Sleaze or Sign of Respect? Are Any Minds Changed by This?

The right wingers are all up in arms over this photo of Senator Obama, apparently issued by the Clinton campaign.

The claims are, it was sleazy.  Its a photo of Senator Obama dressed as a Somali elder as a sign of respect to his host.  No different than other photos below:

For the Clinton camp, this photo of Senator Obama will not convert a single vote.  For Senator Obama supports, it will not take away a single person’s vote.

And these right wingers who constant use “Osama” to describe Senator Obama or constantly refer to his middle name of Husseini, or call him a Halfrican because he was not descended from African-American slaves, your mock outrange on this is amusing at best.

Policy-wise, there is little that separates Obama from Clinton.  They are both waging a spirited campaign and both will support the ultimate victor for the Democratic Nomation. And either one will defeat John McCain.

Instead of getting their panties in a bunch about the Obama photo, might I suggest these instead:

Senator Obama’s middle name, which is Muslim in origin, comes from his late father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a Kenyan.  The senior Obama and the Senator’s mother divorced in 1963 or 1964.  Senator Obama had only one oter interaction with his father who visited him when the junior Obama was 11.  Barack Obama Sr. died in 1982.  Senator Obama writes of both of his parents with pride and respect.  He carries his father’s name, as I carry my father’s full name.  The name was good enough for the father; its more than good enough for the son.

  13 comments for “Sleaze or Sign of Respect? Are Any Minds Changed by This?

  1. February 26, 2008 at 9:00 pm


    I’m going to presume that you’re joking. The issue is not that Senator Obama was photographed in traditional Muslim attire. The issue is that the photo has been circulated by Matt Drudge at the behest of the Clinton campaign (unofficially of course) in a last minute effort to capitalize on the false stories that Senator Obama is Muslim. This is the ultimate in sleaze and the Clinton campaign’s suggestion, which you have repeated here, that the Obama campaign is over-reacting fails the smell test miserably.

    The right wingers have been circulating the viral email campaign that claims Obama is a Muslim. That campaign has permeated into the main stream media. Clinton’s campaign, like with Bob Johnson, and Bill Shaheen, has repeatedly spread B.S. and then tried to distance Hillary from the actions of her operatives. This time they aren’t even bothering to do that. This is clearly an act of desperation on the part of her campaign, and clearly out of the Karl Rove play book. The problem is that there are a lot of uninformed voters who believe this kind of crap.

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    February 26, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Chris —
    Those who support Senator Obama already know he isn’t a Muslim even though he has his father’s Muslim name. As I said, issing this photo is not going to win Hillary any new votes and it won’t cost Obama any either. has an entire listing devoteds to debunking the Obama is a Muslim rumour being pushed forward by his detractors. And Senator Obama is not innocent in campaign literature mischaracterizing the Clinton healthcare plan.

    I have said all along, you only gp negative when your positives can’t go higher. And Hillary may have reached this point of her campaign. If both candidates are so close on policy –and Clinton and Obama are — then you need something other than a coin flip to decide which one wins and which one loses.

    Bottom line, both should easily defeat John McCain whose flip-flops are already beginning to mimic MItt Romney’s; I like our candidates very much and would be happy voting fofr either of them

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    February 26, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    from the AP story:

    Clinton also said as far as she knew her campaign had nothing to do with circulating a photograph of Obama wearing a white turban and a wraparound white robe presented to him by elders in Wajir, in northeastern Kenya.

    “I take Senator Clinton at her word that she knew nothing about the photo,” Obama said.

  4. February 26, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Shouldn’t the question be, would this be different if it was someone like John Edwards in the traditional dress? I think it has more implications here that are race related and out of context, the photo could be used to prop up the already numerous falsehoods about Obama.

    It’s all about context to me.

  5. February 26, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    It is entirely possible that Sen. Clinton had no foreknowledge of the photo and if Sen. Obama says that he takes her at her word, that’s good enough for me.

    That said, Obama’s answer made no mention of whether he thought Mark Penn, Harold Ickes, Maggie Wiliams, or any of the other Clinton campaign staffers, surrogates, volunteers or vendors had any involvement with disseminating the photo.

    Regardless, Obama’s campaign has not expressed any embarrassment or regret about the photo itself – or his personal history, his lineage, his upbringing, or even his middle name.

    Rather the complaint has been about how the photo was sent out, to whom, the timing, and in the context of past transgressions by the ones credited by the recipient as having sent it.

    Imagine this hypothetical. Now remember this is fiction, an example by way of comparison. I do not suggest that this is in any way true or that it even so much as resembles anything near the truth.

    Hillary and Bill Clinton enjoy a marriage of convenience, a strategic alliance. Sen. Clinton tolerates (condones?) Pres. Clinton’s affaires d’amour because of this strategic alliance and besides, she’s a lesbian. I mean, after all, she’s got that short hair, she’s always in pant suits, she surrounds herself with women who submit to her, etc., etc.

    Further imagine that this story circulates in countless emails that each of us receives repeatedly over the last year. This rumor takes on such a live that even Snopes gets called in to refute it, even as variations of the email continue circulating.

    And then, her electoral opponent sends a photograph of Sen. Clinton embracing a long-time associate at a public function (a purely innocent greeting among old friends and allies) along with a caption about long lost lovers.

    How would Sen. Clinton respond to that?

    My guess is that she would be angry. She would be angry about how this innocent picture was used, who sent it, and so forth. Also, I bet she would be angry about the underlying false rumors. In both cases her anger would be justified. Why, then the surprise at the Obama campaign’s displeasure?

  6. Andrew Davey
    February 27, 2008 at 5:21 am


    Sleaze? Desperation? Gimme a break. This is old news. This myth has ALREADY been debunked…

    Hillary’s campaign had NOTHING to do with this silly photo being circulated. Did you hear me? NOTHING. I don’t know whether to laugh or scream at the fact that so many of you and other “progressives” were “punk’ed” by known right-wing sleazebag Matt Drudge.

    When will Obama and his surrogates learn? These kinds of attacks aren’t coming from Hillary, so why do they keep blaming her for this crap? This is just like when Robert Novak created the rumor that Hillary had “dirt” on Obama that she was supposedly preparing to use. Obama’s first reaction was to attack Hillary for “attacking” instead of doing the no-brainer of asking Novak why he wants to interfere in the Democratic primary. He should have done this with Drudge as well, but unfortunately instead he took the bait and went after Hillary. Sad.

  7. February 27, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Plausible deniability is the term given to the creation of loose and informal chains of command in governments and other large organizations. In the case that assassinations, false flag or black ops or any other illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any connection to or awareness of such act, or the agents used to carry out such act.

    In politics and espionage, deniability refers to the ability of a “powerful player” or actor to avoid “blowback” by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their behalf by a third party—ostensibly unconnected with the major player.

  8. Dan Chmielewski
    February 27, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Chris — the same definition holds for the literature Obama’s camp put out on the Clinton health care package. Let the voters in Texas, Ohio, PA, RI and the remaining states sort out the winners for us. I am not going to fault either Clinton or Obama from doing what they can to differentiate themselves for voters, since they are nearly identical from a policy-perspective.

  9. February 27, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Andrew – I read the post you linked to. There is nothing in there that disproves Drudge’s claim that someone in Clinton’s campaign sent the photo. Short of the sender(s) coming clean, the only way to prove or disprove where Drudge got the photo is to see the actual message that carried the photo – including all the message headers that exist and are not normally displayed by email clients. I’m not going to believe some campaign hack’s denial any more than you would believe an Obama hack’s claims. Sad fact is that even though I agree with you that Matt Drudge is too often dishonorable, he can occasionally be correct. Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

  10. Northcountystorm
    February 27, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Sending out the photo was sleazy and stupid. Sleazy because there would be no legitimate policy reason and stupid because it just gives the Obama people something to whine about. I suspect it was either Drudge trying to stir the pot or some low or mid level Clinton staffer who did this on their own. The person should be fired if they did work for Clinton’s campaign. I almost hope it was a honcho, Mark Penn, because he should have been fired weeks if not months ago.

    That being said, please. It’s a photo. He had to know this was coming when he put on the outfit. And if it was someone in the Clinton campaign, and IF Obama wins the nomination, then the Obama folks should send the dufus some roses or something nice. The photo was going to make its way to the voters this year. Better it be in February then in October. Its not going to help Clinton as much as it would help solidify the redneck vote behind McCain. And getting it out early innoculates the Obama campaign somewhat from the people who might be on the fence and get this for the first time right before the general.

  11. February 27, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    If a Republican had sent out those pictures you guys would be calling for his head. Hillary deserves to be derided for this! It was a low blow. I knew her and Bill had no class – this desperate act proved it.

  12. Dan Chmielewski
    February 27, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    wow Art, you’re right; the Clintons issued that photo to shwo voters that Obama wasn’t wearing his patriotic flag lapel pin.

  13. February 27, 2008 at 11:21 pm


    Who cares what Obama wears on his lapel? Was Bill Clinton wearing a flag when he pardoned those Puerto Rican terrorists? Or when he took a check from criminal Mark Rich – in return for a donation to his trailer trash presidential library?

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