Obama Memos Ripple

Barack Obama's campaign sent two memos out to reporters yesterday attacking the Clintons for purportedly suspicious business dealings. The result was not what they intended.

As Bob Shrum told me earlier, "They turned a story about Hillary's finances into a story about Obama's negative tactics."

Today's Times story and Caucus post both go in fairly great depth into the memos, which were sent to reporters by the Obama campaign, according to the report, "on what it demanded be a not-for-attribution basis." The Clinton campaign got a hold of them, the Times reports, and passed them on to their reporter. Memos in hand, courtesy of the Clinton campaign, the Times ran with them, quoting their allegations and less than graceful descriptions of Hillary.

The memos, and not any of the allegations they contained, have subsequently become the story.

The New York Sun went after Obama
for falling short of his promise to practice a new kind of politics, highlighting a piece of the memo
that said "Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)'s Personal Financial and
Political Ties."

On his blog on the Politico, Ben Smith noted that some Indian Groups were taking offense at the memo and later wondered if the Clinton campaign received the memo from a reporter before, presumably, they alerted the Times.

TPM Election Central posted another memo that the Obama campaign sent out to reporters accusing Bill Clinton of traveling to Hong Kong on the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11. As TPM points out, Drudge ran with that story for several hours yesterday, linking to a press release that showed the speech to have been given on Sept. 11 Hong Kong time. TPM also cites our post on a statement from Bill Clinton's office that though it was Sept. 11 for the audience many time zones away, the speech was actually given on the evening of Sept. 10, Eastern Standard Time.

The Clinton campaign, for now, is protecting its sources: a spokesman for the Clinton campaign declined to comment on how the memos were obtained.