…but, bless her tender little heart, she’s decided not to use it. No one’s saying what the nature of the dirt is but people are bound to connect it to Ron Rosenbaum’s probably apocryphal nugget about a giant sex scandal involving one of the candidates set to burst at the LA Times. I don’t buy it; the Messiah doesn’t strike me as a skirt-chaser. Which means it’s either a financial scandal — not a subject Her Majesty would want to introduce into the campaign — or maybe … his prior drug use?

Novak says the fact that she’s declining to use the information makes her look “prudent.” Indeed. Such is the Clinton machine’s reputation for ruthlessness that if an Obama scandal does break, everyone but everyone will assume Hillary leaked it. Not only would that play into her “wicked witch” image but the liberals she needs to win next year won’t like the idea of her trying to ruin a fellow Democrat. The “prudence” lies in recognizing that while his reputation may suffer, so will hers.

I’d add that going around whispering that she knows something, leaving people’s imaginations to run wild and assume the worst (like I’m doing here), makes her look not only like a royal A-hole but a nervous royal A-hole, especially in light of those new polls showing him within five points in Iowa. Exit question: Does this explain why the Messiah’s been so gun shy in going after her about Norman Hsu?

Update: Obama’s calling her bluff.

“If the purpose of this shameless item was to daunt or discourage me or supporters of our campaign from challenging and changing the politics of Washington, it will fail. In fact, it will only serve to steel our resolve.

“But in the interest of our party, and her own reputation, Senator Clinton should either make public any and all information referred to in the item, or concede the truth: that there is none.

“She of all people, having complained so often about ‘the politics of personal destruction,’ should move quickly to either stand by or renounce these tactics.”

Update: Hillary’s communications director points to Novak’s conservative sympathies and alleges a devious divide-and-conquer plot afoot.