Video: Clinton operative didn’t call Indianans “white n*****s” in 1992 Update III: Dirty trick? Update: Character witness

posted at 11:05 am on May 2, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Update IV: This is almost certainly a dirty trick aimed at Mickey Kantor and the Clinton campaign. Read all the way through the updates.

The Hillary Clinton campaign has run on a platform of 90′s nostalgia, but it won’t like this flashback to 1992. A video making the rounds today shows James Carville, George Stephanopolous, and Mickey Kantor conferring over polling results for Indiana. Kantor, who would become a member of Bill Clinton’s Cabinet and an adviser to Hillary now, offers a pungent view of Indiana voters that gives an idea of the contempt in which Democrats hold white, working-class Americans:

Kantor: Wait, wait, look at Indiania — 42-40. It doesn’t matter if we win. Those people are shit. Oh, excuse me … How would you like to be a worthless white n*****? [Note: See update III]

And suddenly, Crackerquiddick is on the other foot. This looks like it came from The WRoom, a documentary about the first Clinton presidential campaign, although I don’t recall the scene. Regardless, there can be little dispute about the people in the video being Carville, Stephanopolous, and Kantor.

What makes this worse is that Kantor gives that creepy, sotto voce whisper while saying this, knowing how bad it sounds but obviously unable to stop himself from saying it. Neither Carville nor Stephanopolous challenge Kantor, at least not in this clip. All three appear to agree that Indiana voters are worthless for Democrats even when they supported Clinton.

This isn’t quite as bad as Obama’s comments in San Francisco in a couple of respects. Hillary isn’t saying this, and it was 16 years ago, not six weeks ago. However, the disgust for the white working class comes through much more clearly in this video, and the fact that it comes from a former Clinton Cabinet official and current adviser makes it all the more compelling.

Indiana voters go to the polls in less than a week. Will they figure out which campaign despises them less?

Update: This looks like a winner in the netroots, too. Both Kos and DU have begun promoting it, and readers at TPM Election Center already have accused Josh and Greg of ignoring it for the minutes it’s been out on the Internet.

Just when we thought the identity politics meltdown had reached its zenith …

Update II: Via The Corner, the HuffPo has a denial of sorts from Kantor:

Mickey Kantor, who served as campaign chairman during Clinton’s 1992 run for the White House and says he has offered help and advice to Sen. Clinton, insisted that the tape was a fraud and that he was exploring legal steps against the individual who posted it online.

“I’ve never used that word [the n-word] in my entire life, ever, under any circumstance, ever,” an angry Kantor told The Huffington Post, citing his and his parent’s work fighting for civil rights. “I have listened to [the video] and so have you. You can’t tell what it is I’m saying in that second sentence, you can’t decipher that.”

As Byron York points out, that still leaves Kantor calling Hoosiers “shit” even when they support Democrats. It’s not exactly a helpful walkback, especially since his best effort is to claim that people can’t hear what he whispered to Stephanopolous. And when the volume gets raised, it certainly sounds as though the closed-caption text in the video gets the quote accurate.

Update III: The director of War Room says this is a fabrication, and that makes sense; even in 1993, this would have made headlines if it came off like this. Take another listen to the audio in the clip that started going around yesterday:

Now, what Kantor and director D.A Pennebaker claim is that Kantor said this:

Those people are shit — Oh, excuse me … shitting in the White House [at Perot's numbers].

Notice that yesterday’s version stops before his alleged racial reference to Stephanopolous, too.

Now, the big question is this: if the version going around today is doctored, who doctored it and who started spreading it around the Internet? Cui bono? Who benefits from a dirty trick against Hillary in the days just before the election, especially one that plays against the white, working-class voters? Hint: Does Hope and Change sound familiar?

It won’t have come from any campaign or established organization, though. No one would be that foolish.

Update V: Here’s the clip from War Room, thanks to Ed Driscoll. Go to about 4:30 in this YouTube, and see for yourself. The context is clearly the polling results and how bad they looked for the Bush campaign, referencing Texas specifically:

I understand the original video has been pulled by the owner. That tells us something.

Update (AP): For what it’s worth, KP e-mails to say that she worked for Kantor at the White House and knows he’d never use language like this. I believe it: We’re not talking about surveillance cam video here, where Kantor might not have known he was being recorded. Pennebaker had a lens right in his face. He’d have to be an abject moron to drop the N-bomb with the tape rolling.

I sure hope we don’t find Team Barry’s fingerprints on this highly racially polarizing little smear job.

Update (Ed): Go read Baldilock’s excellent post on the etymology of the racial epithet.


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Boy, bettah watch yo mouf when the video rolls.

TheSitRep on May 2, 2008 at 6:09 PM

I believe he was quoting Democrat Senator Byrd.

gary on May 2, 2008 at 6:47 PM

Go to about 4:30 in this YouTube, and see for yourself.

are you serious? I am not watching 4 and half minutes of that “documentary” because I might actually lose IQ points. I’ll take Baldilocks and Ed’s word on it. I need a shower about watching that much of James Carville….

Branch Rickey on May 2, 2008 at 6:50 PM

Branch Rickey on May 2, 2008 at 6:50 PM

Second that motion.

BadgerHawk on May 2, 2008 at 7:18 PM

If Mickey didn’t say anything rank, why did he have to whisper it? He’s in the War Room for heaven’s sake, why would it be a secret to announce good poll numbers? And then he excused himself, glancing over at the crew.

Creatures from Hell.

leftnomore on May 2, 2008 at 7:46 PM

If Mickey didn’t say anything rank, why did he have to whisper it?
leftnomore on May 2, 2008 at 7:46 PM

Because he had a documentary film maker with a camera in his face.

If you watch and listen to the original you can plainly see is saying they are shi**ing in the White House.

EJDolbow on May 2, 2008 at 8:01 PM

And that makes them a class act? Disgusting.

leftnomore on May 2, 2008 at 8:04 PM

Watching these operatives hi-fiving at successfully selling their Marxist message is revolting. The whole approach was to use Perot to wedge the voters away from GB. Thanks, PEROT… are you happy? YOU gave us this witch that we are now fighting off.

leftnomore on May 2, 2008 at 8:08 PM

God, this is fu**ing stupid. Next.

Dave Rywall on May 2, 2008 at 8:19 PM

Let’s see if those investigative journalism skills that KO has can get to the bottom of this one.

thirtypundit on May 2, 2008 at 8:30 PM

And that makes them a class act? Disgusting.

leftnomore on May 2, 2008 at 8:04 PM

No, they are Clintonians. But the point is he did not say what the Obamanite tried to pin on him.

EJDolbow on May 2, 2008 at 8:51 PM

God, this is fu**ing stupid. Next.
Dave Rywall on May 2, 2008 at 8:19 PM

Ol’ Dave, the Canadian Troll that relished in trashing threads at Captains Quarters. Pretty tough here Dave; good luck.

Keemo on May 2, 2008 at 9:18 PM

Watching these operatives hi-fiving at successfully selling their Marxist message is revolting. The whole approach was to use Perot to wedge the voters away from GB.

You mean asking the wealthy to pay a higher tax rate, balancing the budget, and leading the economy to low unemployment and a massive increase in the stock market is Marixist?

Or is the government allowing special interests write major legislation, like the Prescription Drug Bill, more Marxist?

bayam on May 2, 2008 at 9:33 PM

Rywall & Bayam trolling the same thread! Say it isn’t so!

Truth is Bayam, BJ got lucky with the dot.com boom, and also benefited “at the expense of others” by closing hundreds of military bases around the country, while shrinking the military down to the perfect size for an attack on our homeland.

Cheers…

Keemo on May 2, 2008 at 9:43 PM

Even in the updates, I’m not catching your context, Ed. It seems like DKos’ assessment of Kaus’ words is pretty accurate.
Plus, Carville’s hat is atrocious. The nineties produced great music and terrible fashion.

joewm315 on May 2, 2008 at 9:50 PM

George is gay. He has to be.

carbon_footprint on May 2, 2008 at 9:53 PM

joewm315 on May 2, 2008 at 9:50 PM

Hmm, maybe I was wrong. My hearing and analysis skills are not keen enough for this exercise. I suppose if I have to work that hard to find something to take offense to, then I am the one in the wrong.

joewm315 on May 2, 2008 at 9:57 PM

Something smells fishy in Arkansas.

TexasBella on May 2, 2008 at 9:59 PM

Oh, yes…more chaos from the democrats! The NC governor’s race is getting quite ugly on the democrat side! I LOVE IT!

SouthernGent on May 2, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Given that we have the three least adept people to run the country, I’m going to sit back and watch. And vote for the lesser evil.

TexasBella on May 2, 2008 at 10:05 PM

I was a stalwart Mitt Romney supporter, but I would probably vote for Hillary over McCain. I just don’t like the guy, never have.

TexasBella on May 2, 2008 at 10:14 PM

It sounded like he said “Those people are sh***ing”.

SoulGlo on May 2, 2008 at 10:36 PM

God, this is fu**ing stupid. Next.

Dave Rywall on May 2, 2008 at 8:19 PM

It is. And you own it. Be proud.

Entelechy on May 2, 2008 at 11:08 PM

bayam on May 2, 2008 at 9:33 PM

Yes, that is Marxist, and in your case also class warfare. Why should the wealthy pay more in taxes? I’m for a simple and flat tax system. The poorest should get a break and the rest of us should pay a fixed percentage. I could care less how rich you’d become. I’d never envy you.

When you know what you spew about, come back here.

Entelechy on May 2, 2008 at 11:13 PM

Oh, who cares if he said it or not? A man made a vulgar comment in the heat of the moment in a presidential election!

Get over it.

PattyJ on May 3, 2008 at 12:04 AM

OMG if Obama has to pull out stupid stunts like this to try and win a state like Indiana that he should have easily won, his campaign is OVER!

Chakra Hammer on May 3, 2008 at 12:25 AM

Thanks to those who disproved this one.
.
There are some many other detestable things about the Clintons that there is no need to make up anything.

Right_of_Attila on May 3, 2008 at 4:04 AM

Here is the text of an email titled “Hillary Clinton’s Disgraceful Campaign: Racism and Hypocrisy” that is being circulated mostly amoung non-white employees at a company I work with, but was “discovered” and forwarded to me. It also has a picture of Rev. Wright shaking hands with Bill Clinton at the top. Sorry if too large…:

[Elections 2008: Op-Ed Commentary On Hypocrisy]

In the aftermath of the Pennsylvania Democratic primary — a race in which Senator Hillary Clinton had a 20-point lead only a few months ago — the racism and hypocrisy of the Clinton campaign was laid bare for all a nation to scorn.

Desperate and willing to do anything to win, the Clintons resorted to a naked form of racism aimed directly at white working-class voters in the rural portions of the state. Their message: Barack Obama cannot win because he’s black.

In the early stages of the campaign, it was Clinton’s cadre who kept playing the race card. In New Hampshire, Clinton’s co-chair, Billy Shaheen, accused Obama of being a drug dealer; then there was the photograph of Sen. Barack Obama in Somalian garb leaked to the press by Clinton’s staff.

In the aftermath of the South Carolina primary, former President Bill Clinton compared Obama’s victory to those of Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988. His message was clear: Obama was a marginal, black candidate.

Then came the disgraceful remarks of Geraldine Ferraro, who could not, and would not, shut her mouth. “If Obama was a white man,” she charged, “he would not be in this position.” And she was adamant and unapologetic amid the resulting outcry. “Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist,” she proclaimed. “I will not be discriminated against because I’m white.”

Say what?

The Clintons refused to publicly call for Ferraro’s resignation. Ferraro remained unrepentant when she finally did resign. “The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you,” she bitterly wrote Hillary. And she never apologized for her remarks.

To anyone who has followed the Clinton campaign closely, it is all too apparent that her top political strategists — reeling from losses from coast to coast and badly miscalculating the grassroots power of the Obama movement — made a tactical decision to go negative, as that would be the only way for Clinton to stop Obama and somehow allow her to steal the nomination.

And go negative they did — with a subtle yet consistent racism underscoring every turn. The now notorious red-phone-at-3:00-a.m. television ad used by Clinton during the Texas primary, as Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson noted in the New York Times, was reminiscent of D. W. Griffith’s racist film Birth of a Nation, which helped revive the Ku Klux Klan.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell, who headed up Clinton’s campaign, was publicly saying that white voters in the Keystone State would not vote for Obama because he was black. Rendell’s remarks were racist from the get-go, but no one in the white media called him on it. Indeed, the media began playing the game.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos — who worked as Bill Clinton’s press secretary and lied through his teeth on Clinton’s behalf (where’s the journalistic “objectivity” here?) — brought up Obama’s relationship to former ‘60s radical Bill Ayers. And the rest of the media went bonkers over Obama’s all-too-honest remarks about conservative white voters hanging on to God and guns.

Amidst so much fury signifying nothing, Hillary Clinton finally did her own bidding. Racism is as racism does. She boldly linked Obama with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Wright with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. That linkage was patently racist at its core — yet, once again, no one in the mainstream media so much as blinked. In so doing, Clinton was echoing the views of rightwing conservative and white supremacist Sean Hannity. Talk about shameful.

And when asked about Reverend Wright by The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Clinton declared, “Given all that we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor. While we don’t have a choice when it comes to our relatives, we do have a choice when it comes to our pastors or our church.”

As anyone who has read the two major recent biographies of Hillary Clinton (Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton, by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.; and A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Carl Bernstein) knows all too well, she will do whatever she has to do and say whatever she has to say in the unbridled (and unscrupulous) pursuit of power. The ash heap of her duplicity sprawls across decades and across various regions of this country — from Arkansas to the White House, from Illinois to, well, now, Pennsylvania.

Clinton is an inveterate liar — I am sorry, there is truly no other word for it — and as her ill-fated presidential campaign tumbles toward its inevitable demise, the personal deception that is at the core of her personality, and of her career, continues to reveal itself.

As we all know, truth may be slow of foot, but it is always inevitable. Only this past weekend, as Clinton continued to reference Reverend Wright in her stump speeches, the filmmaker Michael Moore reminded us that in 1998, Reverend Wright had actually been a guest at the Clinton White House, for a “prayer breakfast,” after Bill Clinton’s rather tawdry affair with intern Monica Lewinsky had been made public.

“Thank you so much for your kind message,” Clinton wrote Wright after his visit. “I am touched by your prayers and by the many expressions of encouragement and support I have received from friends across our country. You have my best wishes.”

And guess what? According to the just released schedules of Hillary Clinton by the National Archives, she was in attendance at that breakfast, too. With the one-and-only Jeremiah Wright. While her husband was seeking salvation and forgiveness.

The hypocrisy is staggering.

But not surprising. “We know there are still many Americans who will never vote for a black man,” Moore observed. “Hillary knows it, too. She’s counting on it.”

TheCulturalist on May 3, 2008 at 7:54 AM

Ed can give them the benefit of the doubt if he wants. But my whole life I’ve believed this is how liberals see working class Americans. True or not, I would not be the least bit surprised if this was said by any of Clinton’s gang, especially Carville.

abcurtis on May 3, 2008 at 8:18 AM

11
May 2nd, 2008 @ 3:38pm
by KPHO.com

An 18-year-old illegal immigrant has been arrested in connection with the rape of an 11-year-old girl, Maricopa County sheriff’s deputies said.

Enrique Jacobo-Valdez was booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail on two counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

Jacobo-Valdez, who is known to the young girl’s family, is currently unemployed and had a warrant out for his arrest from Pinal County for possession of dangerous drugs, deputies said.

The sheriff’s office said it dispatched deputies after receiving a phone call Thursday from the victim’s grandmother indicating that she found the 11-year-old locked inside a bedroom.

The man was running from the home when the girl finally opened the door, sheriff’s investigators said.

The grandmother and mother of the victim took the girl to a local hospital where it was determined that she is at least six weeks pregnant and may have been impregnated by the rape, deputies said.

Jacobo-Valdez returned to the girls’ home where he was arrested by deputies for the Pinal County felony warrant, according to MCSO.

During an interrogation, he admitted raping the 11-year-old, sheriff’s deputies said.

DfDeportation on May 3, 2008 at 11:03 AM

TheCulturalist on May 3, 2008 at 7:54 AM

Informative, but edit. zzz.

leftnomore on May 4, 2008 at 3:59 AM

DfDeportation on May 3, 2008 at 11:03 AM

Is the rapist related to Kantor? I’m lost.

leftnomore on May 4, 2008 at 4:02 AM

Then came the disgraceful remarks of Geraldine Ferraro, who could not, and would not, shut her mouth. “If Obama was a white man,” she charged, “he would not be in this position.” And she was adamant and unapologetic amid the resulting outcry. “Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist,” she proclaimed. “I will not be discriminated against because I’m white.”

Say what? TheCulturalist on May 3, 2008 at 7:54 AM

I will say it: What?

The remarks of Ferraro were not disgraceful in the least. They were refreshingly honest.

I as a conservative have come to admire Ferraro for this type of integrity. My admiration was born when I heard her explain why she felt naturalized citizens should not be allowed to run for President.

Ferraro said she saw the example of her parent (I cannot remember if it was one, or both parents) a naturalized citizen from Italy. In WWII it was necessary to bomb Italy. Her parent was against it.

Ferraro explained, with great love for her parent, that in a war to defend America, the President has to make hard choices. Her parent had the love of a native born for birth nation and family and relatives still living there that interfered with the ability to make the hard choice.

This love for the birth nation in immigrants can cause a divided loyalty, a hesitation in decision making when there is no allowance for hesitation.

Ferraro was able to honestly say her parent would not be a proper choice for President because of birth.

Ferraro is a Democrat, but she spoke better than I ever heard why the Founders eliminated naturalized citizens from the Presidency.

Feraro is no knee jerk multi-culturalist

entagor on May 4, 2008 at 11:12 AM

“I’ve never used that word [the n-word] in my entire life, ever, under any circumstance, ever,” an angry Kantor told The Huffington Post”…C’mon, it’s ok to call white people that word!!! What’s the big deal here, Demo handiwipes?
And, why is Gator Boy wearing gloves? He doesn’t want finger prints on the receiver or is he cold because he’s not basking in the heat of the Looseyana swamp?
Bottom line, Kantor excused himself…he’s really a ‘nice’, pc, albeit wimpy little viper.
I was screaming: BUCKET! at the end there. A ‘Barf Alert’ would be helpful…

Christine on May 4, 2008 at 7:15 PM

democrats

custer on May 4, 2008 at 10:36 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3