When I’m right, I’m right: Geraldine Ferraro and “The day after”

Geraldine FerraroThe Obama campaign’s response to Geraldine Ferraro’s attack perfectly illustrates several things I talked about last week in The day after. Campaign strategist David Axelrod emphasizes the pattern:

Axelrod said Ferraro’s comments were part of a “pattern” of negative attacks aimed at Obama. He pointed to Clinton’s former New Hampshire co-chairman Bill Shaheen, who questioned whether Obama ever sold drugs; supporter Rober Johnsen, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, who raised the specter of Obama’s past drug use; and Clinton’s own “unwillingness” to “definitively” shoot down rumors that Obama was Muslim in an interview this month.

[All of these, and others, are documented on the Clinton attacks Obama wiki. See, I knew it would be important :-)]

Susan Rice brings up a variant of the “reject and denounce” standard:

“I think if Senator Clinton is serious about putting an end to statements that have racial implications, that diminish Barack Obama because he’s an African-American man,” Rice said, “then she ought to really repudiate this comment and make it clear that there’s no place in her campaign for people who will say this kind of thing.”

And Raw Story’s coverage highlights that the Clinton campaign’s standard responses look insufficient, especially after their call for “vetting” and the reaction to the Samantha Power quote:

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson, who just last week forcefully called for Obama to fire an adviser who called Clinton a “monster,” said only that the campaign “disagree[d]” with Ferraro, who had not apologized for the remark as of Tuesday afternoon. Aside from Wolfson’s brief statement, Clinton’s campaign remained mostly mum on the Ferraro comments.

Clinton herself did address the dust-up during a brief interview with the Associated Press.

Clinton said, “I do not agree with that,” and later added, “It’s regrettable that any of our supporters — on both sides, because we both have this experience — say things that kind of veer off into the personal.”

Yeah. Regrettable indeed — just like all the other times this happened. As Axelrod said, “When you wink and nod at offensive statements, you’re sending a signal to your supporters that anything goes.”