Obama: What’s in Hillary’s tax returns? Update:Clinton compares Obama to who?

posted at 10:50 am on March 6, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The gloves will come off, Barack Obama has promised his supporters, and it looks like he may have already taken his first swing at negative politicking. Calling Hillary Clinton one of the most secretive politicians in America, the Obama campaign publicly demanded that Hillary release her tax returns. Team Hillary responded with a Rezko question:

Barack Obama’s campaign took fresh aim at Hillary Clinton Wednesday for refusing to release her tax returns, asking in a memo circulated to reporters, “What does Clinton have to hide?”

“In the face of her unwillingness to release her tax returns, Hillary Clinton has made the false case in this campaign that she is more electable because she has been fully vetted,” the memo stated. “When it comes to her personal finances, Senator Clinton’s refusal to release her taxes returns denies the media and the American people the opportunity to even begin that process.”

David Axelrod, the Obama campaign’s chief strategist, also said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday that Clinton has a history of non-disclosure and is the least-vetted candidate in the presidential race.

Clinton had said she will only release her tax returns if she captures the Democratic nomination, though her communications director, Howard Wolfson, issued a statement Wednesday indicating she would do so around April 15.

The demand also came from Obama himself, an interesting development. Obama had insisted that he would not get into attack politics, and for a while he didn’t need to do so. Until Tuesday, Obama had rolled up eleven straight victories in primary contests and could afford to keep himself above the fray.

Unfortunately, that left him vulnerable to Hillary at just the moment when two obstacles appeared in his path to the nomination: the NAFTA Dance and Tony Rezko. Hillary exploited both openings, and Obama’s response hardly gave an indication that he could fight a tough general-election campaign. Now he has to answer Hillary’s attacks with some of his own, not so much to increase her negatives — could they go any higher? — but to prove to the superdelegates that he is up to the task in the general election. A few more stumbles and his pledged delegate lead may not be relevant in Denver.

The question then becomes whether Obama can maintain the image of a reformer and a new kind of politician while personally engaging in negative campaigning. For people like John McCain or even Hillary, their resumes give them a clear identity. Without his identity as the savior of modern politics, Obama has almost literally nothing to present to voters.

UPDATE: Is it wise for Hillary Clinton to bring up Ken Starr?

Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson just said on a conference call with reporters: “I for one do not find that imitating Ken Starr is a way to win a Democratic primary election for president.”

So asking for tax returns somehow equates to a supposed witch hunt about sex?  What did Hillary do to earn money, anyway?


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“Oh goodie!!”
/Flounder

rhodeymark on March 6, 2008 at 10:53 AM

*quickly goes to the kitchen to put some popcorn in the microwave and grab a soda*

This is going to get good….

rbb on March 6, 2008 at 10:54 AM

“In the face of her unwillingness to release her tax returns, Hillary Clinton has made the false case in this campaign that she is more electable because she has been fully vetted,” the memo stated. “When it comes to her personal finances, Senator Clinton’s refusal to release her taxes returns denies the media and the American people the opportunity to even begin that process.”

And you are vetted, Barack? How did Rezko afford to buy $625,000 in land for you, while he had $50 million in debt? How much money did the indicted developer make for you in donations?

amerpundit on March 6, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Forget about Hillary’s tax returns Dude; what’s in your wife’s Cheerios? Mrs. The Obama comes across like Robert Mugabe without his compassion. That spells more trouble for you than the tax returns do for we-already-know-they-lie-about-tax-returns Clintons.

Branch Rickey on March 6, 2008 at 10:56 AM

His best political move may be to refuse both the veep nomination on her ticket or giving her the veep slot.

This would contrast strongly with Hillary’s panting in this area and signal his seriousness to a new type of politics (which we here know is a fraud).

Valiant on March 6, 2008 at 10:56 AM

He thinks he can out-slime the Clintons? Seriously, they’re the Clintons!

On the other hand, we’re witnessing a universal truth here; the only effective way to keep someone down is to climb down into the gutter with them.

landshark on March 6, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Without his identity as the savior of modern politics, Obama has almost literally nothing to present to voters.

The Emperor’s New Clothes

Could someone with mad Photoshop skills insert Obama on the cover of this children’s classic. It would make a great screen cap when questions regarding his “policies” are raised.

natesnake on March 6, 2008 at 10:59 AM

The messiah implosion…

Theworldisnotenough on March 6, 2008 at 10:59 AM

Let me predict that Hillary will release her tax returns and they will show nothing of any real interest. When this happens, Obama’s trial balloon will hang limp in his hands. He simply doesn’t have the wherewithal for a toe-to-toe, knock down drag out fight with Hillary.

rplat on March 6, 2008 at 11:00 AM

He thinks he can out-slime the Clintons? Seriously, they’re the Clintons!

landshark on March 6, 2008 at 10:57 AM

BINGO!

Branch Rickey on March 6, 2008 at 11:00 AM

And then there’s this new wrinkle.

Barak as a reformer is a joke. Without his ill-fitting halo, he’s nothing more than you’re run of the mill Chicago hack.

yo on March 6, 2008 at 11:01 AM

* your (oops)

yo on March 6, 2008 at 11:02 AM

See what we would have missed if we hadn’t given Hillary a little boost…

TheBigOldDog on March 6, 2008 at 11:03 AM

April 22 is a long way off in political terms. When, the day before the Texas and Ohio contests, the media was full of the ‘Hillary back-down’ articles it looked like he knew the free ride was over. Now this. Hillary has him moving toward the ropes but does she know how to finish him off?
Gonna be an interesting six weeks.

Limerick on March 6, 2008 at 11:04 AM

‘BOUT TIME……HERE WE GO!
This is what I’ve been waiting for, the destruction of two lefty idiots with plenty of skeletons.

shooter on March 6, 2008 at 11:04 AM

It has begun!

Let the war drums commence beating!

pilamaye on March 6, 2008 at 11:06 AM

From the link:

“Though her campaign has tried to kick the issue down the road, Democratic voters deserve to know, right now, why it is she is hiding the information in her tax returns from last year,” the Obama memo stated. “The Clinton campaign has said that they have released copious amounts of financial information but there are many questions about their private dealings that could be answered in their tax returns but not in the information that is currently available.

Whenever I see someone accusing their opponent of hiding something it makes me wonder if its not partially because they’re hiding something themselves. We know Hillary is a lying political shrew, but its Obama’s dirt that needs time in the open. I hope she tears him apart – something that we can’t possibly do with our lame candidate and the murky claims of racism we’d almost certainly run into.

blankminde on March 6, 2008 at 11:07 AM

I’m still rooting for our gal in all this. If she stings him badly enough, no way would he be able to take the VP slot under her. Go, Hillary! And, don’t forget Michigan/Florida while you’re at it. Don’t let those voters be disenfranchised.

a capella on March 6, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Hey “YO” thanks for the link.

Love this hogwash we are suppose to swallow (emphasis mine):

“We do not know how decisions were made to fill specific state positions, and we have no records of any individual recommendations we were asked to make or made,” says Obama spokesman Bill Burton

Branch Rickey on March 6, 2008 at 11:08 AM

All you can do is hope for casualties.

AbaddonsReign on March 6, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Branch Rickey on March 6, 2008 at 11:08 AM

Any time.

Trust me, y’all … the last thing this country needs is any of the Illinois crooks having a line in to the White House.

yo on March 6, 2008 at 11:12 AM

Will Obama settle for Veep?

The more rancor spilled, the less likely.

And Michelle O. will surely whisper to him:

You ain’t endin’ up as some shuckin’ flunky, second-class “Drivin’ Mizz Hillary” houseboy, Barack! No way!”

profitsbeard on March 6, 2008 at 11:16 AM

How soon before we see the “leave Barack alone” video on youtube.

It’s probably already there.

swami on March 6, 2008 at 11:19 AM

That didn’t take long.

He’s playing this dirty game like an old pro.

Hope & Change?

Perhaps not.

Surprised?

LimeyGeek on March 6, 2008 at 11:19 AM

Pot. Kettle. Light Brown.

fogw on March 6, 2008 at 11:20 AM

the only effective way to keep someone down is to climb down into the gutter with them.
landshark on March 6, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Ya know, thats only true IF you don’t have anything of real substance to use to defeat them.
Men and women of honor can easily defeat an opponent that lives in the gutter by using truths, integrity, good character and honesty.
So for the oba-mess, you are correct, he does need to get into the gutter…where shillary has lived for some decades now.

shooter on March 6, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Hey buddy, you’re gonna have to do better than this, people expect Clintons to commit tax fraud.

You better find some pictures of her in SS jack boots and a nuns habit pile driving Huma from behind while forcing little NY school children to rock back and forth and chant the Koran.

You’re out of your league in this arena, rookie.

Alden Pyle on March 6, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Excellent Smithers….

ihasurnominashun on March 6, 2008 at 11:27 AM

I will bet that something will come out that will damage Obama so badly that he will lose the nomination. . . but Hillary will want to put him on the ticket to ‘unite the party’.

After she puts him on the ticket something else comes out and he is the anchor around her neck that sinks her. There’s a lot of time between now and November. . . and McCain has nothing to do but plan attacks.

ThackerAgency on March 6, 2008 at 11:31 AM

What did Hillary do to earn money, anyway?

None of our business.

LimeyGeek on March 6, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Hillary hasn’t released her tax forms to the public? I’m still waiting for her husband’s medical records.

Bigfoot on March 6, 2008 at 11:43 AM

. . . and McCain has nothing to do but plan attacks.

ThackerAgency on March 6, 2008 at 11:31 AM

I’m going to have to disagree. McCain will shock me if he actually has the nerve to draw negative comparisons with the Dem nominee. I agree that he needs to, and even hope that failing him doing it that someone does, but I just don’t see it coming from McCain.

blankminde on March 6, 2008 at 11:45 AM

See what we would have missed if we hadn’t given Hillary a little boost…

TheBigOldDog on March 6, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Yeah, well, we also would have missed Clintons,The Sequel, coming soon to a White House near you.

Yeah, I know everyone who rooted for and voted for and helped Hillary in her hour of need is in full-throated denial now. And I know that the short-sighted can’t get past giggling and making yet one more -grab-the-popcorn post.

But here’s just hoping the Obama express stays on the rails long enough to get the nomination.

Anyone else notice that Bill was nowhere to be seen Tuesday night?

What Hillary has done in the past couple weeks is define herself as herself and come out from under his shadow. If she wins the nomination her narrative as an indefatigable fighter is going to be very, very compelling.

Hell, I would never–ever–vote for her but even I find her comeback and her tancity admirable.

Obama’s always been a mirage; a chimera; an empty suit. Yeah, all you guys did real good setting him up for a fall.

Typhoon on March 6, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Is it just me or is Obama’s halo starting to look a little tarnished?

TooTall on March 6, 2008 at 11:47 AM

“When it comes to her personal finances, Senator Clinton’s refusal to release her taxes returns denies the media and the American people the opportunity to even begin that process.”

Now if you were releasing a memo to the press that was supposed to be your big ol’ first strike on your opponent, do you think it would be a good idea to proofread it first?

ReubenJCogburn on March 6, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Let the war drums commence beating!

Racist!
/TPM

rhodeymark on March 6, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Here’s more on Rezko “clout” list. I don’t see anything particularly damaging to Obama in this piece, but I am struck by the sheer number of patronage positions that exist (like the State Boxing and Wrestling Board).

Buy Danish on March 6, 2008 at 11:56 AM

Yeah, I know everyone who rooted for and voted for and helped Hillary in her hour of need is in full-throated denial now.
Typhoon on March 6, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Nope. Not me. I firmly believe she IS the lesser of the two dem evils. And like so many others have said, that’s pretty amazing, but true.

shibumiglass on March 6, 2008 at 11:59 AM

Nope. Not me. I firmly believe she IS the lesser of the two dem evils. And like so many others have said, that’s pretty amazing, but true.

shibumiglass on March 6, 2008 at 11:59 AM

I agree she’s the lesser of the two evils as President. But I most heartily disagree that she’s the more beatable in the general. What galls me is that so many on the right have quaked in tremulous fear at the empty suit Obama for so long.

And now–for whatever part the right has played–Clinton is not only the stronger candidate, but she’s truly defined herself as herself and for the first time since she’s been on the national stage there are likable aspects of that persona.

So not only have all you guys helped in tearing down a posturing clown before they were stuck with running him, but you’ve helped Hillary look like a fighter in her own right in the doing.

Congrats.

Typhoon on March 6, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Howard Wolfson must be the kind of guy who gets his jollies out of throwing gasoline on a fire. Because with comparing B.O. to Starr, he just dumped a 55 gallon drum on an already raging inferno.

pilamaye on March 6, 2008 at 12:06 PM

But…but…the dems are all about openness, aren’t they? Sunshine laws and freedom of information? Isn’t that why they sued Cheney in the first place? The dems would never act like that!! (would they…would they?) /sarc off
This is getting to be so much fun.

bookman on March 6, 2008 at 12:09 PM

“You ain’t endin’ up as some shuckin’ flunky, second-class “Drivin’ Mizz Hillary” houseboy, Barack! No way!”

profitsbeard on March 6, 2008 at 11:16 AM

What a play this could make. Broadway.

p.s. She probably doesn’t call him Barack.

Entelechy on March 6, 2008 at 12:13 PM

I hope McCain’s stff is keeping a very careful list of the charges that fly back and forth. Nothing like getting your opponents to do first-rate oppo-research for you when you have a limited budget (because you are a dumb-ass).

drunyan8315 on March 6, 2008 at 12:14 PM

And Michelle O. will surely whisper to him:

“You ain’t endin’ up as some shuckin’ flunky, second-class “Drivin’ Mizz Hillary” houseboy, Barack! No way!”

profitsbeard on March 6, 2008 at 11:16 AM

ROFL!!!

Branch Rickey on March 6, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Ya know, thats only true IF you don’t have anything of real substance to use to defeat them.

Men and women of honor can easily defeat an opponent that lives in the gutter by using truths, integrity, good character and honesty.
So for the oba-mess, you are correct, he does need to get into the gutter…where shillary has lived for some decades now.

shooter on March 6, 2008 at 11:20 AM

That’s a fair comment, Shooter but I personally wouldn’t consider using truth, honesty, character, etc. as keeping someone down – that’s just getting them inside the wheelhouse so you can knock ‘em down. :P

landshark on March 6, 2008 at 12:22 PM

And Michelle O. will surely whisper to him:

“You ain’t endin’ up as some shuckin’ flunky, second-class “Drivin’ Mizz Hillary” houseboy, Barack! No way!”

profitsbeard on March 6, 2008 at 11:16 AM

ROFL!!!

Branch Rickey on March 6, 2008 at 12:16 PM

Mama Michelle fantasizes of a time in the future where she is in the Sitting Room in the White House, she picks up a bell, rings it once and yells out “Hillary! Where is my Hostess Twinkie?!!!”

pilamaye on March 6, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Wow, did Wolfson mention Starr?

Not only are the Clinton’s preparing to burn the house down, but their not even donning an asbestos suit.

mylegsareswollen on March 6, 2008 at 12:24 PM

Now if you were releasing a memo to the press that was supposed to be your big ol’ first strike on your opponent, do you think it would be a good idea to proofread it first?

ReubenJCogburn on March 6, 2008 at 11:48 AM

I am going to have to disagree with you here. I bet they did have an NEA trained proof reader check this. lewl…..

Branch Rickey on March 6, 2008 at 12:25 PM

Ha ha. This is gonna be so much fun.

jewells45 on March 6, 2008 at 12:32 PM

*Heard over the PA system:*

Laydeeeeeees and Gentlemen…….

mogilla on March 6, 2008 at 12:34 PM

To quote Terrell Owens, “Get your popcorn ready!”

GuitarPlayer52 on March 6, 2008 at 12:41 PM

@profitsbeard – why do we have to settle for stupid jive talk when talking about people like Obama? Seriously, lets try to be mature.

A Axe on March 6, 2008 at 12:47 PM

“Clinton had said she will only release her tax returns if she captures the Democratic nomination,”…
Let’s just give her the White House, she has ‘earned it’ by just the sheer weight of her chutzpah…So, I’m into capitulation now. I’m exhausted from hanging on for years and hoping that the Clintoons will finally get their just rewards and fade away. I want to forget that I feel like ‘arry Potta when he found out about his destiny in connection with Moldyfart: ‘Neither can live while the other survives’.

Christine on March 6, 2008 at 12:50 PM

What did Hillary do to earn money, anyway?

Earn is not the question. From the IRS:

“If you gave any one person gifts in 2007 that are valued at more than $12,000, you must report the total gifts to the Internal Revenue Service and may have to pay tax on the gifts. The person who receives your gift does not have to report the gift to the IRS or pay gift or income tax on its value.”

Dusty on March 6, 2008 at 12:50 PM

…In this world I need order and justice, in Hilly’s Brave New World all I need is a big bottle of Soma. Sounds like a deal.

Christine on March 6, 2008 at 12:54 PM

sheesh what a mess, I’m registered as a democrat but that party can’t seem to get it’s act together, from the michigan/florida issues to this stupidity, I think I’m going to vote for mccain when it comes down to it; the more I read the less I like Obama, because I sure as hell don’t want another clinton in office.

drift on March 6, 2008 at 12:54 PM

They’d better not get blood on my popcorn.

29Victor on March 6, 2008 at 1:03 PM

The anti-Obama quote of my day is: “what’s in your wife’s Cheerios?” Indeed. I wish someone would challenge MO with the murder rate of whites versus blacks–at a gas station.
I can’t picture Michelle at the WH dining table with foreign diplomats without wincing; I see her throwing a knife at someone because they challenged her racism.
She is downright scary, but that will probably get her a seat in Congress. She’s the black version of Hillary without the filter.

Christine on March 6, 2008 at 1:04 PM

I bow at your feet, drift…there is hope.

Christine on March 6, 2008 at 1:05 PM

I think the Starr comparison is fair.

Remember what happend to Obama’s Illinois Senate opponent? His name was Jack Ryan. Not saying Obama had anything to do with the disclosure of Ryan’s divorce and custody documents, but shortly after they were disclosed, Ryan was out. Coincidence? Perhaps. Ugly? Definitely.

sheesh on March 6, 2008 at 2:55 PM

I’ve read awhile back some pretty convincing stuff that Obama was pretty much behind getting the court to get that information released. The files had been sealed; Obama or his lawyer sued to get them opened. Will do some googling to find the link. Pretty sure it was a reliable source.

marybel on March 6, 2008 at 3:23 PM

Are you telling me that the Clinton family doesn’t file a joint return? They file separate returns? Well, knock me over with a feather.

cjs1943 on March 6, 2008 at 3:36 PM

sheesh:
Best I could do. Googled and seems there is no real foolproof proof, per se, but I give you this to check out for grins:

http://biglizards.net/blog/archives/2008/02/lets_do_it_agai.html

marybel on March 6, 2008 at 3:39 PM

I’m beginning to wonder about Obama’s political instincts. A single tax return will be, at most, embarrassing. Her White House papers could be terminal.

1) Hillary will just keep repeating that she’s going to make her tax return public “around” April 15th (i.e. just like everybody else in America!). If she actually does it, she’ll miss that deadline by just enough days to put her statement out on the Friday evening before the Pa. primary. I personally think she’ll try to finesse it, because she’d really rather not expose her financials to highly motivated public scrutiny unless she gets the nomination and can’t avoid it. As a Senator & presidential wannabe, it’s not hardly likely that she hasn’t prepped her financial record keeping with disclosure in mind.

2) What will really hurt her campaign (and conceivably, her future in politics, period) are her First Lady papers. Not only is that disclosure a much more attractive issue politically than “bickering” over the due date for her returns, Clinton’s insistence on her experience credentials means that it’s an inquiry that she herself has invited, not a negative attack at all. It’s already clear that she simply lied about the delay when asked about it at the debate, so Obama doesn’t even have to make that charge. He can push as hard as he wants without ceding his claim to the high ground, and I’m not sure why he’s focusing on the tax return business instead — especially when murky financials are the fly in his own soup.

JM Hanes on March 6, 2008 at 3:57 PM

Team Hillary responded with a Rezko question…

Tu quoque, Uncte.

Tzetzes on March 6, 2008 at 5:15 PM

Another photo of Obama with a “halo” –snort

Ragnell on March 6, 2008 at 6:07 PM

Forget about Hillary’s tax returns Dude; what’s in your wife’s Cheerios? Mrs. The Obama comes across like Robert Mugabe without his compassion.
Branch Rickey on March 6, 2008 at 10:56 AM

Oh I liked that one.. a good idea for a photoshop too

Ragnell on March 6, 2008 at 6:11 PM

So asking for tax returns somehow equates to a supposed witch hunt about sex? What did Hillary do to earn money, anyway?

Looks like it’s time for David Shuster to make yet another inappropriate comment….

Seixon on March 7, 2008 at 3:49 AM