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Did Bill Clinton Hurt Hillary’s S.C. Showing?

Posted on Jan 26, 2008

Former President Bill Clinton’s strong words in the days leading up to the South Carolina Democratic primary may have affected Saturday’s results in ways that didn’t help Hillary Clinton, according to exit polls. While polling is under (well-deserved) scrutiny lately, statistics aren’t needed to indicate how risky some of Bill Clinton’s choices have been.

First of all, as ABC News’ Jake Tapper points out, Bill Clinton’s attempts to link Barack Obama with Jesse Jackson in voters’ minds were far from subtle:

ABC News via Huffington Post:

Said Bill Clinton today in Columbia, SC: “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ‘84 and ‘88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.”

This was in response to a question about Obama saying it “took two people to beat him.” Jackson had not been mentioned.

Boy, I can’t understand why anyone would think the Clintons are running a race-baiting campaign to paint Obama as “the black candidate.”

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Here’s what CNN’s Political Ticker reported about the Bill factor in the exit polls:

Roughly 6 in 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters said Bill Clinton’s campaigning was important in how they ultimately decided to vote, and of those voters, 48 percent went for Barack Obama while only 37 percent went for Hillary Clinton. Fourteen percent of those voters voted for John Edwards

Meanwhile, the exit polls also indicate Obama easily beat Clinton among those voters who decided in the last three days—when news reports heavily covered the former president’s heightened criticisms of Obama. Twenty percent of South Carolina Democrats made their decision in the last three days and 51 percent of them chose Obama, while only 21 percent picked Clinton.

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By Conservative Yankee, February 3, 2008 at 8:46 am Link to this comment
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I have no desire for another four years of Republican administration, BUT I have a stronger revultion against electing a proven lier and IMHO a traitor who has sold out the US workers wholesale.

If Hill-the-business-shill is the Democratic nominee, I will vote for the person with the greatest chance of defeating her.  No Clinton will ever get my vote under any circumstance!!!!

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By Brian J, January 30, 2008 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment
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The point was in the intire interview the piont Bill Clinton was trying to make was that Jesse Jackson had won in 1984, and 1988, but did not win the nomination. Senator Obama had run a good campaign and at that point he knew Hillary was going to lose.  But the media only showed a 30 sec. clip that looked a lot worse than it was.

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By user168, January 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
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Economy is about “my” pocket; integrity is about everyone’s pocket.  Lies are about “me” and “my-greed”; truthfulness is about “you” and “your-need”.  CLINTONS’ DO-HARM is about stupid-mind and selfish-heart; OBAMA’S YES-“WE”-CAN is about good-mind and good-heart!

Vote for no-lie good-mind and no-greed good-heart! OBAMA!

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By Conservative Yankee, January 30, 2008 at 6:32 am Link to this comment
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Jesse Jackson is NOT the imperial leader of black people (no matter what he thinks) AND he has strong establishment ties.

IMHO he has the additional burden of being yesterday’s news.

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By cyrena, January 30, 2008 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

A few good points Brian, at least about deciding on our own, who we will vote for. But, I think this pretty much proves that. The people in S.C. obviously DID vote for whom they wanted to vote for.

Meantime, I’m pretty sure you missed the point, about Jesse Jackson not having a problem. Who cares if Jesse Jackson had a problem? Jesse is old news. The INSULT was to Obama, not Jesse Jackson.

I think you missed something here.

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By Brian J, January 29, 2008 at 10:28 pm Link to this comment
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I think the media has brain washed people into doing what they tell them. They show a 30 sec. clip of a half hour interview, and cry racist. Jesse Jackson himself has seen the whole interview and did not have a problem with what Bill Clinton said, but do you see that on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CBS, ABC, or NBC, No. The media are playing grade school games with your mind, trying to get the sides to fight with each other, you are helping them make a ton of money. Tell them you will not put up with this, turn the channel, take a walk, Play with your kids, Read a book, go see a movie, make out and see where that could lead. It is time we tell the people on the 24 hour news shows that we will pick who we will vote for and stop trashing the one you hate, or we will turn you off.

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By truthdweller, January 28, 2008 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

I dunno CY,

You reference old dogs and old tricks. Not everybody is still around to refer back to them.

Yep…it’s a new day, whether we like it or not.

I’m not the least bit sure this was at all planned. Nope..I don’t think so at all. Rather, the Clintons, (old dogs, old tricks) just ‘assumed’ the African-American vote would be theirs, because it has always been before.

No doubt you’re right about the high concentration of African-Americans voters in S.C., but you’re looking at it from way back in the day, when African-Americans in South Carolina, (or much anywhere else in the South) didn’t even vote much.

So, contrary to what the Clintons, (and any other old dogs might still be thinking about their old tricks) this race will not be decided by the race or gender card. Seems like folks would have figured that out by now.

Guess not. That’s why the old dog trick backfired…

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By truthdweller, January 28, 2008 at 12:28 am Link to this comment

Not even the VERY best of bullshitters, Mike, and that is the thing that all of the distractions in the world, are not going to change.

Too many dead soldiers, too many dead marines, and too many dead everybody, as a result of this war, and there’s no way to get around the fact that Hillary has always supported it, as she at least appears to continue to do, despite the BS of a pretend withdrawal plan, that says nothing. It simply says nothing.

They’re counting on those short memories that Americans are known to have…counting on that ADD, and the apathy of the ME generation.

But, it’s backfired. It’s backfired because it’s not ‘just the few’ anymore. It’s not ‘only’ those families of the fallen, who have been so carefully concealed from public view, while the rest are encouraged to shop, shop, shop…Nope, it’s not just ‘them’ anymore.

It’s all of us, and when it’s all of us, the collective memories become more efficient.

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By truthdweller, January 28, 2008 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

I dunno MackTN, it may be a pain in the ass, (being black in this country) but there ain’t a DAMN thing ‘ROYAL’ about it!! wink

(Well, unless you’re Oprah of course, and we know there’s only one of her..Thank God for small favors)

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By mackTN, January 27, 2008 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

Who is actually surprised that Clinton said what he did?  I’m not, although it was incredibly stupid.  The Clintons want to win, and they believe that people have short memories.  And they do.  If you remembered anything about Bill Clinton—his dumping of Lani Guiniere and Jocelyn Elders, his dissing Sister Souljah, his abrupt dumping of many poor people from welfare without ensuring that a system was in place to help them find jobs—all of this placate his conservative wing, then his comments would not be surprising at all.  Bill has a compulsion for putting his needs first; it’s an addiction.  He wants what he wants.

Clinton’s strategy is to dissolve white support for Obama by profiling him as the black candidate.  God, don’t you love this country?  Is it any wonder that people tear their hair out in agony?

Does Obama have to be half white to assure white voters that he won’t screw them?  That just because he wasn’t descended from slaves, it’s some kind of guarantee?  The man is obviously smart and qualified—what does his lineage have to do with anything.  Have you studies the family trees of all the candidates?

Are issues important here?  I’m tired of being black in this country.  It is a royal pain in the ass.

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By Eric, January 27, 2008 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment
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I was actually quite proud several months ago to have three candidates of the caliber of Hillary, Edwards and Obama. I would have voted for any of the three.  After Bill’s atrocious behavior in the last few weeks, there is no way—and I a lifelong Democrat—could ever vote for her. Bill has just taken over her campaign in the most paternalistic and cynical manner. I shudder to think what her presidency might be like with Bill unable to keep his mouth shut wherever he might be. And it reminded me that the last two years of his presidency (we have a tendency to forget the negative stuff) was taken up with impeachment, Monica, and all sorts of other distractions that prevented any kind of progress and virtually gave the Republicans the House and Senate. Hillary may still get the nomination, but it will have been so crudely done that I suspect she would be beaten by McCain or perhaps even Romney.  Gee, thanks, Bill. Now sit down and shut up!

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By James Izzard, January 27, 2008 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment
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Clinton never really stood a chance once the media turned on her.  Remember how they burned us on the war in Iraq?  They had us all bamboozled.

I wish they would just support Obama and stay off the Clintons.  Whatever the complaints about them, we know they are NOT racist. That is a fact.

However, we have to take the twisted version of facts from race baiters on CNN like Roland Martin,
Bill Bennett, Wolf Blitzer, Gloria Borgia, RALPH freaking REDD, and of course,Lou Dobbs.

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By republicanSScareme, January 27, 2008 at 5:56 pm Link to this comment
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Why should Democrats trust Hillary when her husband gave the Republithugs all they wanted?


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By Margaret Currey, January 27, 2008 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment
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Now that is very easy to see that Bill wants to run the white house kind of like what Chaney is doing.

I will vote for Obama, he might lose because he is white/black black/white but hope is very strong, I will vote for him even if he loses because no matter what Congress will not stay Republician.

Some American will vote for Obama for Hope and some of us will look beyond race and look at the man, I mean Calif. is almost half mixed race and then there is Tiger Woods the best Golf player there is.

People have to get beyond the race thing, Obama is for all of the American people not just what is called his people, and who are his people, just remember half of his grandparents are white from Kansas.

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By guyvan, January 27, 2008 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
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I should say that this picture is really nice.

And from my european point of view, President Bill Clinton sounded very friendly with people.

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By Grace B. Anderson, January 27, 2008 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment
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What appalls me is seeing the same old Clinton defenders on the scene defending the indefendable in regard to the Clintons, Ann Lewis, Lanny Davis, George Begala.  How can they equate Obama’s saying she was on the board of Walmart, a truth, with both Bill and Hill distorting his remarks on Reagan?  I don’t mind insults but hate lies.  Let’s close the book on the Clintons.

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By Maezeppa, January 27, 2008 at 11:49 am Link to this comment
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“Did Bill Clinton Hurt Hillary’s S.C. Showing?”

Answer:  No.  It’s pretty obvious from the light investment of resources in SC that the Clinton campaign is not focusing on a bright red state.  Smart.

The notion that Bill Clinton is somehow being “inappropriate for a “former president” is a phony meme generated by opponents. 

After Hillary Clinton wins the delegate count there will be a lovely rapproachment, a convivial unity breakfast, friendly photo-ops galore and hearts and flowers everywhere.

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By RAE, January 27, 2008 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Bill would be well advised to play the “Prince Philip” role in Hillary’s campaign… look good, walk two paces behind, and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

Let her win it or lose it on her own terms.

Time and again on-the-street interviews with ordinary people (mostly women) communicate that COLOR and GENDER are NOT ISSUES in this campaign. You’d think that the candidates would have gotten the message by now and quit beaking off about things ordinary people don’t care about!

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By Pacrat, January 27, 2008 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
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On the one hand the Clintons might have been extemely clever in arranging for Obama’s victory in SC by getting Bill to create a “black” victory situation.

On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t arranged! It’s just too difficult to figure out the Clintons, but they are not to be underestimated!

On yet a third hand (Bush fantasy), I think it is time for Bill to shut up. He clearly doesn’t want Hillary in the White House and seems to be undermining her campaign. He doesn’t want to be one-upped!

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By heavyrunner, January 27, 2008 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

I am not sorry about it in the least, but he didn’t just hurt her in South Carolina. 

He has destroyed her candidacy.  Her advisers were completely mistaken to have played the race card.

My family lived in Park Ridge, Illinois at the same time Hillary did and my cousins were at Main East High School when Hillary was there.  I know what a racist and right wing area that was at the time, and Hillary fell in to a generational trap when she went along with that strategy and I do not believe she can recover from that huge blunder between now and Feb. 5.

Playing the race card will backfire every time on the Democratic side in the 21st century.  Nearly all the racists went Republican thanks to Nixon’s southern strategy and Reagan’s reinforcement of that strategy.  The people on the Democratic side are offended by race baiting, and it looks especially bad coming from Bill Clinton because he was supposed to be color blind, or at least that was the image he portrayed when it was politically expedient for him.

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By Conservative Yankee, January 27, 2008 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anyone who can’t see that this South Carolina primary went EXACTLY as the Clintons had hoped doesn’t know politics.

Just better than HALF the Democratic electorate in SC is African American. no other State even comes close to this division.

So the Clinton’s cynically used the old George Wallace “Southern strategy” They sacrificed any hope of a win in SC to get the votes in other states where whites are the majority…. They didn’t just play “the race card” they made it the trump.

The plan worked perfectly, and the fact that no major Democrat even suggested this was a throw-back to the bad old days of the Yellow Dog Democrats means Hill-the-business-shill is the nominee… we don’t need no stinkin primaries….

The only question now (for me) is how to hold my nose and breath long enough to vote for the Republican in the fall….

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By cyrena, January 27, 2008 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

Reason, you are simply thinking objectively as well as pragmatically, even WITH the hope. I say that because I too can be pretty cynical about politicians, maybe more cynical than most. And still, I come up with the same analysis.

At the end of the day, other’s are equally as smart, and they DO balance pragmatism with hope. The doggers of Obama are simply the doggers of Obama, and my guess it that it’s racism, which is obviously not nearly as overwhelming as it was a few decades ago, but it’s damn sure not ‘evaporated’ and it never will.

So, for those who rail on about Obama, (and the same ones continue to do that) it boils down to racism. Lots of them don’t even like Hillary, but they still can’t get to the point that would allow them to vote for a black person, regardless of gender.

But, as long as enough people choose the hope balanced with a clear vision of what can or cannot be expected, the haters will simply just continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

The sad thing is that in effect, if we are to believe the statistics and objective facts of this article, Hillary did her own self in, with the help of her husband. They really didn’t have to stoop to such tactics, but apparently assumed that the voters were stupid, and wouldn’t recognize them as the tactics that they were.

And so…Bill helped Hillary screw them both. (since they seem to view this as an entitlement for the two of them) Thing is, they should know by now that Americans rejected a monarchy long ago, and the past 7 years of the Bush Throne has convinced them of why we never wanted a monarchy to begin with.

Too bad for the Clintons that the didn’t figure that out. This stuff from Bill really did backfire on them.

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By reason, January 27, 2008 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

What do you want?
It comes down this; nominate Hillary Clinton and we can be certain we will have more of the same crap we have had for the last 20+ years.
Nominate Obama (and/or Edwards) and we can have hope of something better.
I can be pretty cynical about politicians but I know that hope is a powerful influence for change.
Changes Obama would like to make will first come from voters choosing hope over the pragmatic cynicism of the politcal miscreants of both the Democratic and Republican parties.
Hilary is another Bush, just a packaged and differently.

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