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« Eggs, Sperms, Bones and Brains | Main | Attention Thoreauvians: Is breaking the law good for you? (Andrew) »

June 16, 2007


This whole thing is really too confusing for me. The Clintons are like rock stars in India - Bill more so than Hillary. And they have been scooping up dough from their connections. So what is new? Yet Hillary saw it fit to make a joke about Mahatma Gandhi pumping gas at a 7-11. Doesn't seem to have hurt her with the Indian community.

As for Obama, I will wait to see what he has to say. But you are the Queen of Conspiracy here. Tell us what you think. Do you suspect that the NYT is behind all this - trying to inject some excitement into the primaries? A few weeks ago, they also broke the story about the Clintons being too cozy with Vinod Gupta of Info-USA.

I am receiving phone calls and solicitation mail from both the Clinton and Obama campaigns. But I have so far sat on my hands. Come October, if Gore is not in, I will weigh my options then.

Honestly, at this point, I don't know exactly what to think about the whole thing. A quick glance at Sepia Mutiny's comments on Amardeep's post, included the following link to a statement released by the Obama campaign :"The Obama campaign said it regrets parts of the campaign-generated papers.

"Barack Obama has been a longtime friend of the Indian-American community and our campaign is fortunate to have strong support from Indian-Americans across the country,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said in a statement. “The intent of the document was to discuss the issue of outsourcing, but we regret the tone that parts of the document took.”

The release of the opposition research by the Obama camp was prompted by the Thursday release of new personal financial documents by Clinton's campaign."

Again, a couple of (now MSWord documents). Now the second has an 'author' of 3FG0MC1 ( no company entry on this one). No doubt these are the original documents that NY Times and NY Daily News picked up on and purveyed the main story, since the story is datelined June 15 and refers to the handout of the memos prompted by the Thursday Clinton investment story. It still fascinates me that the digital properties of all these versions of the same documents (including last edit statistics) vary for these electronic copies. How many people have been mailing out their edited version from the Obama campaign/Clinton campaign?

My take on is this is that Obama's campaign may have decided to try and gain some political traction with what they hope is the larger group of anti-outsourcing voters, even at the risk of losing Indian-American votes in the process. Hillary's campaign is capitalizing on the negative publicity generated by this to perhaps boost some contributions from the Indian- American lobbyists. Politics in all its sordid glory, I suppose.

I'll wait for Al Gore, if he chooses to run. If not, I'll go with Kucinich or Gravel.

Confused has a lighter take on this matter which I find a bit more refreshing than the huffing, puffing and hair splitting that is going on at Amardeep's post on SM. Come on now, the mud slinging has hardly begun. By the time the 2008 election season comes around, every ethnic group (hopefully) will have an insult that it can call its own. This is nothing like George Allen's Macaca moment where he deliberately insulted a live person face to face.

More interesting to me than the actual contents of the memos, was the tortuous path evidenced by the digital properties. My pieced together timeline (which I did just as light relief from tearing my hair over binary data formats for book metadata):
Clintons liquidate certain holdings: April 27 2007 (WaPo article, June 15, dated 06/14/07, Link)
Aides announce to press about the holdings liquidated: June 14, 2007
NY Times dateline story about holdings : June 14,2007.Link , June 15 print/web edition.
Story includes mention of the following: Obama campaign passes out not-for-attribution attack memos shortly after Clinton camp presser. Copy of memos obtained by Clinton campaign given to NY Times and contents mentioned in June 14 datelined article.Comments by Bill Burton of the Obama camp seem to try to justify the contents of the memos. No comment on question about not-for-attribution handout.
Aside: Wow, that's an amazing quick reaction to an amazing quick creation of memos! Thinking further, it means that if these campaigns are any indication, we will have very hyper-proactive administrations should either Hillary or Barack become President. That would be a plus. They would have prevented things like 9/11 or Katrina.
First creation of Obama campaign India memos - both around noon, June 14, 2007 4NG0MC1 of Obama for America (11:48 am) and 3NG0MC1 (no company), 12:02 pm. saved as rev 2 DD870KC1 one after editing for 28 minutes, other 0 minutes (likely name change, save), since both docs use same format, but differ in contents.
Backstory on memos, 'The Caucus' in NY Times includes links to converted PDFs (saved 10:14 am, June 15) from memos published 10:19 am June 15, 2007.Questions raised about the cleanliness of Obama's campaign in article.
NY Daily News Mouth of the Potomac gets copy of file, edited last by B.Zeff (Clinton campaign- 13 minutes, appears to be unbolding parts of document), original creation time is marked 6:45 pm June 14. This isn't the 12 pm version, since it would have that timestamp for original creation.
NY Daily news puts out his bzeff edited doc at 12:00 am June 15, 2007. He also refers to the memo mention buried in the NYTimes article about the investment. States that his doc source is the Clinton campaign.

As the resident conspiracy Queen, and all worn out from the above fruitless theorizing, ;) I hereby confer upon the New York Times (now including Maureen Dowd's latest hit">">hit piece) the highest Order of Obamabashery. The NY Daily News gets a ribbon for their efforts to rival NY Times, while the WaPo gets nothing at all for the too 'matter of fact' reporting they've indulged in. How dare they not take sides! (An interesting Media Matters take on the issue)

Whew, Sujatha! One of the campaigns should hire you to research the opposition's electronic trail of hanky panky.

Here's Obama's personal response. It's pretty well written and addresses most of the concerns I had with the original memo. It still does make his campaign out to be a bit immature.

A helping of humble pie never hurt anyone, so Obama comes out not too badly off, even if he isn't smelling exactly of roses after this episode. Immature campaigning or moles, we won't really be able to figure out. It's all about the campaign money anyway. Note the careful wording of the following in Obama's letter:
"More importantly, the memo's caustic tone, and its focus on contributions by Indian-Americans to the Clinton campaign, was potentially hurtful, and as such, unacceptable. The memo also ignored my own long-standing relationship to - and support from - the Indian-American community."
Potentially hurtful, and as such, unacceptable, indeed! In any case, the whole flap is not just potentially hurtful to Obama's fundraising prospects among the Indian-American community, but has stained his image as the great Brown hope as such ;)

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