Truthdig tips its hat this week to David Geffen, the powerhouse producer who decided on principle to break ties with Hillary Clinton and support Barack Obama’s bid for the White House instead. Geffen’s switch, and his strong words about the reasons for his choice, touched off a heated exchange between Clinton’s and Obama’s camps and galvanized the Democratic presidential race.

Political barb-swapping aside, the week’s events suggest that high-profile Dems like Geffen are looking for candidates to bring more to the table than dynastic ties and past experience on Capitol Hill. Actually, Geffen says Hillary’s close associations constitute a major reason why he defected from the Clintons’ ranks and offered his “strongest possible” backing for Obama (and invited his friends to do the same at Tuesday’s Hollywood bash).

Specifically, it was Bill Clinton’s refusal in 2000 to pardon Leonard Peltier, after Geffen joined the rally to grant clemency to the “wrongly convicted” Native American, in favor of financier Marc Rich at the end of his presidential tenure that drove the producer to rethink his loyalties. “Marc Rich getting pardoned?” Geffen marveled in Wednesday’s N.Y. Times interview with Maureen Dowd. “An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice? … Everybody in politics lies, but [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”

Geffen also critiqued Hillary’s unwillingness to admit she was mistaken in initially backing the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In contrast, he said, “Obama is inspirational,” comes from outside the Bush or Clinton “royal family,” and doesn’t have a blight on his record when it comes to his stance on the war. Whether or not you agree with his reasoning or his choices, it’s good to know that big backers like David Geffen are holding candidates’ feet to the fire and holding high standards leading up to the 2008 election.


  • NYT: Maureen Dowd’s column about Geffen (membership wall)
  • Editor & Publisher: Maureen Dowd Column Incites Hillary-Obama War of Words
  • NYT: Geffen’s Hollywood bash
  • ABC News: Follow-up about Geffen and Peltier
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