Tonight, as promised, Keith Olbermann attacked Senator Hillary Clinton in a ten-minute "Special Comment," saying that he was not endorsing Barack Obama but that "events insist" that he speak and stand against her "tepid response" to the controversial remarks of Geraldine Ferraro wherein she said that Obama wouldn't have been as successful if he were not black. Last night Olbermann decried the statements as "clearly racist"; tonight, he followed up with a doozy in which he accused her of "campaigning as if Barack Obama were the Democrat and you were the Republican." In so doing, said Olbermann — in letting the opportunity to forcefully oppose Ferraro's comments pass her by — Olbermann said that Clinton had "missed a critical opportunity to do what was right."
Watch the video below and read the transcript here.
Olbermann chose to frame his comment in terms of bad choices on the part of Senator Clinton, stopping short of calling her inherently racist, instead casting the matter in terms of her receiving bad advice from the "tone deaf" and "arrogant" members of her campaign ("they are killing your chances of becoming president...[and] slowly killing the chances for any democrat to become president"). He characterized Ferraro's remarks as "a blind accusation of sexism and dismissing Senator Obama's campaign as some equal opportunity stunt," and decried her comments both in this instance and historically, pointing to the "cheap, ignorant vile racism that underlines them." Olbermann specifically fingered (but did not name) Clinton campaign manager Maggie Williams, saying that instead of repudiating Ferraro's words — "words that should make any Democrat retch" — she was instead "letting her campaign manager bend them beyond all recognition into Sentaor Obama's fault...thus giving Ferraro nearly a week to [send the dialogue] back into the vocabulary of David Duke."
Geraldine Ferraro has stood by her comments and denied that they were racist, saying on "NBC Nightly News" tonight that they were response to a specific question about why this election was special, and saying that it was the Obama campaign that was playing "this type of a race card." (See related video here.)
"Do you not see, Senator?" Olbermann asked. "Senator Clinton, this is not a campaign strategy. This is a suicide pact."
Olbermann took the opportunity to mention a number of other matters (or, in recent campaign parlance, to 'throw the kitchen sink' at Clinton), criticizing her also for the "shell-game about choosing Obama as Vice-President," as well as her husband Bill Clinton's comments about Jesse Jackson after the South Carolina primary, the "racial undertone of the 3 a.m. ad" and the "moment's hesitation" in her much-parsed answer on 60 minutes and said that after all the accrued episodes in which race had been implicated, people now "see a pattern" of racially-tinged remarks and associations with Clinton — though he carefully stopped short of definitively asserting its existence: "False or true, they see it," said Olbermann.
He was far more definitive about Ferraro, and that's where the comment returned in its final few minutes as Olbermann implored Clinton not to allow herself "to be perceived as standing next to — and standing by — racial divisiveness," and once again brought it back to her campaign members and what they had wrought. "Grab the reins back from whoever has led you to this precipice before it is too late," said Olbermann. "Voluntarily or inadvertently, you are still awash in this filth....your only reaction has been to disagree and call it "regrettable." Unless senator you say something definitive, the former congresswoman is speaking with your approval."
Said Olbermann, in a callback to Clinton's own stand taken at the last Democratic debate: "You must reject and denounce Geraldine Ferraro."