On Friday, the Washington Post published a front-page article concerning two new books coming out in June about Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York).
Both apparently include some rather unflattering revelations about the Democrat presidential candidate.
Later that day, Politico columnist Ben Smith suggested that the Clinton campaign might have given the Post a copy of one of the books with the expressed intent of killing it before the long, Memorial Day weekend.
Smith began his piece with a simple, three-step plan for such a literary assassination (emphasis added throughout):
First, see to it that it emerges into the public eye on the Friday of a holiday weekend.
Then, express ostentatious boredom at its contents.
Smith then offered some evidence that Clinton might have been involved:
“The only people who have an interest in putting it out on a Friday before Memorial Day are the Clinton folks,” said Chris Lehane, a veteran of Clinton White House damage control.
The use on Clinton’s website of passages from one book also appeared to confirm that the campaign had a copy of the book in its possession.
Meanwhile Philippe Reines, Clinton’s spokesman, drew chuckles inside the Beltway for his canned response to the books: “Is it possible to be quoted yawning?”
Maybe even more compelling is that the attack actual began BEFORE the Post piece was published:
At 8:41 p.m. on Thursday, before The Washington Post story appeared, Media Matters for America, a democratic-leaning group whose founders are close to the New York Democrat senator's presidential campaign, launched a dense 2,713-word attack on Gerth. The reporter has been loathed by some Clinton supporters since he was the first national journalist to write about the Whitewater affair in 1992, an investigation that unpredictably would lead to Clinton's impeachment six years later. (Media Matters spokesman Karl Frisch didn't respond immediately to the question of whether his group had coordinated with the Clinton campaign.)
And, the Clintons have done this before:
During Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, Wolfson directed a fierce campaign at another book, “Hillary's Choice,” by Gail Sheehy. As in this case, the attacks began before the book hit the stands, and focused on — in that case — real inaccuracies. Wolfson went so far as to appear at Sheehy’s book events to discredit the volume.
Regardless of whether Smith was right, we all have to be thrilled Hillary has some real competition to win the Democrat nomination, because it ensures that the next seventeen months are going to be a wild ride to say the least.
Better fasten your seatbelts!