Friday, February 22, 2008

The Backfiring of a Cheap Shot

Anyone who doubts Hillary Clinton's tin-eared political skills needs only to be pointed to her shockingly bad response last night to the question about her campaign's allegation in the last week that Barack Obama had committed plagiarism.

Sen. Obama has used some words in recent speeches that were previously utilized by the Governor of Massachusetts, who is an active supporter of his campaign. Given that all major politicians rely heavily on the work of speech writers, and that Gov. Patrick is a supporter, this is hardly a shocking revelation. It is not as though the Senator from Illinois stole the words from an unwitting British politician, as Joseph Biden did in 1988.

The claim was never anything more than a clumsy cheap shot, but such charges sometimes are effective when made from a distance. However, making cheap shots of misconduct while sitting side by side with the alleged perpetrator only makes the accuser appear to be guilty of bad taste. The reaction of the crowd was what one would expect it to be.

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