So did a Clinton staffer send out that picture of Obama in traditional Somali garb? Maybe.
But it should be noted in all of this that Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s single source for accusing the Clinton campaign of being behind it is Drudge. (The Obama campaign doesn’t claim to have seen any e-mail linking the Clinton campaign to the photo.)
By escalating Drudge’s post with his own echo of the accusation, Plouffe gave the story weight and legs and forced the Clinton campaign to respond. And the campaign has responded in precisely the way a campaign responds when it doesn’t necessarily have any knowledge of the damning email in question but knows very well that any of hundreds of staffers could have sent it from a personal email account.
When the Clinton campaign failed in their statement to address the main accusation, that they circulated the e-mail, the Obama campaign began arguing–on background–that the omission amounted to an admission of guilt.
It isn’t, although it seems to me that they could have said something: that they had no knowledge of the photo being sent, that if it were sent it had certainly not been sanctioned by the campaign and that they obviously disapproved of anyone secretly distributing an innocent photo as if it were incriminating.
Now, after the initial non-denial response, Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee has a more specific one:
He went on to point out that the Clinton campaign didn’t see anything wrong with the photo anyway, and that Hillary Clinton had worn native dress during her trips abroad as well.