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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hillary’s Webb of Paranoia

Team Clinton gets nasty with potential rivals, almost comically early.

Assume, for a moment, that U.S. News & World Report is accurately reporting this:

While they aren’t acknowledging [2016 Democratic candidate Jim] Webb publicly, Clinton loyalists are keeping an eye on him privately. The week before Thanksgiving, staffers of Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime communications guru, pitched talk radio producers on the racy, sexually charged writings in Webb’s novels, according to a source. Webb was forced to fend off a similar attack in 2006, when [his Virginia Senate opponent] Allen accused him of “demeaning women.”All of the polling puts Hillary Clintonway ahead of Webb and every other potential Democratic rival. Webb’s best performance in any poll so far is a whopping 3 percent in the ABC News/Washington Post poll. (Admittedly, she led Barack Obama in early 2007 as well.)
Why on earth would the Hillary team go after Jim Webb this early? And why recycle an attack that had absolutely no impact when it was used in the 2006 Senate race? What is this, some form of mudslinging pregame stretching?

At this point, Webb is the only declared Democratic candidate in the 2016 field. Outgoing Maryland governor Martin O’Malley sent eleven staffers to Iowa, suggesting a serious interest in running. Elizabeth Warren most clearly represents the progressive grassroots’ id right now, but she continues to play coy, resorting to a robotic present-tense denial in interviews. Vice President Joe Biden isn’t taken particularly seriously by anyone and polls in single digits half the time.


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