Time's Gibbs repeated falsehood that Bill Clinton referred to Obama's candidacy as a “fairy tale”
In a Time article, Nancy Gibbs wrote that Bill Clinton “hacked away at the 'fairy tale' that is [Barack] Obama's candidacy.” In fact, Clinton did not refer to Obama or his campaign as a “fairy tale”; rather, as New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich wrote, Clinton “was referring specifically to the perception that Mr. Obama was totally pure in his opposition to the Iraq war.”
In an article for the February 4 issue of Time magazine, editor-at-large Nancy Gibbs mischaracterized former President Bill Clinton's use of the term “fairy tale,” falsely suggesting that he was referring to the presidential candidacy of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Of Clinton's appearances on the campaign trail, Gibbs wrote: “Now it's his turn, wielding the hatchet in New Hampshire as he hacked away at the 'fairy tale' that is Obama's candidacy and taking Hillary's place in South Carolina so she could focus on Super-Duper Tuesday contests.” In fact, in comments he made on January 7, Clinton did not refer to Obama or his campaign as a “fairy tale”; rather, as reporter Mark Leibovich wrote in a January 13 piece for The New York Times' Week In Review section, Clinton “was referring specifically to the perception that Mr. Obama was totally pure in his opposition to the Iraq war.”
Numerous other news outlets -- including Newsweek and The Washington Post -- have similarly mischaracterized Clinton's remarks as referring generally to Obama's candidacy.
From the January 7 campaign event with Bill Clinton, as transcribed by Congressional Quarterly:
QUESTION: Thanks. One of the things that Senator Obama talks about a lot is judgment and I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the recent criticism of Mark Penn, who is Hillary's chief strategist, who's been criticized for being somewhat out of touch with reality.
For instance, he circulated a memo about Iowa, saying “Where's the balance,” [sic: bounce] and then the next day, there was a 12-point jump for Obama.
CLINTON: He was wrong. He was wrong about that, because the balance [sic] always occurs on the second day, not the first day. It always occurs on the second day, not the first day.
But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. “It doesn't matter that I started running for president less than a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois state senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I am the only one that had the judgment to oppose this floor [sic: war] from the beginning, always, always, always.”
First, it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the U.N. inspectors withdrew. Chuck Hagel [NE] was one of the co-authors of that resolution, the only Republican Senator that always opposed the war, every day, from the get-go.
He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't cooperate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by [then-national security adviser] Condi Rice, as many of the other Senators were. So, first, the case is wrong that way.
Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, enumerating the years and never got asked one time, not once, “Well, how could you say that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your Web site in 2004 and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since.”
Give me a break.
This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen. So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing, calling Hillary the “Senator from Punjab?” Did you like that? Or what about the Obama handout that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook, scouring me, scathing criticism over my financial reports.
[Former independent counsel] Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon. So you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want, it wasn't his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly we didn't do better in Iowa.
But, you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and other is negative, when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that's in the media doesn't mean the facts aren't out there.
Otherwise, I do not have any strong feelings about that subject.
Go ahead. I've got to take a question back here and then I -- go ahead.
From Gibbs' article in the February 4 issue of Time:
In their campaign to hand off the presidency one to another, the Clintons have now rotated the virtual vice presidency as well. Hillary's claim to be “ready to lead on Day One” rests on having served as de facto Veep when Bill was in office. Now it's his turn, wielding the hatchet in New Hampshire as he hacked away at the “fairy tale” that is Obama's candidacy and taking Hillary's place in South Carolina so she could focus on Super-Duper Tuesday contests. Some party elders were disturbed enough to tell him to knock it off. Some feminists wondered how satisfying it would be to see the first woman nominated being carried over the finish line by her husband. And Obama himself sounded at times like a man without hope, playing defense in the very game he had promised to end.