Barack Obama appeared last night at an event specifically staged to help bring unity to the Democratic Party after the bruising primaries. He needed to reach out to Hillary Clinton supporters, and more importantly, urge his supporters to help Hillary retire her debt. Somehow, Obama managed to forget this central point to the entire event until after it finished — forcing an encore of sorts:
Mr. Obama opened his remarks at the Grand Hyatt with generous praise for Mrs. Clinton. He said the primary campaign had made him a better candidate and had made the party stronger.
“She was, and is, tough and smart, and she wore me out,” Mr. Obama said with a chuckle.
“Many of you in this room understandably supported her in the primary, not only out of loyalty but because she inspired you,” he said. “The fact that you were as inspired about her campaign as my supporters were about mine is all good.”
At this point, he was supposed to appeal for donations for her debt-relief fund, aides said. He evidently forgot and circled back to do so at the end of his remarks.
In fact, he didn’t just do so at the “end of his remarks”. He had finished his remarks and Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” had gotten into full swing when he suddenly requested a live microphone again. Joe Scarborough had the video this morning, after an obsequious introduction (via Primetime Politics):
“As cool and as suave as he is” … well, we have never labored under the delusion that MS-NBC has any journalistic objectivity, but isn’t that kind of fawning just a little embarrassing for NBC?
Obama certainly doesn’t appear to feel the love, at least not for Hillary. At an event designed to bring her and her supporters back into the fold, Obama treats her as an afterthought. Note too the language he uses in his improvised encore: “I know the drill.” He’s doing this as an obligation, and he’s making that very clear. Robert Novak reported that he gave the same impression at a private meeting with major Clinton donors held afterwards, with one participant calling Obama “underwhelming”.
Obama’s remarks to the women of the Congressional Black Caucus were more than just “inartful”, it appears. They revealed either deep-seated hostility towards the Clinton camp or political incompetence, or both, and last night demonstrated both in equal servings.