Earlier this year, during the height of the Democratic presidential primary, one of Hillary’s top campaign officials — Bill Shaheen — mentioned that he was worried that in the general election, he feared that Republicans would take Barack Obama’s admission of youthful drug use and accuse him of having also dealt drugs.
You see, Bill is married to Jeanne Shaheen, former New Hampshire governor and failed US Senate candidate. And she’s running again this year, against the guy who barely beat her in 2002 — John E. Sununu.
And I wondered just how much support she could count on from Obama, should he win the nomination.
Well, I guess Obama’s willing to overlook Bill’s little stunt. (typical Democratic ploy — throw your own dirt at a fellow Democrat, then laying the blame on Republicans, who most often had nothing to do with it; it’s what Bob Beckel tried a few weeks ago, when he first pushed the “Michelle Obama – whitey tape,” then blamed right-wing “crackers” for doing what he did.) He’s sending his wife to campaign with Jeanne Shaheen.
I had the chance to talk to Bill Shaheen on a local radio station yesterday, and asked him about it in a two-part question — “do you still think the Republicans will try saying that, and do you think that your having said that will hurt your wife’s chances of getting any support from the Obama campaign?” He repeated his assertion, that he fully expected the Republicans to do it, and ignored the latter half.
I guess I have my answer now. But it’s worth remembering that the very first person to breach the subject was Bill Shaheen, a former leader of Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and he, from the outset, couched the attack in terms of “you can expect Republicans to say this.”
Because you know that the instant some fringe right-winger says it, the outrage from Democrats will be tremendous — and far greater than any sort of wrath expressed at Bill Shaheen.