Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Democratic Presidential debate from Iowa on December 13, 2007 was nothing compared to the big political news of the day. As CNN.com reports, Clinton advisor Bill Shaheen, husband of former governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen, resigned on 12/13/07 after saying of Barack Obama the previous day:

The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight ... and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use," Shaheen said. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?' There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome.

The matter of illegal drug use was not initiated by the Clinton campaign. CNN notes "Obama has not shied away from bringing up his past use of drugs while on the campaign trail." Nevertheless, Shaheen apologized and said that the campaign had not authorized the remarks. Still, moral outrage predictably ensued. The candidate, Hillary Clinton, emphasized that she did not condone the statement. the media was horrified and Obama's chief strategist and his spokesman both condemned the comment, while candidate Obama took the high road, asserting that he did not think the incident represented an intent to plant a rumor. Condemnation was widespread, support absent, and Shaheen stepped down (though it won't be surprising if he later returns in some capacity).

Also predictable: no one asked whether Shaheen's statement was accurate. Would, if the Illinois Senator is nominated, the Repub Party be petty and demagogic enough to exploit drug use Obama admitted to taking part in as a young man? History being a guide, there are two possible answers: yes and yes.

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