Chris's Conjecture: Hillary Aides See Her 'Crashing'
Update 12-03 | 1:55 PM: Barack fires back; claims Hillary becoming "more desperate and negative by the day." See complete update at foot.
Are Hillary's internal polling numbers telling her staffers that she's in big trouble? That's the provocative theory that Chris Matthews floated on today's Morning Joe.
Host Joe Scarborough asked what could have caused Hillary and her senior aide Howard Wolfson to go on the attack against Barack Obama this weekend, respectively questioning his character and accusing him of maintaining an improper political "slush fund." In response, Matthews conjectured that Hillary's helpers have looked at the polling data . . . and seen her support "crashing."
View video here [with apologies for mediocre video quality.]
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I always assume that the professionals inside a campaign know more than I know. I have to assume that during the Philadelphia debate six weeks ago, Mark Penn and Mandy Grunwald and the other brains behind Hillary were looking at a focus group or looking at some kind of joy buzzer somewhere, and they're watching their candidate crash. And they came out of there and they blamed the moderator, they blamed Russert, Tim Russert, coming out, then they blamed the opponents, then they blamed the third, the unaffiliated groups. They were attacking every single person in a way that made you think "my God, did Hillary do that bad that night?"
And now, with as you say Obama a few points ahead, they're trying to take him out at the kneecaps. They unleashed Wolfson on the Sunday shows. I don't know why CBS put him on -- he's an attack dog. But they put him on. Then Hillary did the job last night, attacking this man's [Obama's] character! Now all I can tell you is they either know more than we know about how bad a shape she's in, or they're overreacting.
My hunch is that they know more. That they can see something crashing in their internals. They're looking at numbers that say people don't like what they saw when Hillary was diddling about a driver's-license issue. They said "wait a minute! We thought this woman was a leader. She can't answer a simple yes-or-no question about driver's licenses. Is she gaming us?" And at that moment, maybe, she shifted from being a flawless candidate to a slick candidate.
Will the MSM put the heat on Hillary and her handlers to disclose their internal numbers or otherwise explain what's happened to that nice lady on the couch who wanted to have a cozy conversation?
Update 12-03 | 1:55 PM: Barack fires back. Hillary launching "multiple frantic, baseless attacks."
The glove are definitely coming off . . .
A few moments ago I received a mass email sent to Obama supporters. Its subject line: "When Hillary attacks."
Excerpts [emphasis added]:
- The poll also showed that -- by a wide margin -- Iowans have found that Senator Clinton is running the most negative campaign of any candidate.
- And sure enough, less than 12 hours after the poll results were released, the Clinton campaign launched multiple frantic, baseless attacks against Barack Obama. The emerging pattern is disturbing: as Senator Clinton's poll numbers slide, the campaign of "inevitability" becomes more desperate and negative by the day.
- Senator Clinton has promised that this is just the beginning of her negativity. She even quipped yesterday that attacking other Democrats is "the fun part" of campaigning for the presidency.
- These attacks are borne out of cynical political calculation, plain and simple.
However, there is no reference to the Wolfson attack in which he accused Obama of maintaining an improper slush fund. Could the accusation not be as easily refutable as the others?