Record label mogul David Geffen, a major Democratic fundraiser who recently decided to back Sen. Barack Obama’s bid for the White House after many years supporting the Clintons, ignited a war of words when he dissed Sen. Clinton during a New York Times interview. Offering his view of Clinton as a calculating figure who can’t win, Geffen condemned Clinton’s support of military force in Iraq. “It’s not a very big thing to say, ‘I made a mistake’ on the war and typical of Hillary Clinton that she can’t,” Geffen said.
In response to Geffen’s criticism, Clinton, rather inexplicably, insisted Obama return the $1.3 million he collected during a recent star-studded fundraiser thrown by Geffen, an event that reportedly persuaded some high-profile Democratic supporters to join Obama’s camp. The Obama campaign responded forcefully: “It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when he was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln Bedroom.” And while the two candidates continue to trade blows, political wonks weigh in on the malicious inauguration to the ’08 presidential race.
Here’s what politicos are saying about the Geffen-fueled Clinton/Obama verbal boxing match:
“They’re not going to be able to keep this up. If it goes on like this for another 20 months American presidential politics is going to resemble one of those barroom scenes in a Western where no one is left standing except for the little old dipso in the corner blissfully unaware of the carnage going on around him.” — hehehe, ninme.com
“The outcome of the Geffen-Clinton episode is worthy of watching because it is going to determine whether it is remembered as the moment in the 2008 campaign when it became clear you are allowed to criticize Hillary — or as the moment it became clear you are not.” — Patti Noonan, opinionjournal.com
“Whatever you can say about the music mogul, he is one shrewd character, quite savvy about the media and its ways. He’s been in the public eye for thirty years or more. In all likelihood, he knew precisely what he was doing when he opened his mouth to Maureen Dowd on the eve of the first public Democratic presidential ‘debate.’ This was no accident.” — Roger L. Simon, rogerlsimon.com
“Both Hillary and Barack can shut the fuck up any day now. It’s posturing among lawyers and it’s stupid. On the other hand, David Geffen handled himself surprisingly well considering that he’s, well, David Geffen.” — praetoriangaurd, praetorianguard.livejournal.com
“When friends and party loyalists start bitterly dismissing your efforts to win their commitment, your campaign is in trouble. Mrs. Clinton has yet to convince party movers and shakers that the American electorate can warm to her in sufficient numbers to win the general election.” — Dr.X, typepad.com
Talk: Is Geffen right about Clinton? How important is it for the Democratic nominee to have Hollywood on his/her side?