OK, go ahead

Hillary’s mouth writes a check that her staff can’t cash.

Hillary Clinton tonight:

The facts are that [Obama] said in the last week that he really liked the ideas of the Republicans over the last 10 to 15 years, and we can give you the exact quote.

Well, no, I don’t believe she can. But I’d like to see her try. And I’d like to think that her supporters will mind, or even admit it, when it turns out that she can’t. There’s a difference between saying that a party managed to sell itself as the party of ideas and saying that the ideas were good ones.

The central Republican idea since 1980 has been cutting taxes. And Obama made it clear, in the very same editorial-board interview that the Clintons keep misquoting, that he thinks that idea has been tried and failed.

Update Apparently she also re-told the fairy-tale about Obama’s voting “present.”

Is incurable lying a sexually-transmitted disease?

Second Update The NYT news story is about as bad as it could be; making no attempt whatever to check the facts, but merely recording that Obama (but not Clinton?) “at times” “appeared angry.” (Actually, in the clips I saw he seemed to be keeping his cool admirably.)

And Josh Marshall says, more or less, “Yes, Hillary was mostly telling lies about Obama, but she told them really, really well and he didn’t respond very effectively. That shows that she’d be the better candidate for November.” I disagree about the effectiveness of his responses; I thought Obama showed up Clinton as a fibber. But even assuming, for the purposes of argument, that Clinton dishonestly got the better of the exchange, does that really recommend her as a candidate or as a President?

Third update Not that I’m an unbiased judge, but I thought Obama really nailed Clinton on the Rezko business.

CLINTON: I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago.


[Actually, on the videotape I heard mostly boos at that point, which comes in at the very end of the clip on TPM.]


BLITZER: I just want to give you a chance, Senator Obama, if you want to respond. Senator Clinton made a serious allegation that you worked for a slumlord. And I wonder if you want to respond.

OBAMA: I’m happy to respond. Here’s what happened: I was an associate at a law firm that represented a church group that had partnered with this individual to do a project and I did about five hours worth of work on this joint project. That’s what she’s referring to.

Now, it’s fine for her to throw that out, but the larger reason that I think this debate is important is because we do have to trust our leaders and what they say. That is important, because if we can’t, then we’re not going to be able to mobilize the American people behind bringing about changes in health care reform, bringing about changes in how we’re going to put people back to work, changing our trade laws. And consistency matters. Truthfulness during campaigns makes a difference.


And that’s what I’ve tried to do and I will continue to try to do as president of the United States.

Fourth update I’m offering a $1000 contribution to the Clinton campaign if anyone can come up with the “exact quote.”

Fifth update No attempt to claim the money so far. A reader supplies the “exact quote,” showing how far from the truth Clinton’s claim actually was:

We’re bogged down in the same arguments that we’ve been having, and they’re not useful. And, you know, the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out. I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you’ve heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they’re being debated among the Presidential candidates and it’s all tax cuts. Well, you know, we’ve done that, we tried it.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com