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Open Season on Hillary

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 28, 2008; 11:13 AM

If Hillary Clinton has lost the Huffington Post, has she lost the Democratic Party?

The liberal Web site published one Hillary-bashing piece after another yesterday, all of them tapping into an anger that she dares to remain in the race and criticize Barack Obama.

This is the new media narrative that the former first lady is confronting, that she is prolonging the agony and is just being selfish by refusing to pack it in.

I've read some pieces here and there saying it's not impossible for Hillary to prevail, or that there's no reason for her to fold her tent. But if there are commentators strongly pushing her candidacy at the moment, they've mostly escaped my notice.

This is a problem for HRC that goes beyond Obama's lead in pledged delegates. The entire race has now been framed around the contentious question of whether Hillary is mean or just delusional. Very few folks give her the benefit of the doubt as someone who's battling hard for a presidential nomination and still sees herself within striking distance. How many cable pundits have you heard speculate that if she can't win, she wants Obama to lose so she can run again in 2012? Who knows if that's true? After all, this year was the best shot she'd ever have at the White House, and her party has not exactly been kind to previous losers.

It's hard to dispute that the increasingly bitter warfare is hurting the Democrats, although there's still plenty of time for the party to heal its wounds. And it's hard to argue with the notion that Hillary has to damage Obama to have a chance at persuading enough superdelegates to rally to her side. But he hasn't been playing patty-cake either. Isn't that the essence of political campaigning?

First up from the HuffPost is Keith Boykin, a former Clinton administration official:

"I've had it with the Clintons.

"The past few months I've tried to defend Bill and Hillary Clinton against some of the more unreasonable attacks from their critics . . .

"In the past few weeks, I've been increasingly disturbed by the gratuitously negative tone of the Clinton campaign. . . . On Tuesday of this week, apparently dissatisfied that the Jeremiah Wright story had failed to derail Obama's campaign, Clinton broke her silence on the issue and told a newspaper in Pennsylvania (188 delegates) that Rev. Wright 'would not have been my pastor.'

"She repeated her criticism at a press conference later in the day. 'You know, we don't have a choice when it comes to our relatives. We have a choice when it comes to our pastors and the churches we attend,' she said.

"She ought to be ashamed. A month ago she stoked the fears that Obama might be a Muslim and now she plays on the fears of Pennsylvanians that the Illinois senator is a radical black Christian. I would expect that kind of nonsensical fear mongering from a Republican, but I'm disappointed when it comes from a fellow Democrat."


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