‘Brain’-Less White House Falls for Clinton Trap, Over-Reacts to Ad, Gives Her Campaign Millions in Free Media Exposure

Hillary Clinton lambasted Pres. George W. Bush in her first Iowa campaign ad, saying he didn’t care about working class Americans or even returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The White House walked right into the trap, calling it “outrageous,” “absurd” and “unconscionable” — and thus giving the story legs in the corporate media, which has led to hundreds of free airings of the spot and its exposure to millions of voters outside its paid run in Iowa.

Americans from all walks of life across our country may be invisible to this President, but they’re not invisible to me and they won’t be invisible to the next President of the United States

It also gave Clinton an opening to keep the story alive into another news cycle:

“Apparently I’ve struck a nerve,” Clinton said in response to the White House attack. “I will keep saying it because I believe it.”

At TPM Cafe, M.J. Rosenberg recalls a similar cicrumstance from 40 years ago in which the Lyndon Johnson White House similarly helped boost the campaign of Richard Nixon — whose career appeared to be over after he lost a bid for California governor on the heels of losing the presidency to Kennedy in 1960:

[The] unpopular president from Texas, LBJ, did Nixon a favor. After Nixon criticized Johnson’s war strategy, Johnson, during a televised press conference, lost it.

He blasted Nixon, calling him a “chronic campaigner, whose only concern was picking up a few votes.

The Nixon camp could not believe their luck. They had succeeded in getting under LBJ’s skin. By responding to Nixon’s attack as he did, LBJ elevated Nixon to the Presidential level, right where Nixon needed to be. He was, of course, elected in 1968.

Here is the transcript of the ad:

HRC: As I travel around America, I hear from so many people who feel like they’re just invisible to their government

VO: Hillary Clinton has spent her life standing up for people others don’t see

HRC: You know, if you’re a family that is struggling, and you don’t have health care well you are invisible to this President

HRC: If you’re a single mom trying to find affordable child care so you can go to work, well you’re invisible too

HRC: And I never thought I would see that our soldiers who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan would be treated as though they were invisible as well

HRC: Americans from all walks of life across our country may be invisible to this President, but they’re not invisible to me and they won’t be invisible to the next President of the United States

HRC: I’m Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.

Here is the response from White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino:

[As] to the merits of it, I think it’s outrageous. This is a President who, first and foremost, has helped millions of seniors across the country have access to prescription drugs at a much lower cost. That system that the President put in — helped put in place, with the help of both sides of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, Medicare Part D, is helping millions of people, and working better than anyone would have expected. In addition to that, the President has tried to take on the issue at the root cause of it, and tried to change our health care system so that we actually are helping provide less expensive but still great quality care to people all over the country.

And as to whether or not our troops are invisible to this President, I think that that is absurd, and that is unconscionable that a member of Congress would say such a thing.

This misstep suggests that the White House is already behaving like it is “Brain”-less in the wake of Karl Rove’s imminent departure.


  • August 17, 2007 - 6:18 am | Permalink

    i just want to say that I’m in iraq in the army right now and we are invisible to the the president right now…….that or he doesn’t know the true definition of terrorism. if u want to talk more about that message me on my website

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  • Colm
    August 17, 2007 - 7:01 am | Permalink

    The white house didn’t fall into a trap. This is a carefully orchestrated campaign to keep the power among the same people who have held it for the last 3 presidencies. – Bush sr., Bill Clinton, Bush jr., Hillary Clinton. They may be in different parties but they have common powerful backers.

  • Chuckdubdubdub
    August 17, 2007 - 7:17 am | Permalink

    Colm — I hope you aren’t falling into the “Ralph Nader” trap of saying that they are all the same, right? That’s what got us GWB instead of Al Gore. If you don’t think that either Gore or Hilary Clinton would react differently to events like 9/11 or global warming, or Supreme Court nominees…. well go back and vote for Nader again, and we’ll get stuck with Mitt Romney this time!

  • Donald R. Engen
    August 17, 2007 - 7:47 am | Permalink

    Someone needs to take the whole kit and caboodle, better known as the (The Bush Crime Cartel) out to the back 40 as they call it in Texas, and throw a little necktie party for every son-of-a-bitch associated with this pathetic little man acting as leader of our country.

  • dickmusser
    August 17, 2007 - 7:48 am | Permalink

    Desperation on the part of the White House.
    Shit has hit the fan and the WH is saying it is really rose petals.
    Rats deserting the ship, co-conspirators talking to avoid jail time, ass licking bureaucrats now having to explain the smudges around their mouths.
    What was to be expected.
    Next will be the bought and paid for propaganda media’s failing. Watch Faux News zombies eat each other and die out.

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  • el-aleman
    August 17, 2007 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    Pero que lista es Hilaria. El que está asustado es su marido que no sabe comno afrontar lo de los becarios de la próxima presidenta, va a exigir que todos tengan la lengua atrofiada.

  • August 17, 2007 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    I hate when they post mudslinging ads. It’s even more stupid when they sling mud at people not even running. It’s good to know Hillary is informing us how she will make a great president, by insulting people not in the running…

    One Man. One Year. $100,000 Online. How’s he doing it?

  • Dana
    August 17, 2007 - 8:19 am | Permalink

    It’s *Dana* Perino, not Dan.

  • Willhen
    August 17, 2007 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Clinton is a BITCH and who gives a 1,000 rats asses to what she says, no make it 10,000 rats asses. Bush is 10 times better than her husband, and 100 times better than her.

  • Evan
    August 17, 2007 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    This happened on an episode of West Wing…

  • August 17, 2007 - 8:59 am | Permalink

    my nem Kumar

  • August 17, 2007 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    The difference between Hilary Clinton and George Bush is the same as the difference between George Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Its just the accent that throws you. The people who speak well and choke up in all the right places make us feel safer but Hilary Clinton will invade Iran if Bush does not beat her to it, she will support the free trade agreements that have destroyed the US economy, she will not roll back the powers that have made Joseph McCarthy, the classic American Legion and the original Monarchists our nation’s models. Hilary Clinton is a US Senator. She could shut down congress by herself until she got satisfaction on any number of issues. The entire Democratic party would follow her lead. Instead she is willing to play the game for 2 years while we wait for another terrorist attack that no-one-could-have-imagined to give George Bush the opportunity to invoke his Make Me King presidential directive. I didn’t vote for Ralph Nader so that card means nothing to me. And Ralph Nader may well be a well intentioned egomaniac but he did not give US George Bush, the Supreme Court, FOX news and Republican dirty tricks on the ground did. Go back and read the NYTimes analysis of the election result (published when the information was useless of course it is the NYTimes). Al Gore did win he just refused to take the job. Just like John Kerry couldn’t wait to surrender in 2004 at least until the many charges of deliberate disenfranchisement of thousands of African-Americans in Ohio were true –they were. Check out the Rolling Stone article painstakingly researched by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The Democrats like Clinton wringing their hands over the evil Supreme Court that is regressing the country 50 years did not refuse to let Bush put Federalist Society maniacs and obvious liars Alito and Roberts on it. They were waiting for something really important. As they say the devil is in the details and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. You can support Clinton 2 if you want to it’s a free country. Free-ish. But common wisdom is often only one of those things and I’m not crazy.

  • Doug in Seattle
    August 17, 2007 - 9:43 am | Permalink

    It baffles me how the left wing can savage its own much worse than they savage the right. If you base your argument that there is no difference between GWB and HRC since she voted for the invasion, don’t forget that *almost* everybody and their brother bought into GWB’s claim of WMDs in Iraq. He lied to us; she didn’t.

    If a dem had been in office in ’01, do you think for a moment they would have cooked the books to justify invading Iraq?

    You can keep your wacko claims that they are all the same. Of course corporate money is way too influential. Of course both parties take from the middle class. Of course both spend too damned much money of things not all of us agree on. The difference is that dems pass the money to the poor; the reps pass it to the rich; the dems increase taxes; the reps increase the national debt.

    Dems–the best government that excessive taxes can buy.
    Reps–the worst government that massive debt can buy.

  • August 17, 2007 - 9:52 am | Permalink

    But what is she going to do about this? I appreciate that it’s been brought up, but is this just empty campaigning on her part?

  • Dan in MI
    August 17, 2007 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Does this look like the biggest Democratic weeping party or what? Some of the things you people say are absolutely ridiculous. “The Bush Crime Cartel”, sorry separation of power is in place. “acting as leader of our country”, newsflash: he is the leader of our country. “Gore or Hilary Clinton would react differently to events … Supreme Court nominees”, no kidding! Do you really think that a dem is going to nominate a rep or vice a versa? Grow up and take responsibility for yourself. If Bush is really the center of evil and committing crimes, it’s your responsibility to do more than just complain about it on a forum.

  • Dan in MI
    August 17, 2007 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    “He lied to us; she didn’t.” That’s right it was her husband who committed perjury and she backed him. Hmmm, that sounds much better, she won’t lie, others will and she’ll support them. At least she wouldn’t have lied in her silence. She’s grubbing for power. We already spent time with her acting as president when her husband was elected. And what did we get for it? NAFTA? Great, I’ll vote for someone else!

  • Madison
    August 17, 2007 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    Wow, Dan. A sex lie is the same as a lie that leads to the deaths of 600,000 people? Clinton didn’t lie “to us.” He lied in a deposition in civil lawsuit about a matter that supposedly transpired long before he became president.

    Bush and his minions knowingly based their reasons for war on false evidence, which they presented in testimony to Congress, to the UN and during his State of the Union speech. To draw a comparison between that and Clinton’s perjury about his affair with Monica Lewinsky — which he did to protect his family as well as himself — is pretty cynical.

    History will remember Bill Clinton as a good president who survived a bogus impeachment, but it will remember George Bush as a craven liar who divided the country and then took it into a war that created 100 times more terrorists than it destroyed.

  • Zig
    August 17, 2007 - 11:39 am | Permalink

    And more of our own people have died in this war of retribution than died in the twin towers. What’s the point of that?

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