Geoff Garin, Hillary’s latest chief campaign strategist, tries to set a new standard on what constitutes a personal attack and what doesn’t.

It’s a laugh riot

What’s wrong with this picture? Our campaign runs a TV ad Monday saying that the presidency is the toughest job in the world and giving examples of challenges presidents have faced and challenges the next president will face — including terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, mounting economic dislocation, and soaring gas prices. The ad makes no reference — verbal, visual or otherwise — to our opponent; it simply asks voters to think about who they believe is best able to stand the heat. And we are accused, by some in the media, of running a fear-mongering, negative ad.

The day before this ad went on the air, David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s chief strategist, appeared with me on “Meet the Press.” He was asked whether Hillary Clinton would bring “the changes necessary” to Washington, and his answer was “no.” This was in keeping with the direct, personal character attacks that the Obama campaign has leveled against Clinton from the beginning of this race — including mailings in Pennsylvania that describe her as “the master of a broken system.” […]

The Obama campaign has chosen from its inception not to treat Clinton with the same respect. In fact, the Obama campaign has made an unprecedented assault on her character — not her positions, but her character — saying one thing about raising the tone of political discourse but acting quite differently in its treatment of Clinton.

Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, held a conference call with reporters and called Hillary “one of the most secretive politicians in America today” — a striking personal charge in the era of Dick Cheney.

Axelrod described Clinton as having “a special interest obsession.”

Obama himself has joined the character assault from time to time, saying, for example, that Clinton “doesn’t have the sense that things need to change in Washington” — a patently false and demeaning observation.

I’m sorry, but Geoff…have you been following this race?

First off, to answer the content of the Obama campaign’s comments, Clinton’s campaign has always been one of the Washington insider. In fact, it was revealed early on that Mark Penn had been running the campaign as if she was running for reelection. Add to that the fact that Clinton poo-pooed Obama’s calls for change in Washington with phrases like “the skies will open up, and the light will shine down upon us.”

But to address your own standard for what’s a personal attack and what’s not…

So Geoff, I know you’re new to the campaign, but that should get you up to speed. Better you know now before you write any more laughable op-eds like this.

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