August 4, 2007

The "Lobbyist Moment" At The YKos Debate


Although it’s fantastically late, I can’t pack it in without taking note of yesterday’s YearlyKos candidate forum.  Or, call it the real YouTube debate — except with live people and minus the idiocy of CNN.)  I want to start out with a question, though:

How is it I was able to clearly capture Hillary’s lobbyist blunder (above) with my point-and-shoot ….


(click for full size)

… while The Caucus — dedicating a whole post to the moment — illustrated it with this fiction of “one big happy family?”  If the write-up by the Times blog did justice to the words, this image does nothing but play down the story along with any tension, and run interference for HRC.

I mean, c’mon.  I was up front and studying the body language.  I didn’t see any point where Edwards, Clinton and Obama we’re sharing a peace pipe.  And, in light of this visual suggestion that Hillary and Obama somehow get a kick out of each other, didn’t Obama go off on Hillary after her expression of lobbyist love?  And then, when the candidates were exchanging handshakes and back pats immediately following the contest, Obama — upon finding himself smack in front of Clinton — emitted a grimace, then executed a quick sidestep.  (And, as for Hil’s part, she passed Obama like he was invisible.)

(To see how the “lobbyist moment” — with full crowd response — really went down, by the way, check out the video accompanying the Times news story of the debate.  (It’s in the second segment.)

One comment on the politics, by the way.  I realize candidates take money, in one shape or form, from various special interests, even if they refuse contributions from lobbyists.  I also understand the point — argued by some here in Chicago — that Hillary deserved credit for the blunt honesty.

If Hillary had answered the question: “Will you continue to take money from lobbyists?” solely by commenting that she still considers herself an ethical person, or by questioning why all lobbyists (nurses and educators, as well as pharmaceutical and oil companies) should all be tarred with the same brush, she could have been truthful and still saved her skin.  Instead, however, Mrs. Clinton — who juggled her schedule to do her “meet the bloggers” session first and seemed a little tired by the time the debate rolled around — will hence be saddled by the blanket “yes, I will.”  And her further protestation (beginning with: “The idea that somehow a contribution is going to influence you…”) assuming that a politician’s good intentions are somehow synonymous with purity — will be more recalled for the ensuing laughter.

UPDATE: 8/6/07 10:27 pm PST:  Hmm, could the NYT be reading The BAG?  In a political memo today by Jeff Zeleny (Competitors, Once Collegial, Now Seem Cool – link), we find out what I observed and reported days ago.  Apparently, Hillary and Obama haven’t spoken for months.  Just as interesting, the article contains an image that is diametric to the one The Caucus initially ran.

Edited for clarity: 8/7/07 9:05 PST

(image 1: August 4, 2007.  Chicago.  The BAG … via the CoolPix 4800. Image 2: unattributed.  The Caucus.)

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Michael Shaw
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