Jay Rosen reports that the Obama quotes that are driving the political talk today came from Mayhill Fowler, a reporter writing for OffTheBus, an organization he founded with Arianna Huffington. Jay’s piece is a must-read if you want to understand how the people are reshaping political discourse in 2008.
Update: The NY Times, unlike other MSM outlets, gives proper credit to Fowler.
Hillary Clinton says that the last two Democratic candidates lost because Republican charges that they were elite stuck. My response: This time is different. Gore had the baggage of the Clinton presidency to overcome, and even so the race was so close that many people felt he actually won and his election was unfairly overturned by the Supreme Court. I voted for Kerry, but with far less enthusiasm than I will vote for Obama, a candidate I believe in. I believe Obama made a mistake, but there’s no choice as far as I’m concerned, between him and the other two candidates. HRC is every bit as elite and far more out of touch, and too cyncial to be my President. McCain is a slightly better George Bush, we need a sharp turn away from Bush, and only Obama offers that.
Obama keeps missing a big opportunity to spin higher. Last night on CNN’s Compassion Forum, a question came up asking whether he would take a pledge to fight poverty. He almost said what I keep hoping he’ll say — he’ll accept the challenge but only if the electorate agrees to stay involved after the election. I think we’re desperate to make a difference, and we want to do more than vote. A Presidential candidate who gives us a mission, work we can do to make the US stronger and the world better will be far more than a President, he or she would be a leader. At times Obama comes close, when he says we’ll help young people pay for college if they agree to provide service. How about a service program that involves everyone. I think it would be a far more popular idea than it might seem at first.
On the other hand, it seems at this time that Obama is going to have to attack HRC really hard, to knock her out. I think that’s what the press wants, and I think that’s what this ominous poll from Pennsylvania is saying. To close the deal, Obama is going to have to kill the Clintons, politically. It’s not enough to hope that they’ll just go away. He has to do it to them. I don’t like this because it hurts the possibility of him having a positive Presidency, but I think it’s what it’s come to now. I’m sure some of my friends who support Obama will disagree.
It’s time for the Obama campaign to engage with the press. A detailed campaign to explain, publicly, why Obama is much more competitive against John McCain in the general election. Why aren’t they responding to the Clinton claims that he can’t beat McCain. Respond to the kitchen sink campaign on every detail. You may not respect HRC, but you have to act as if you do.