The blogs got it first.
"I'm delighted to fight the fight with her. ... The person who has always reached out to us has been Hillary. ... I think Hillary is a fighter. ... She is a wonderful individual. ... More diplomacy the better. There is no daylight between us on Iran." -- former ambassador Joseph Wilson
A conference call announcing the endorsement of Hillary Clinton by Joseph Wilson was just held with bloggers to hear the breaking news. This is a huge deal for Candidate Clinton and a big endorsement for her candidacy. That it was broken on the blogs sends a powerful signal. I'll provide the transcript as soon as it is available.
Wilson has known Clinton for over a decade. He said she is not the aloof rock star that walks on stage, gives her speech, then walks off with her bodyguards without feeling or thought. "She's been a policy wonk since she was 21 and in school." Wilson believes Clinton is the one that understands the adversary we're all facing and will fight for us better than the rest of the field. "This is not a job interview," said Wilson, in response to the possibility of being in a Clinton administration.
Clinton has come a long way in understanding the blogosphere even in the face of huge criticism and sometimes out and out bias on the blogs. She has earned criticism on certain fronts, but she's also deserved praise, as I've reported many times, though many blogs and readers refuse to acknowledge her strengths.
Credit where credit is due is the issue.
The other very real issue is Clinton being held to a different standard. Many people are still waiting for her to apologize for her Iraq vote, with nothing less acceptable. She's learned many lessons and changed dramatically on the war. That's enough for me with Clinton, as it is with John Edwards, though he went one step further. However, they're both determined to get troops out of Iraq. Barack Obama gets credit for his anti-Iraq war views when he wasn't in the Senate, which he should, but since he's been in the Senate his votes are exactly the same as Clinton, without the planning specificity, let me add. We've also seen that play out on another issue regarding Iraq, especially recently when Barack Obama talked about a "smaller" residual forces in Iraq that could mean anything, which would have drawn hoots of outrage if a similar statement was made by Candidate Clinton, who offered a partial military plan for residual forces few other candidates but Joe Biden have suggested. Whether it's sexism or a double standard, as I've said before, Obama seems to get a pass on policies where Clinton would get pilloried.
The '08 selection season is not over by a long shot and I am staying neutral in the primary. But the endorsement of Clinton by Joseph Wilson is a big step for her campaign. That Clinton offered the scoop to a group of bloggers shows just how far she's come and how far she's willing to engage a community, which on the whole is very critical of her on all fronts. She's also accepted the invitation to YearlyKos, which I'm looking forward to very much. Clinton is illustrating her ability to engage on all fronts, even where she knows she'll take heat. The strength of Clinton's candidacy continues to expand.
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