Obama's Campaign Talking Points Out of Left Field

Lately, several Obama surrogates have been struggling to get their talking points straight.  Commenting on Obama's campaign strategy, Newark mayor and big-time Obama supporter Cory Booker referred to recent ads attacking Bain Capital as "nauseating."  Not too long after that, another Obama surrogate, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick described Bain Capital as "a perfectly fine company."  And, not the least of them, former president Clinton told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo that he believes that Bush's tax cuts should be extended. 

Booker and Clinton soon after apologized and "clarified" their remarks, explaining that they meant the exact opposite of what they had actually said.  That Clinton and Booker were forced to walk back their statements should come as no surprise, considering that Obama's attacks on tax cuts and private equity are the cornerstone of his entire election campaign.  He can't afford to have his most prominent talking points undermined by his very own supporters.

All this raises the question of precisely why so many Obama supporters are having such a difficult time staying on message.  Fortunately, we need look no farther than Clinton's statement of apology to shed some light on this mystery.  According to Clinton, the reason his message wasn't consistent with the Obama campaign was because:

I didn't have any idea, when I was giving that answer, that I was wading into some controversy in the campaign, because I haven't seen the ads, and I'm not following it, and I'm not really part of it[.]

Think about that for a second.  Bill Clinton, a former president and longtime political veteran who has lent support to hundreds of campaigns over the years, cannot help but completely contradict the president unless he tunes into the detailed minutiae of the Obama campaign.  But why should this be the case?  Clinton is a Democrat and knows all the usual Democrat platforms inside and out.  He doesn't need a guidebook or primer.  He could probably join the local campaign of any Democrat political candidate, without even receiving a briefing on the candidates' positions.

But Obama's re-election campaign is not the usual Democratic presidential campaign.  His platform is so out of line with previous Democratic presidential candidates that even his own surrogates aren't able to stay on message.  While Democratic politicians typically call for tighter regulations and restrictions on business enterprises, Cory Booker wasn't aware that it was his job to outright vilify a legitimate and lawful United State company.  Now he knows.  Bill Clinton, in his interview with CNBC, conceded that even a Democrat wouldn't support raising taxes amidst a struggling economy.  I mean, who would do that?  Without watching all the ads and attending Obama's fundraisers, Clinton didn't know that it was his job to support taxes while the economy struggles along.

Now he knows.