Obama Camp Rips Wright
One small step for David Axelrod, one giant leap for Barack Obama away from Jeremiah Wright . . .
When chief Obama strategist Axelrod appeared at the end of this evening's Hardball, I expected him to dodge the current Rev. Wright controversy with some bromide about the reverend's right to express his opinions. But—in evidence of just how badly Wright's current comments are hurting Obama—Axelrod surprised me by acknowledging that he wished Wright hadn't piped up and suggesting that the good reverend's out for Numero Uno. Axelrod did manage to work in a blame-the-media angle.
View video here. [Note: Axelrod comments come after Matthews takes shot at Bill Kristol.]
MATTHEWS: David, what do you make of the decision by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright to go on this campaign tour through the NAACP meeting last night in Detroit, to coming to Washington with this full dress performance before the National Press Club?
DAVID AXELROD: Well, I must say it wouldn't be my first choice. And, you know, I think Reverend Wright felt that he had been done a disservice in this process, and he decided to go public and he did. And, frankly, the news media was very eager to accommodate that he had three hours on the cable stations last night, full coverage this morning and so on. So he's gotten himself quite a platform.
MATTHEWS: Well, the thing is that when you understand what's been going on here, it seems to me harder to understand. How come your candidate, Barack Obama was so careful and sensitive in the way he severed himself from the remarks, the sermons of Reverend Wright, but never dissed him or hurt him personally? Never, very careful to stay with him as a human being, as a friend. And, yet, in payment for that, the Reverend Wright goes on this book tour, basically, to basically put it back in his face.
AXELROD: Yeah. Well I can't speak to Reverend Wright's motivations or why he's out here now. Obviously, you know, it isn't helpful, and I don't think it's necessarily meant to be helpful. I don't think it's about Obama. I think Reverend Wright is out there speaking for Reverend Wright.
Not that Axelrod would "speak to Rev. Wright's motivations," of course.
BONUS COVERAGE: Matthews Mocks Kristol
Newsflash: look for Chris Matthews to endorse John McCain any time now. After all, the Hardball host apparently believes that only veterans have the right to call for military action. How else can you read Matthews's mocking mention of Bill Kristol today? Here's the entirety of the Hardball host's discussion, on this evening's show, of Kristol's NY Times column of today.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Is Republican Bill Kristol showing the Republican strategy for the next few months? Here's what he writes in today's New York Times as one of their regular columnists. Quote, "we see the liberal media failing to give Hillary Clinton the respect she deserves. So, since we conservatives believe in giving credit where credit is due, it falls to us to praise Hillary."
What is it that makes me doubt that Bill Kristol, the five-star general of Iraqi hawks, wants the Democrats, Hillary or Obama, to beat John McCain this fall? Is he giving advice to the Democrats that's of use to the Democrats, or to their November rivals?The Matthews Doctrine—that only veterans can advocate the use of military force—clearly renders illegitimate Obama's declaration that "if we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."
And by the same token, we must reject Hillary as a chicken hawk for her threat to "obliterate Iran" should it attack Israel.
Forget the notion of civilian control of the military. Veterans rule in Mundo Matthews!
Bonus Coverage: Obama's Axelrod Rips Wright