Killing the Messenger

Trailing by a world of points behind Hillary Clinton in the polls, John Spencer’s campaign has focused its sights on perhaps a more accesible quarry: consultant and spokesman Howard Wolfson.

It’s nothing new for campaign managers to write each other pithy, dismissive public letters as an excuse to take shots at the candidates, but the latest missive from Spencer spokesman Rob Ryan — which takes Wolfson to task for dodging the Spencer campaign’s request for lots and lots of debates, mocks him for his work on behalf of Ned Lamont and criticizes his association with the Dubai port deal — actually attempts to make Hillary’s spokesman an issue in the campaign.

“I thought perhaps you were down there helping the government of Dubai purchase defense contractors or attain the rights to operate American ports. It must be hard to explain to a client that, while President Clinton might support such deals, his wife, Senator Clinton, must oppose them because she is intent on running for President and is comfortable taking the most expedient route to get there.”

Wolfson didn’t seem pleased, but he also wasn’t letting Ryan get him off message, which is, basically, that Spencer is nuts.

“My feeling is that if Mr. Spencer isn’t threatening to kill me then it is probably a good day, given his history,” Wolfson told us. “I tend to say that a lot, because it’s true.”

He also pointed out that Mrs. Clinton had, in fact, agreed to a debate.

“Apparently Mr. Spencer’s been too busy ranting and raving and running a negative campaign to notice that we agreed to debate last week.”

-Jason Horowitz

September 19, 2006

Mr. Howard Wolfson
Communications Director
Friends of Hillary
420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 350
New York, NY 10170 Glover Park Group
3299 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007

NYS Democratic State Committee
96 South Swan St.
Albany, NY 12210 Lamont for Senate
300 Research Parkway
Meriden, CT 06450

Dear Howard:

I wrote you last week hoping to set up a series of debates between Senator Clinton and John Spencer. To date, I have not heard a word from you or the Clinton campaign.

I understand how busy you are, so I’m sending this letter to a number of addresses. Hopefully it reaches you at one of them.

I know that Senator Clinton has “loaned” you to the Lamont campaign and their effort to defeat Senator Lieberman. I guess that’s because Senator Clinton supports his strong anti-war statements and believes that it’s a liability to have a colleague in the Senate who supports the global war on terror and believes that we must stand with Israel and support its basic right to exist.

I sent a copy to the Glover Park Group at their Washington address. I thought perhaps you were down there helping the government of Dubai purchase defense contractors or attain the rights to operate American ports. It must be hard to explain to a client that, while President Clinton might support such deals, his wife, Senator Clinton, must oppose them because she is intent on running for President and is comfortable taking the most expedient route to get there.

I sent a copy to the Democratic State Committee in Albany in the belief that perhaps you were up there with Denny Farrell, Shelly Silver and their tax and spend liberal colleagues who walk lock-step with Senator Clinton in their opposition to the Bush tax cuts.

And finally I am sending a copy to the Clinton campaign offices. Maybe you are there helping their press office draft another one of those cynical and silly news releases that charge us with running a “negative campaign. Come on Howard, you know and I know, and the majority of Americans know that Senator Clinton is a “left wing, anti defense. Liberal” that isn’t a “negative” statement…..where I come from that is called a fact.

Why is Senator Clinton and her campaign afraid of debates? Is it because they might destroy your carefully cultivated image that she is a moderate and thus injure her chances of returning to the White House? Or could it be that the preparation would wreak havoc with the cross country jaunts that she goes on to raise money and lay the groundwork for her presidential campaign.

With the nation at war, the Middle East in turmoil, high energy prices and the threat of renewed terror attacks, New Yorkers want numerous debates so that both Senator Clinton and Mayor Spencer can explain where they stand on these and other important issues.

Hopefully, one of these letters will reach you and you will be kind enough to call me to schedule the debates.

Sincerely,

Robert H. Ryan
Director of Communications

Killing the Messenger