Saturday, May 31, 2008

And Then There's David Frum REALLY Trashing Bush

Sure, Scott McClellan trashed George Bush in his yet to be published memoir of time in the Bush administration.

But former Canadian immigrant, former Bush speechwriter, and current neo-con columnist David Frum REALLY trashes Bush for hiring people like McClellan in the first place.
George W. Bush brought most of his White House team with him from Texas. Except for Karl Rove, these Texans were a strikingly inadequate bunch. Harriet Miers, Alberto Gonzalez, Karen Hughes, Al Hawkins, Andy Card (the last not a Texan, but a lifelong Bush family retainer) — they were more like characters from The Office than the sort of people one would expect to find at the supreme height of government in the world’s most powerful nation. McClellan, too, started in Bush’s governor’s office . . . .

To be fair to Bush, bringing people in from one's own state is far from unusual. Jimmy Carter brought in Georgians like the late Hamilton Jordan. Bill Clinton surrounded himself with people from Arkansas, George Bush the Elder had Jim Baker, and Ronald Reagan brought in Ed Mease and other Californians.

But it wasn't the incompetence of the Bush team that galls Frum, it's the weird form of subservience that Bush enforced on the Texas group. On the one hand, Bush like to perpetrate petty little humiliations on the people close to him.
Bush demanded a very personal kind of loyalty, a loyalty not to a cause or an idea, but to him and his own career. Perhaps unconsciously, he tested that loyalty with constant petty teasing, sometimes verging on the demeaning. (Robert Draper, whose book Dead Certain offers a vivid picture of the pre-presidential Bush, tells the story of a 1999 campaign-strategy meeting at which Bush shut Karl Rove up by ordering him to “hang up my jacket.” The room fell silent in shock — but Rove did it.)

On the other hand, the "little abuses" would be followed up by "unexpected acts of thoughtfulness and generosity." Frum views the thoughtful gestures as compensations for the abuse. But the humiliations and teasing were really two sides of the same coin. The petty teasing, nicknames, and little abuses continually reminded people like Karl Rove that they were subordinate to George Bush while the little acts of thoughtfulness taught them to appreciate and even value their subordination. Bush was enforcing a peculiarly personal kind of subordination in which people like Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales, and Harriet Miers all viewed their own sense of value as flowing directly from the magnanimous generosity of George Bush.

Obvious, working closely with George Bush was not a job for independent spirits or strong personalities.

Yet the combination of the demand for personal loyalty, the bullying and the ensuing compensatory love-bombing was to weed out strong personalities and to build an inner circle defined by a willingness to accept absolute subordination to the fluctuating needs of a tense, irascible and unpredictable chief.

. . . He created a closed loop in which the people entrusted with the most responsibility were precisely those who most dreaded responsibility — Condoleezza Rice being the most important and most damaging example.

Frum believes that George Bush chose such a poorly prepared inner circle because he put do much emphasis on personal loyalty and did not articulate "a compelling vision and ideal."

But this is mistaken. According to McClellan, Bush had "a compelling vision" of a democratic Middle East that he tried to bring to life through the invasion of Iraq.

Instead, the problem was that George Bush's personality doesn't have the kind of balance required for any kind of significant management position. What do I mean by "balance" in this context. I don't mean "unhinged" in the sense of having a psychological disorder. Instead, Bush has a strong, domineering personality but does not have great intelligence, overflowing knowledge, a great worth ethic, or any kind of specialized expertise. Bush relies on his "gut" because he doesn't have any other talents, skills, or expertise to rely on.

In fact, people with skills and expertise would be a constant threat to someone like George Bush because they would always have a dimension of superiority in relation to Bush. In this regard, I wouldn't be surprised if Bush hasn't always kept Rove on a short emotional leash. As talented and hard-working as Rove is, Bush probably needed to remind himself who was boss just as just as he needed to remind Rove. The same would be the case with anybody with real expertise around Bush. Either they had to be the kind of relatively weak personality that needed to be subordinate to someone like George Bush or they couldn't be allowed around his majesty.

Relying completely on personality (and his family name) himself, it can hardly be surprising that George Bush did not surround himself with the best people available.

RSI on KET next Monday

In one of the summer's biggest surpises, I got a call from Bill Goodman of KET to appear on a segment of "Kentucky Tonight" concerning Race and Politics in Kentucky. Goodman wanted to have professors on the panel but was having trouble locating people because of summer vactions, research trips, and traveling. I was probably in the third tier of prospects.

I'll be appearing with State Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, State Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville and Saundra Ardrey of Western Kentucky University.

The broadcast will be Monday at 8pm.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Obama and Racism: Making the Implicit Overt

In The Race Card, political scientist Tali Mendelberg (who I knew somewhat when she was a grad student at Michigan) argued that implicit and indirect appeals to racial stereotypes were more effective at rousing racial resentment than overt kinds of racist messages.
Mendelberg's most controversial claim is that these ads work best when the appeal is implicit. If the appeal is explicit, she argues--that is, if politicians actually say that blacks are undeserving--then they lose support because they have violated the norm against racism. Although voters will respond unconsciously to an implicit appeal that they don't perceive as racist, they will recoil for reasons of conscience or social disapproval to an appeal that either is, or is seen as, racist. Mendelberg asserts that Bush actually lost support to Dukakis in the closing weeks of the 1988 campaign because, on October 21, Jesse Jackson denounced the Horton ad as racist and Dukakis's running mate Lloyd Bentsen followed suit two days later. That made explicit what had previously been implicit.

One possibility with Obama is that the success of his presidential campaign to date is inducing an unknown number of whites to be more explicit about their racial bigotry. That's certainly the case with my mother in upstate New York. She hadn't discussed race with me in any kind of extended way for twenty years or more, but became obsessed with black people after Obama's victory in the Iowa caucuses. Before Obama became a serious contender, my mother's attitudes toward race were characterized by good will toward the few black people she knew and a concern for fairness mixed with racial stereotypes and fond memories of growing up in a Pennsylvania town (Sayre) that (she said) had a law against blacks living there. When Obama emerged, my mother's dormant racism emerged quickly as the source of her animosity toward Obama.

One consequence of the Obama campaign is that it's making people think more seriously about race. But that's not always a positive thing.

The Big Tent in Obama's Head

Contrary to atheist writers Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, I don't think that religion is the source of all the world's problems.

But religion is certain the source for a lot of Barack Obama's problems.

Obama's church in Chicago, Trinity United Church, is back in the news for "controversial" comments given by a Catholic priest on white privilege and its relation to Hillary Clinton.

According to Father Michael Pfleger, this is the core of white privilege:

[Unintelligible] to address the one who says, “Well, don’t hold me responsible (gesticulating) for what my ancestors did. But you have enjoyed the benefits of what your ancestors did and unless you are ready to give up the benefits (voice rising), throw away your 401 fund, throw away your trust fund, throw away all the money you put into the company you WALKED INTO BECAUSE YO’ DADDY AND YO’

…We must be honest enough to expose white entitlement and supremacy wherever it raises its head.

I'm sympathetic to arguments concerning white privilege in the United States. There are a lot of ways that whites are privileged and probably the strongest is the substantial differential in wealth between middle-class whites and middle-class blacks.

Here's an illustration of what I mean. In my home town in upstate New York, the twelve children of an extremely poor African-American family, the McGruders, all got college degrees. Assuming that all the McGruder children attained middle-class status with those degrees, those adult children still would not have had the wealth of the average middle-class whites because they wouldn't have inherited any assets.

Because African-Americans in the United States have been historically excluded from wealth (by being denied credit, excluded from lucrative employment, denied permits, etc.), there is a real sense in which inherited wealth is a matter of "white privilege" as well as family accomplishment. This is what Father Phleger refers to when he views white people with trust funds, 401 K's, and other instruments of wealth as enjoying the benefits of historical racism.

But Father Phleger is also a demagogue who is using a legitimate argument to stomp on Hillary Clinton when she's down.

…When Hillary was crying (gesturing tears, uproarious laughter from audience)–and people said that was put on–I really don’t believe it was put on.

I really believe that she just always thought ‘This is mine’ (laughter, hoots). ‘I’m Bill’s wife. I’m WHITE. And this is mine. And I jus’ gotta get up. And step into the plate. And then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama.’ And she said: ‘Oh, damn!’ WHERE DID YOU COME FROM!?!?! (Crowd going nuts, Pfleger screaming). I’M WHITE! I’M ENTITLED! THERE’S A BLACK MAN STEALING MY SHOW. (SOBS!) SHE WASN’T THE ONLY ONE CRYING! THERE WAS A WHOLE LOTTA WHITE

Like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger strikes me as a self-centered asshole who's using the success of Barack Obama's candidacy to promote himself in a way that he knows will harm Obama.

But that's not my point. What's interesting to me is that it seems obvious that Trinity United Church in Chicago is a place where condemnations of whites were heard frequently and Barack Obama would have been a regular member of the audience and it seems like Obama would have had at least some sympathy with the message. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been close to Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

There's also the more moderate opinion of Jesse Jackson and black feminists like Angela Davis and Toni Morrison. In this view, American society is still powerfully shaped by the legacy of slavery and segregation but that moving forward would be possible if African-Americans can form alliances with poor whites, white women, and other marginalized groups.

I bet that Obama is sympathetic with this view as well. That was certainly his perspective in his Philadelphia speech on race relations.

But Barack Obama's brain also had room in it for a third view that the U. S. has made so much racial progress since the 60's that race shouldn't matter in a presidential campaign. Obama's views are close enough to the color-blind orthodoxy of race neo-cons like William Bennett that they've expressed positive perspectives on his campaign.

One of the things that makes African-Americans distinct from whites is that they can hold both "black-centric" and "maintream" views in their heads at the same time. Obama's head has been an especially big tent on issues of race and that's been an advantage so far in the campaign.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

McClellan Spins Himself, Huff Should Do Same

Scott McClellan--I saw the video of Scott McClellan's interview with Meredith Viera of The Today Show. I don't remember Dick Cheney or Richard Perle ever getting grilled like that in the mainstream media. McClellan actually comes off pretty well in the interview--more an average, everyday guy who got to work for the White House than anything else. He wasn't particularly good at spinning when he was press secretary, but his relative awkwardness comes off well during the interview. Support for the war in Iraq has dropped from 70% right before the invasion to something like 30%. My take on McClellan is that he's gone through a version of the same process of gradually rejecting President Bush that 40% of the American public has also gone through. It's just that McClellan is going to get a fat royalty check for his trouble.

Blogger--Promote Thyself. Arianna Huffington wonders about McClellan's moral authenticity because McClellan came out against Bush's conduct of the White House five years after it would have meant anything.
It's George Tenet déjà vu all over again. How many times are we going to have a key Bush administration official try to wash the blood off his hands -- and add a chunk of change to his bank account -- by writing a come-clean book years after the fact, pointing the finger at everyone else while painting himself as an innocent bystander to history who saw all the horrible things that were happening but, somehow, had no choice but to go along?

But why bother? How many hidden saints have been serving at the top of the Bush administration anyway?

What Huffinton should be emphasizing is that war opponents and left-wing bloggers like herself have been right about the Bush administration's propoganda campaign to promote the war all along and that it's time for the mainstream media to end its near total embargo on war opponents.

Huffington gets in a little plug for herself in relation to McClellan's comments on the media.
McClellan points an accusatory finger at the mainstream media -- he calls them "enablers" and says they were too easy on the administration during the selling of the war:

"The national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. The collapse of the administration's rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. ... In this case, the 'liberal media' didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served."

Great point, Scotty. We and many others made it back in 2003.

But that little shout out to herself isn't nearly enough and the fact that somebody as savvy as Huffington downplays such a key self-promotional moment is an indication of how far the left has to go in effectively promoting itself.

Texas: Next Stop Polygamy

MSNBC reports that the Texas High Court has ruled that all the 430 children fundamentalist Mormon children need to be returned to their parents.

In a crushing blow to the state's massive seizure of children from a polygamist sect's ranch, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that child welfare officials overstepped their authority and the children should go back to their parents.

The high court affirmed a decision by an appellate court last week, saying Child Protective Services failed to show an immediate danger to the more than 400 children swept up from the Yearning For Zion Ranch nearly two months ago.

All Texas needs to do now is to decide what to do about the polygamy--which I believe is against the law.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Crossing the Obama/Clinton Line

Hillary Clinton's arguments that she would make a stronger general election candidate than Obama were somewhat bolstered by some Gallup Poll research showing that she would do better in a number of crucial swing states than Obama.
Clinton's 2008 swing-state victories include Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Arkansas, and -- based solely on popular vote (not delegates) -- Florida and Michigan (her swing states total 105 electoral votes). Thus far in May, Gallup has found Clinton leading McCain in these states by six percentage points, 49% to 43%. McCain holds the slight edge over Obama in these states, 46% to 43%. Thus, as of today, Clinton is clearly the stronger Democratic candidate in this cluster of states where she beat Obama in the popular vote.
In other words, Hillary currently holds a six-point edge over Obama in a combination of eight swing states. That puts her over the edge of the margin of error for the swing states. So, the finding is statistically significant.

Still, it left me cold. The contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was about primaries, caucuses, delegates, and super-delegates. As much as I preferred Hillary, I can see that Barack Obama, for all intents and purposes, has won the nomination and that this kind of at the margin argumentation by the Hillary camp isn't going to change the outcome.

So, I went out and stuck an Obama sticker on my car.

Obama Should Take Up McCain's Iraq Gimmick

I realize that John McCain's "Go with Me to Iraq" idea is just a campaign gimmick and I'm just as sure that McCain's Will come up with a lot of these gimmicks over the next six months. To a narcissist like McCain, running for President is all about drawing attention to his precious self and publicity-seeking gimmicks are an obvious way to attact attention.

If McCain wins, I'm sure he'd have the most gimmicky presidency of all time.

But I still think Obama should take McCain up on the challenge and go to Iraq with or without McCain himself.

Most importantly, it would be a tremendous opportunity for Barack Obama to look presidential. People in the U. S. are dying for some authoritative voice on opposition to the war and Obama could be that voice. Specifically, he could publicly inform Gens. Petraueus and Odierno that the American people oppose the war, he opposes the war, and that he would definitely order a withdrawal if he were elected president.

That would be a presidential moment that Obama could put in his campaign ads from now to the November election and probably use in his re-election campaign as well.

At the same time, Obama could press to meet with people who usually aren't part of the political briefing tour--including Iraqi President Talibani, Kurdish leaders, Sadrist politicians, and members of al-Sistani's Shiite clerical establishment. He could talk about the strength of the Shiite militias, the rampant corruption and the lack of electricity and basic services. Obama could also form opinions on what if anything is being done about it.

If Obama wants to do tours, he could do tours of Mosul, Sadr City, and Basra

It wouldn't hurt Obama to meet some of the thousands of Iraqis who have been falsely imprisoned as well.

When Obama comes home, he could then challenge McCain to travel with him in the United States and meet with the veterans who are being given shoddy health care, have attempted suicide, or have gone through painful divorces.

These men and women are going to be paying for the Iraq War the rest of their lives. Obama should challenge McCain to get to know them better.

Barfing Up Bush: Scott McClellan Aims for the Truth

America is barfing up Bush. Why shouldn't Scott McClellan?

Vomiting, puking, throwing up, retching, and barfing are all terms for the "forceful discharge of stomach contents through the mouth." Personally, I prefer "barfing" because its such a gutteral word that really gets at the discomfort of expelling things back through the mouth that have gone into the stomach. "Barfing" also captures the involuntary quality of the action as well as the feelings of disgust that accompany those discharges.

"Retching" is another good word, but I still think "barfing" hits the mark a little better.

Whatever its called, barfing is a sign that the stuff in your stomach is so intolerable or harmful that it can't be digested any further and has to be rejected back up through the mouth. Stomach bugs, carsickness, and chemotherapy make people barf because the stomach is in no condition to handle food. Too much alcohol makes people barf because it's too poisonous for stomachs to handle. Because a person's stomach just can't handle the awful stuff anymore, it makes a powerful effort to send it back to the world from whence it came.

That's what happened with President Bush and the Bush administration. At the beginning of Bush's first term, America more or less willingly swallowed George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleeza Rice. President Bush's approval ratings shot up after the 9-11 terrorist attacks and most people bought into Bush administration rationales for invading Iraq. But since Bush's re-election in 2004, almost the whole country has been engaged in one long exercise in barfing up the Bush administration as being too arrogant, incompetent, dishonest, or absurd to hold down any longer.

The Bush administration is just so (fill in the blank) that everyone wants to throw up.

That appears to be what former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan is doing in his memoir as well--barfing up the Bush administration. Having defended and rationalized the Bush administration on a daily basis from 2003-2006, McClellan is now condemning everyone and everything he once defended. It's almost like he wants to get the Bush administration out of his system and out of his system for good.

President Bush?
"[Bush] and his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war."
Hurricane Katrina?
“One of the worst disasters in our nation’s history became one of the biggest disasters in Bush’s presidency. Katrina and the botched federal response to it would largely come to define Bush’s second term,” he writes. “And the perception of this catastrophe was made worse by previous decisions President Bush had made, including, first and foremost, the failure to be open and forthright on Iraq and rushing to war with inadequate planning and preparation for its aftermath.”
Rove, Libby, and Cheney?
“Neither, I believe, did President Bush. He, too, had been deceived and therefore became unwittingly involved in deceiving me. But the top White House officials who knew the truth — including Rove, Libby and possibly Vice President Cheney — allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie.”
The Bush-enabling corporate media?

“If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq . . . The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”

Barf, vomit, retch--McClellan is spewing out the Bush administration in all its messy, ugly, glory.
Asked to comment for Fox, Karl Rove thought that McClellan sounded like a "left-wing blogger." But that's actually not a good analogy. What sets left-wing bloggers apart is that they never bought into the Bush administration and therefore never had to barf them back up like Scott McClellan is doing. To the contrary, Scott McClellan is just a normal American who bit hard on the Bush administration and now feels an overpowering need to purge himself.

Who can blame him?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Whoa! Lunsford Leads in Rasmussen Poll

According to Rasmussen Reports, Bruce Lunsford is currently leading Sen. Mitch McConnell by 49 to 44%. This has to be disappointing to McConnell who is sitting on a huge campaign war chest and has been running apparently ineffective commercials for months.

Nobody should kid themselves about whether Mitch McConnell is a formidable opponent. He's one of the smartest people in American politics and he's served four terms in the U. S. Senate despite fundamentally unlikable, having little campaign charisma, and swimming against popular opinion. It's very odd to say this about someone who is a four-term Senator and major political figure, but my impression of McConnell is that he's never been very popular in Kentucky. He's just been a lot smarter and more effective than his Democratic opponents. What's been particularly distinct about McConnell's re-election campaigns in 1990 and 1996 has been his clever use of negative advertising to establish big leads over his opponents for re-election and then hang on as voters started turning to the Democratic candidate.

But the tide running against McConnell might be too strong this time. Now serving as Republican leader in the Senate, McConnell has become a point man for unpopular Bush administration positions on the war, economy, veterans legislation, corruption, and other issues. McjConnell is also a holdover from the big money politics and hyper-partisanship of the Newt Gingrich/Tom DeLay era in Republican politics. Today's Rasmussen survey looks like a sign that Sen. McConnell is not going to be able to use negative ads to jump out to a quick lead and that that he is going to have to go out and press the flesh and really campaign if he wants to hold on to his seat.

McConnel is already trying to tie Lunsford to Barack Obama, but it's not like Lunsford has Obama-type political skills or is a particlarly strong candidate. However, Lunsford has name recognition from previous campaigns for governor and also has access to plenty of money.

That might be enough.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hard-Working White People, Part III

One of the major problems with almost all of the commentary on the 2008 presidential election is that writers only pose the advantages or problems of one side as determining the winner. In fact, however, Barack Obama and John McCain are going to be running against each other and have to be continually measured against each other.

Today, the focus on some of the liberal blogs is on the problems of Obama with white, working class voters. Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz writes in Huffington Post that Democrats are courting disaster in November because of Barack Obama's unpopularity among working-class whites.

A recent Gallup poll report has argued that claims about Obama's weaknesses among white voters and blue collar voters have been exaggerated - yet its indisputable figures showed Obama running four percentage points below Kerry's anemic support among whites four years ago.

Given that Obama's vote in the primaries, apart from African-Americans, has generally come from affluent white suburbs and university towns, the Gallup figures presage a Democratic disaster among working-class white voters in November should Obama be the nominee.

Much as I support Hillary, I don't view the nomination of Barack Obama as courting disaster at all. To paraphrase Bill Parcells, Barack Obama "is what he is." He's an African-American politician who exudes smarts and charisma and he's going to appeal primarily to African-Americans, suburban whites, liberals, gays, and women. He's aiming for the many of the same targets as George McGovern and Michael Dukakis, but Obama is a much more savvy politician than either of those two. He's also emerging as the winner of an extremely tough nomination battle with Hillary Clinton. Obama has a much better chance of hitting his targets and putting together a winning coalition of voters outside the white, working-class orbit.

In my opinion, the main questions for Obama is whether he can nail down enough of the suburban vote to take Virginia, build up enough of a majority among the Hispanic vote to take New Mexico and Colorado, and appeal enough to white working-class voters to win Ohio and hang onto Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Given that McCain is likely to run a weak and disorganized campaign, I believe that Obama can accomplish those goals and win handily. But Obama's campaign has to make it happen.

King Kagan's Disposable America

Anyone who has ever seen Frederick Kagan (pictured above) do an interview on television knows that Kagan oozes arrogant creepiness. A classic Limbaugh-like, dough-faced, weenie boy, Kagan calls on the U. S. to back up a bullying diplomatic policy with a state of permanent war, but looks like he himself is allergic to all forms of physical activity let alone military service.
Kagan is also a machine for generating arguments in support of the Iraq War. Although most prominent now as the big thinker behind the surge, Kagan stays one step ahead of war critics by constantly thinking up new rationalizations for the American occupation.
In today's New York Post, Kagan argues for an expansion of the U. S. Army and Marines to a force of one million men.
For Kagan, that's one million very disposable men. Kagan wants a very "long war" in Iraq--a war with objectives of creating a "stable," "representative state" that "controls its territory," is "oriented toward the West," and is an "ally in the War on Terror." Given that the American military hasn't come close to accomplishing any of these things in five years, it will be a very long war indeed.
On top of that, Kagan's idea of a long war includes regional engagement in places like Sudan, Pakistan, Iran, Columbia, and Venezuela.
There's also guarding against the rising military power of China not to mention Russia.
Four thousand members of the military dead and thousands more injured in Iraq. For Kagan, those kinds of losses "would not have been surprising to the defenders of Bastogne, the armies at Antietam, or the servicemen and women in any other major war."
Kagan views American resources as just as disposable. He wants $240 billion for his 800,000 man Army by 2017 which he views as really nothing within the context of the 21 trillion economy being projected for that time.
In the final analysis, Kagan doesn't just view soldiers as disposable; he views the whole country as disposable in the same way that medieval kings viewed their domains as resources to be used for their wars.
Long Live the King.

The Shadow of Assassination

One of the items that got lost in the Hillary/RFK nonsense was that Hillary Clinton has lived under the shadow of assassination threats just as much as Obama.

There's always been a danger that some jerk would try to get their fifteen minutes of fame by taking a shot at Hillary Clinton. Even before she became the first serious female contender for the presidency, Hillary was the target of an enormous amount of vitriol from the right. It's easy to think that someone could have taken right-wing smearing one step further and mounted an assassination attempt.

For the record, I don't think Hillary Clinton was referring to the possibility of Obama being assassinated at all. She probably worries a lot more about herself in that regard.