‘How many delegates will that get me?

The answer is, “It depends.” But probably none. The primary election for Democratic presidential candidates is a popularity contest, not a national vote. Al Gore won the national vote in 2000 and lost the electoral count to George. W. Bush. As if we need the “W” to differentiate the various Bush politicians.

A poll has significance if it shows a local or regional trend, and national polls don’t show regional trends. The only value here is to show SuperDelegates that I’m a better candidate than Barack Obama to defeat John McCain in November.

I mentioned that to New York Governor Spitzer a couple of weeks ago. He smirked and looked down his nose at me, and said, “National polls are worthless pieces of garbage. Face it, Hillary. You’re toast.

That pissed me off so I called one of Maggie’s friends in New Orleans and had her put a hex on Spitzer. That’ll teach him to get on my dark side.

‘He would not dare!’

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All politicians have ‘operatives’ inside their competitors campaigns. I have a highly placed aide to Barack Obama who called late last night with some disturbing news. She let us know that Barack Obama has a plan to form an independent run for the White House if he fails to get the Democratic nomination.

This is a monumental problem for Democrats. Ralph Nader’s independent run in 2000 siphoned enough Democrat votes from Al Gore in Ohio and Florida that it gave the election to George Bush. If Barack Obama runs as an independent candidate for President there is no way he would win. However, he’ll take enough votes from me, and probably John McCain, that no candidate would win enough states to be elected President, and that throws the whole mess into the House of Representatives.

Is Obama crazy? He wouldn’t dare try an independent run for the White House? He wouldn’t. At least, that’s what we all thought yesterday. Today, I’m not so sure.

The problem is those damned SuperDelegates. Neither Obama nor me will win enough pledged delegates to be elected as the Democratic nominee before the convention, so the SuperDelegates will decide the election. If Obama wins more pledged delegates, wins the popular vote, and wins more states, I could still win the nomination if enough SuperDelegates switch to me.

If that happens, Barack Obama will run as an independent for President. God help us all.

Management, schmanagement

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Bill picked up an advance copy of another in the string of newspaper articles to discredit me, and lift Barack Obama on a pedestal. The New York Times is the latest newspaper to take a look at the behind-the-scenes management of a Clinton campaign for President.

What’s to see? It’s almost as if they dug through their old files and came up with articles they did back in 1992. Old news. New news. Made up news. They don’t know the difference. Change the names.

To be honest, management of anything complex, whether it’s a government or a state or a presidential campaign, is just a matter of hiring the right people. They do the work, the boss gets the credit. That’s how it works. Bill did it in Arkansas. He did it in the White House. Everyone knows Al Gore did most of the day-to-day details there anyway.

Howard knows what I like. Hire smart people, let them argue, I play referee. They’re smart people so no matter what they decide all I have to do is pick a different side each time. They’re happy. I’m happy.

Management schmanagement. It just isn’t that difficult.

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Diary excerpts published and edited by Ron McElfresh, Honolulu, HI USA.
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