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Saturday, January 28, 2023

The lost story amid the Hillary debate

The Fox News boys and other imitators of "fair and unbiased" media have had a field day with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s minor rhetorical misstep in the Congo earlier this week. I’m speaking of her angry response to a misinterpreted question from a student while visiting that war-torn land — more on that part of her trip below.

But the unfortunate part of this headline-grabbing minute is that it obscured the vastly more important work she is doing to help the Congo and particularly Congolese women. I’ve covered women in international politics for some 20 years now, and I’ve never heard of atrocities as mendacious, perverted and quite frankly insane as those committed against the women of the Congo.

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Obama turns to email for health care fight

President Barack Obama’s push to revamp health care got a boost Thursday as a new coalition of drug makers, unions, hospitals and others launched a $12 million pro-overhaul ad campaign. Meanwhile, the administration sought to regain control of the health care debate by asking supporters to forward a chain e-mail to counter criticism that’s circulating on the Internet.

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Clinton dismisses furor over tart response

A close aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton dismissed as "psychobabble" the fuss over the secretary of state’s barbed response to a questioner asking for her famous husband’s opinion instead of her own. Clinton ignored questions about the episode as she wound down a marathon African trip Thursday.

Clinton had reacted strongly earlier this week when a Congolese student in Kinshasa asked her for the opinion of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, about an international economic issue.

"Wait. You want me to tell you what my husband thinks?" a wide-eyed Clinton asked Tuesday in response. "My husband is not the secretary of state; I am. So you ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I’m not going to be channeling my husband."

Asked Thursday about the impact of the widely reported exchange, Clinton was silent, then quickly launched into a glowing assessment of her 10-day tour of seven African nations.

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Old fashioned protests hinder high-tech Obama

There’s a certain irony here.

The 20th century community organizer who used 21st century tools for his people-powered White House campaign now finds himself besieged by citizens airing their grievances at 19th century-inspired town hall style meetings.

Barack Obama’s top legislative goal hangs in the balance and his popularity is suffering as critics co-opt his tech-savvy organizing methods, tag him as a boogyman and disrupt local gatherings on his proposed health care overhaul.

Is the groundbreaking campaigner, whose White House political arm is aptly called Organizing for America, being outmaneuvered?

"That’s a fair summary of where things are at the moment," said Sanford Horwitt, a biographer of Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing.

"The other side has the anger and the intensity, and Obama’s side doesn’t," Horwitt said. Harking back to the presidential campaign’s tactics and success, Horwitt said, "This really first-rate community organizing has not revealed itself in the first months he’s been in office, particularly when it comes to the health care issue."

The White House and its allies claim the protests are simply a fake grass-roots movement — "astroturfing" — but a USA Today/Gallup Poll this week found that most Americans believe the protesters’ sentiments are genuine.

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