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Obama Campaign In Disarray? Making Political Hay Out of Bhutto Assassination?

It’s hard to believe that Barack Obama’s campaign could be in such disarray that its campaign manager, David Axelrod, would use the tragic, horrific assassination of Benazir Bhutto to take, as CNN’s anchor just said, a “swipe” at Sen. Clinton. Writes Taylor Marsh, “The Obama campaign is in a panic. Mr. Axelrod’s reprehensible statement is meant to deflect the spotlight and rescue his candidate, because as people think about the implications of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination one thing comes to mind and it isn’t the leadership experience of Barack Obama.”

Taylor quotes The Page, which reports, “David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s top strategist, told reporters after the speech that Clinton will not benefit from a renewed conversation about foreign policy in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in Pakistan.” Clinton will not benefit? Is Axelrod so desperate he’d make a swipe like that right after Bhutto’s assassination?

In stark and relievingly somber contrast, the New York Times blog posted this new story at 1pm ET, “Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Bhutto“:

bhuttoclintons533.jpg
Photo Caption: “Benazir Bhutto with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton after a dinner reception in Pakistan in 1995. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)”

More from the NYT blog, The Caucus:

Benazir Bhutto … was the only celebrity whom Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton says she stood in a rope line to see. Later, after Mrs. Clinton came to international prominence, Ms. Bhutto would hold a luncheon for her and share an amusing observation about the status of husbands married to women politicians.

In 1989, Mrs. Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, were in London and noticed a commotion outside the Ritz Hotel, according to Mrs. Clinton’s memoir, “Living History.” They discovered people waiting to see Ms. Bhutto, then the head of her father’s political party. So they joined the crowd and watched her, swathed in yellow chiffon, sweep into the lobby.

A few years later, after Mrs. Clinton had become first lady and Ms. Bhutto had become prime minister, Ms. Bhutto held a luncheon in Pakistan in Mrs. Clinton’s honor. The guests included several other high-powered women.

Mrs. Clinton, who described Ms. Bhutto as “brilliant and striking,” said the prime minister led a discussion about the changing roles of women in Pakistan and told a joke about her husband’s status as first spouse.

“According to newspapers in Pakistan,” Ms. Bhutto said, “Mr. Asif Zardari is de facto prime minister of the country. My husband tells me, ‘Only the first lady can appreciate it’s not true.’” [...]

Bhutto acknowledged the difficulties faced by women who were breaking with tradition and taking leading roles in public life,” she wrote. “She deftly managed to refer both to the challenges I had encountered during my White House tenure and to her own situation. ‘Women who take on tough issues and stake out new territory are often on the receiving end of ignorance,’ she concluded.”

The New York Times blog sets the tone that should be carried out by all news organizations as well as all candidates at this time, so soon after Ms. Bhutto’s tragic assassination. To use this tragedy as political fodder makes one think that campaign must be panicking.

Taylor Marsh has more insightful remarks:

International tragedy has made Barack Obama and his campaign desperate for fear their paper thin experience in foreign policy will be weighed as voters ready for the Iowa primaries. It’s in moments of crisis you find out what a candidate has and the strength of his character to respond to real dangers in the world. Another example of Mr. Obama’s campaign of “hope,” no doubt.

But Mr. Axelrod has stepped into it now. Blaming Clinton? This statement is not only beyond the pale, but it is made even more reprehensible, not to mention ridiculous, by Obama’s campaign turning from the very serious subjects of Afghanistan-Pakistan-al Qaeda to the pop culture filmmaker Woody Allen, equating the two in a statement that is so ignorant you have to wonder if the Obama camp actually understands the possible ramifications of what happened today. I assure you, it does not come close to resembling or reflecting Woody Allen’s wisdom on life. Seriously, the celebrity candidacy of Barack Obama, now threatened by a foreign policy emergency, has slipped into the nonsensical.

It reminds me of what Mr. Obama said himself about Pakistan in September, which now looks equally ignorant. … READ ALL of Taylor Marsh’s remarkable new post.