Obama outmanoeuvred in image stakes by shadow campaign for Madam President
Hillary Clinton is soaking up a disproportionate amount of attention and energy, as if she was already president
2016 campaign badges at the Buttons at the Ready for Hillary office in Alexandria, Virginia. “She is supposed to be resting and off making $200,000 speeches, but instead she’s around every political corner.” Photograph: Drew Angerer/The New York Times
President Barack Obama proved himself a great segue artist Friday, as he smoothly glided from his previously unassailable position on the matter of surveillance to his new unassailable position on the matter of surveillance.
There is no moral high ground that he does not seek to occupy. As with drones and gay marriage, he seems peeved that we were insufficiently patient with his own private study of the matter. Why won’t the country agree to entrust itself to his fine mind?
Yet while Barry is in the thick of it, the air is thick with Hillary. From the sidelines, she is soaking up a disproportionate amount of attention and energy, as though she were already Madam President.
She is supposed to be resting and off making $200,000 speeches, but instead she’s around every political corner. The cicadas never showed up, but we can’t hear ourselves think here this summer over the roar of the Clinton machine – and the buzzing back to life of old Clinton enemies.
Meanwhile, Obama’s vaunted campaign machine, which has morphed into a political group called Organizing for Action, has sputtered in its attempt to tear down Republican obstacles and push through his agenda.
While Obama seems drained and disgusted at the idea of punching through the Republican blockade that awaits him on his return from Martha’s Vineyard, he told Jay Leno that Hillary “had that post-administration glow” when they met for lunch recently.
As the president was getting ready for his news conference, his former secretary of state was dominating the news with an event she didn’t even attend. Emily’s List held what was, in essence, Hillary’s first Iowa campaign event, titled “Madam President” and featuring Claire McCaskill, the Missouri senator who famously broke away from Clinton Inc to join the Obama revolution in 2008.
Now McCaskill, who once said she wouldn’t trust Bill Clinton near her daughter, is presciently back in the fold, on board with Ready for Hillary, the super PAC supporting Clinton for 2016.
As ABC News’s Michael Falcone reported from Iowa, the state that allowed Obama to vault over Hillary, McCaskill said she’s dreaming of “that moment in 2017 when we can say ‘Madam President’ to Hillary Rodham Clinton”.
In a funny echo of Hillary’s defence of Bill during the Gennifer Flowers scandal, when she said she wasn’t home baking cookies and having teas, McCaskill told the forum it’s hard for women to run for office because it’s “not sitting down to tea and crumpets”.
For one thing, McCaskill said, it’s awful to go to a department store to buy Spanx and get recognised as a senator. It’s being called Hillary’s “shadow campaign”, but the shadow campaign actually began when she was secretary of state.