Inside The Hillary Clinton Campaing: Fear, Loathing, Backbiting, & Bill

Here are some Political Night Train insights as to what is going on inside the Hillary Clinton Campaign 

CHRIS MATTHEWS had this to say about the Hillary Campaign: What he (Bill Clinton) ought to do is get Paul Begala to come back and work in the campaign. She’s got a lot of hard-hitters around her but no one with any heart. The appeal of the Clintons over the years and the reason why the Democratic Party is in love with the Clintons is that the Clintons, with all their flaws and perhaps arrogance, care about the regular person in this country, the regular middle-working class family with all their problems of health care and raising their kids. Hillary Clinton, especially, cares about those things. It’s obvious she does. It’s not a fraud. They’ve gotta go back to why they’re running. What it now looks like and based upon your questions, and by the way they’re the questions everyone’s asking, how she gonna hit Obama next? They’ve gotta change the question from, “How are the Clintons gonna whack Obama?” to “Why do the Clintons continue in their public life?” And they’ve got to answer that question. If I were Bill, I’d go around with Hillary, introduce her both in the same room, big town halls, answering all kinds of questions about people’s real life needs. That’s the way Bill Clinton won in New Hampshire back in 1992. They’ve gotta get out there and talk about people’s needs and stop talking about Obama. They gotta stop acting like it’s the last minute in an NBA game and they gotta foul the other guy to get the ball back. They gotta end this sense of desperation. It’s either Mark Penn, Mandy Grunwald, somebody in that campaign keeps teaching them fear. Fear is killing the Clinton campaign.What is Team Hillary Thinking?Something that doesn’t quite make sense regarding the last back-and-forth between Hillary and Obama, regarding William Shaheen, co-chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s national and New Hampshire campaigns, raising Barack Obama’s past drug use. (Riehl says this is a sign Hillary’s toast.) The team around Hillary Clinton is supposed to be among the best, the sharpest, the smartest in Democratic politics. Or so we’re told.As Jonah notes, there was, indeed, a time when the Clintons could have a surrogate go out and make an attack on a Clinton rival, and then have her or her husband say, “no, no, I don’t stand by that, I don’t believe in the politics of personal destruction, I disavow it,” etc. Back then, the candidate seemed high-minded and above the fray, but the negative attack still got into the media’s bloodstream. But it’s a different era, everybody in the press knows how that game is played, and so when somebody comes out and says, “oh, she had nothing to do with this, her campaign had nothing to do with this issue being raised,” nobody believes her.The thing is, Mark Penn, Patti Solis Doyle, Howard Wolfson, James Carville — these people have to know nobody’s going to believe that she had nothing to do with this. The Clintons don’t get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this stuff.But I wonder if the Clintons themselves think that they still do. And we know who has the final say in those internal discussions. If Hillary’s convinced that the public will believe her denials, who around her can convince her otherwise?  CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – A top campaign adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton resigned Thursday, a day after suggesting Democrats should be wary of nominating Barack Obama because his teenage drug use could make it hard for him to win the presidency. Clinton herself apologized to Obama as they waited to fly to Iowa for a debate. Bill Shaheen, a national co-chairman for Clinton and a prominent New Hampshire political figure, had raised the issue during a Wednesday interview, published on “I made a mistake and in light of what happened, I have made the personal decision that I will step down as the co-chair of the Hillary for President campaign,” Shaheen said in a statement released by the campaign Thursday. “This election is too important, and we must all get back to electing the best qualified candidate who has the record of making change happen in this country. That candidate is Hillary Clinton.” Shaheen, an attorney and veteran organizer, had said much of Obama’s background is unknown and could be a problem in November 2008 if he is the Democratic nominee. He said Republicans would work hard to discover new aspects of Obama’s admittedly spotty youth. “It’ll be, ‘When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'” said Shaheen, whose wife, Jeanne, is a former New Hampshire governor and is running for the U.S. Senate next year.

 DES MOINES – On the eve of the final Iowa debate before the Jan. 3 caucuses, Clinton campaign insiders are increasingly questioning the cautious, poll-driven approach taken by Mark Penn, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s top political aide, sources familiar with the situation say.

With Clinton barely holding her own against Barack Obama and John Edwards in Iowa, dissatisfaction is growing with Penn, who some say has mistakenly run Clinton as a de facto incumbent.

“There are two people who have come up with this strategy – one Hillary Clinton and one Mark Penn,” said a top Clinton ally, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Mark wanted to run her, basically, for re-election, and we are seeing what happened.”