RUSH: Bill Clinton was on Charlie Rose. We've got the audio sound bites of this coming up later. "An unusually direct attack Friday night on Senator Obama. Clinton repeatedly questioned Obama's preparedness in the White House, noting that he took office in January 2005 and became a presidential candidate about two years later. But Mr. Obama was an Illinois state senator before that. He has ten or 11 years in," quote, unquote, "public service." Clinton said (impression), "Look, Charlie, when's the last time we elected a president based on one year's of service, was in the Senate before he started running? I mean, Obama, he's like a good TV commentator, Charlie, running for president. They only have one year less experience in national politics, than Obama's got," and he continues to run down the black guy, when you get right down to it. Mrs. Clinton's campaign puts up this notion that Obama might be selling drugs. So it's damage-control time for Hillary. She was all over television today. We start with The Early Show on CBS. The co-host Harry Smith had this exchange with her.
SMITH: Here's the thing, though. One of the rubs about your campaign, they say it feels like it's focus group-driven, that it's run too tightly --
SMITH: -- that people in Iowa don't get to see enough of the real you.
HILLARY: Well, that's --
SMITH: That's sort of counter to what you just --
HILLARY: Well, that's certainly not my impression.
HILLARY: That's not the first time I disagree with the press, and I probably don't think it's the last time.
RUSH: The cackle is back! Come on, Harry, don't hide your views behind other people. "One of the rubs about your campaign, they say, it feels like a focus group..." Who is "they," Charlie? Then Harry said, "You know, you're very focused on what you're doing. Is somebody focused on what Clinton is doing? Did you watch Charlie Rose by any chance Friday night, the things he was saying about Barack Obama being inadequate and like a TV announcer, not that that's such a horrible thing?"
SMITH: It's like you have a president as attack dog in this campaign.
SMITH: He was quite complimentary of everyone else except Barack Obama.
HILLARY: Well, I -- I -- I don't think that's a fair reading or seeing of what he did say. He basically made the case that the Des Moines Register editorial made, that we need a proven leader. We need someone who has years of experience making change. I think that's a fair argument to make, and, of course, I'm thrilled to have his support. You know, it's a little bit of a role reversal, but it is exciting, because, you know, he throws himself into everything he does, as you know, and he loves this country, and he believes he knows what it's going to take to make the changes we need (fake laugh) after George Bush finally leaves, and that's the case he's making.
RUSH: It is not the case he's making at all. He's making the case that Obama is an idiot! He's out there saying Obama is unqualified: The black guy can't get it done. He's saying that Barack Obama doesn't have anything... You know, this message that the Clintons are now on: "We need a proven leader. We need someone who has years of experience making change." Nobody asks her, "What change did you make when you were co-president for eight years?" It just slides on by, all this other stuff she said. "I'm thrilled to have [Clinton's] support." Let me give you another dirty little secret. People have forgotten this, but I looked it up over the weekend. All during Clinton's eight years in Washington, the White House, there were a number of times that Bill Clinton had to stand up and say (impression), "Look, I'm the president, and the buck stops with me, but well, the buck never got here, but I make the decisions," and he's out there doing it now. (impression) "Look, don't blame her on health care. She really didn't do that much. That was my failure. That didn't work because of me. Everybody got the wrong idea."
Now, I don't know about these two and their relationship. You know, people speculate about it all over the place, but Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker today opines on the body of thinking out there -- and there is a sizable portion of it -- that Clinton is actually trying to sabotage her and her chances, all these attacks on the black guy and Obama and so forth, and we all know... All we have to do is admit it: He doesn't help when he gets out there. All he does is talk about himself, but he does not help the candidates he is ostensibly campaigning for and endorses. They lose. They don't do well at all, and he's out there, and you can track her troubles directly to two things: that debate in Philadelphia where she blew the driver's license-for-illegals-in-New York question, and then Clinton riding to the rescue. That's when this swoon, if indeed it is one, began. Now he's out on Charlie Rose and trashing Obama and building up John Edwards, which goes to the point that they'd really love Edwards to win Iowa if Hillary can't. Hillary coming in third in Iowa rather than second to Obama, who might win, for some reason they think would be better for her. But the Lifson thinking goes: Look, he's trying to sabotage her because the last thing he wants is her in the White House settling scores with him.
The thoughts and the theories about these people are all over the board. Now let's go to the Today show -- and before we get to the sound bites from the Today Show -- David Gregory, by the way, filled in for Matt Lauer. There's a pretty decent post here at Campaign Spot at the NationalReviewOnline.com. "Sometimes we forget that before Howard Dean's famous scream moment, there were a bunch of signs that he was hitting the skids beforehand. First, there were a couple of brusque debate moments -- Peggy Noonan comparing him to a teapot that looked ready to boil over -- but the other big warning sign came when a guy at an Iowa town hall meeting asked for less negative campaigning and a biblical campaigning of 'love thy neighbor,' and Howard Dean gruffly snapped to this guy, "George Bush is not my neighbor." And when the questioner interrupted Dean, Dean then shouted back, 'You sit down! You had your say, and I'm going to have my say!'" Remember that? It was not Iowa friendly. It wasn't a total meltdown. But Hillary's interview with David Gregory today might be another one of those red-flag moments. She's really emphasizing the Des Moines Register endorsement, but she mentions it rather robotically. You listen and see what you think. We've got two bites from Mrs. Clinton and David Gregory, and there's a question here in the first bite: "So where's all your momentum gone, Mrs. Clinton, from six weeks ago?"
HILLARY: Well, you know, I'm going to let voters decide that, not the press. So, you know, I really don't pay a lot of attention to the day to day. I'm looking at what the trends are, what we're doing, what kind of response we're getting. It's more for me kind of a touch and a feel, and I feel really good. I feel very confident and optimistic.
RUSH: So Gregory says, "Senator Clinton, you're not really addressing the question, though. Your husband said it would be 'rolling the dice' with America's future with Barack Obama were elected. What's the risk to America if Barack Obama's the president?"
HILLARY: You know, he not only said that but the Des Moines Register editorial implied that, and a lot of people are making up their minds among real candidates, not abstractions, not hypotheticals. I welcome that kind of, you know, examination of our records, our experience, our qualifications, our vision for the country.
RUSH: That's what elections are about.
HILLARY: You know, this is what elections are as you move toward decision.
GREGORY: All right, so you're choosing not to answer that question. Let me ask you another -- another issue --
HILLARY: Well, I'm -- I'm doing -- No, no wait a minute. No, wait a minute. I am making the the case for my candidacy.
RUSH: Right, but she's not answering the question. She's mad. She was very ticked off about this. And, of course, I don't know if you could believe the Zogby poll data that we shared with you last week: voters in Iowa really, really miffed at all this negative stuff; and Hillary and her campaign are engaging in more and more of it. Now, we hear this, you know, every four years, that they hate negative campaigning. We also know that negative campaigning works. But she is hitting the black guy, and they're out there hitting him pretty hard in the areas of incompetency. She doesn't want to talk about it. She wants to rely on the Des Moines Register editorial, and, of course, begets the question, "Well, how much do these endorsements really matter, newspapers, celebrities, or what have you?"