I had honestly forgotten all about this kerfuffle, but ABC News’ Michael Falcone has a long memory, apparently. The Barack Obama campaign objected strongly to the “3 AM phone call” attacks from Hillary Clinton about this time four years ago, as Clinton strung out the primaries and forced Obama to defend his inexperience. When Clinton aired this ad, which included an image of Osama bin Laden, they erupted in indignation — and compared Hillary to George W. Bush:
On the eve of the 2008 Pennsylvania primary, Clinton’s campaign released a television commercial featuring an image of bin Laden and invoking President Harry S. Truman’s quote: “If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.”
The ad never mentioned Obama by name, but it was part of the Clinton campaign’s effort to brand the Illinois Senator as inexperienced, especially in the foreign policy arena.
“Who do you think has what it takes?” the ad’s narrator says as an image of Clinton flashes on the screen. (The ad showed a brief clip of bin Laden as well as images of Pearl Harbor, the 1920′s stock market crash, Fidel Castro, the fall of the Berlin Wall). “You need to be ready for anything, especially now.”
The Obama campaign spokesman, Bill Burton, accused the Clinton team of playing “the politics of fear” just like George W. Bush.
Burton, now the head of the Democratic super PAC, Priorities USA, said at the time: “When Senator Clinton voted with President Bush to authorize the war in Iraq, she made a tragically bad decision that diverted our military from the terrorists who attacked us, and allowed Osama bin Laden to escape and regenerate his terrorist network. It’s ironic that she would borrow the President’s tactics in her own campaign and invoke bin Laden to score political points. We already have a President who plays the politics of fear, and we don’t need another.[“]
The Obama campaign in 2008 even pulled a quote from Hillary’s hubby Bill that applies pretty well in 2012, too:
“Now one of Clinton’s Laws of Politics is this: If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think; if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope. That’s the best.”
What does that say about the Obama campaign’s efforts to scare voters over Mitt Romney’s supposed inability to kill Osama bin Laden? A lot more than they’d like, especially since Osama bin Laden is already dead. This campaign effort at its core uses an argument that’s already moot. The Obama campaign wants to scare voters, rather than make them think, and it’s not just on Osama bin Laden but also with their “war on women” rhetoric, Seamus the dog, Romney’s wealth, and so on. They want to talk about nearly everything except the economy and jobs, and even if they have to become a caricature of what they publicly decried in 2008, they’ll do it.
Update: The Romney campaign slams Obama for his lack of graciousness:
The killing of Osama bin Laden was a momentous day for all Americans and the world, and Governor Romney congratulated the military, our intelligence agencies, and the President. It’s now sad to see the Obama campaign seek to use an event that unified our country to once again divide us, in order to try to distract voters’ attention from the failures of his administration. With 23 million Americans struggling for work, our national debt soaring, and household budgets being squeezed like never before, Mitt Romney is focused on strengthening America at home and abroad.
Well, how else can one explain the Romney-wouldn’t-kill-a-guy-who’s-already-dead attack?