Hillary Clinton strategist Harold Ickes and spokesman Phil Singer had breakfast with the Christian Science Monitor, David Broder, Maureen Dowd, Mark Sheilds, and other "eminences grises of the Washington Press Corps" yesterday, and the Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote up a nice little summary of the contentious event. The Clintons are not very happy with how the press has treated them, you see, and Phil Singer is especially angry. Singer is mad that the newsmedia listened to that silly Matt Drudge when he ran that silly photo of Barack Obama in a terrorist apron that (Drudge says) was sent to him by a still unknown Clinton staffer, and then they made a big issue of this photo, except they made, in Singer's mind, the wrong issue out of it, as they all sort of used it as proof that the Clinton campaign is grasping at straws. Singer, quite sincerely, expressed his regret that the newsmedia did not instead take their cue from last weekend's new Saturday Night Live, which was on balance rather nicer to Senator Clinton.
Of course, it was goofy how quickly the lame Drudge thing became a major issue, considering that the photo didn't even meet the high standards of Wonkette's "funny pictures" tag. Still, though, there it is, on the front page of both of New York's tabloids (as seen above). The Post and the Daily News get to call out Hillary for attempting to "smear" Obama while also running the smear-y photo, legitimizing the idea that a black man with a funny name wearing something that looks vaguely like a turban is terrifying. Everyone wins! Except Hillary Clinton.
And today, Politico star journos Mike Allen and John Harris declare Clinton's entire campaign apparatus to be totally at sea, possessing "only a faint and highly improvisational strategy about what to do over the next seven days...." Meanwhile, a CBS poll has Obama pulling ahead nationally, and the Times says "Mr. Obama has made substantial gains across most major demographic groups in the Democratic Party, including men and women, liberals and moderates, higher and lower income voters, and those with and without college degrees."
Of course, this means that if Hillary wins Texas or Ohio—let's keep in mind that winning either or both of those is well within her grasp, especially with such a nice underdog narrative coming along now to boost turnout, and another goddamn debate airing tonight—the race will never ever end and the candidates will just keep exchanging leads while the press relentlessly beats up on Hillary and begins to plant vague fearmongering doubts about Obama's Other-ness. And the rest of the world will become terribly confused when we elect John McCain.