Hillary Memo: Lay Off Jeremiah Wright

Political Night Train believes the Clintons have seen the light and may stop trying to make race an issue.  It seems Obama’s minister, Jeremiah Wright is doing a good job injecting hate and racism into the campaign.

Clinton campaign: Yes on Rezko, no on Wright

by James Oliphant

The memo has apparently gone around the Hillary Clinton camp this morning: Lay off the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.

On a conference call Saturday to talk about the state of the race, Clinton campaign officials just wouldn’t go there.

“That’s really for Senator Obama to address,” said chief strategist Mark Penn.

It’s interesting, because certainly, the Clinton folks have shown very little reluctance to knock Obama around like a pinata every time they come across as what they perceive to be a vulnerable spot.

Take, for instance, Obama’s mea culpa on his dealings with Antoin “Tony” Rezko. The Clinton campaign has been calling on Obama for months to come clean about the full extent of his relationship with the indicted developer. Friday, they got their wish to some degree, but that only racheted up the Clinton attacks.

Penn said Obama’s disclosures were part of a “troubling pattern,” in which Obama’s words don’t match the facts. He said Obama’s advisers on foreign policy and trade haven’t always been on the same page as the candidate. And with Rezko, Penn said, Obama waited too long to tell the full story. The theme, as the Clinton folks have been pushing for weeks, is that Obama’s words don’t add up to very much.

“We tend to learn more in dribs and drabs rather than the kind of transparent candidate and the transparent campaign he says he has been running,” Penn said.

Transparency, of course, is a two-way street. The campaign was asked again whether it would release Clinton’s tax returns, something Obama has been demanding for months. Penn said the returns would be released “around April 15.” When pressed, he pledged they would be made public before the Pennsylvania primary. The Obama camp has been saying returns will shed light on the various sources of income for both Hillary — and especially Bill — Clinton.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer also wondered why Obama had said he wasn’t aware of Rezko’s legal problems when Friday Obama said that he had indeed read stories about Rezko’s troubles and why Obama said Rezko had raised $100,000 less for his campaign than the developer actually raised.

“Senator Obama needs to answer some basic questions, including why does this story keep changing?” Singer said. He complained that Obama “claims the high ground while attacking Senator Clinton’s character.”

As for staying away from Rev. Wright, it may be that the campaign didn’t want to invite comparisons to Geraldine Ferraro, whose race-based remarks were made seemingly a thousand news cycles ago. Or maybe that talking about race in any context has become such a landmine that they just thought it wouldn’t be prudent.

It certainly wasn’t because there was nothing to say.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Jeff Zeleny added an interesting post today on Hillary Memo: Lay Off Jeremiah Wright […]

  2. […] The Huffington Post News Editors placed an interesting blog post on Hillary Memo: Lay Off Jeremiah Wright […]

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