Bayh Pulls a Penn; Bill Fantasizes About Freedom

Those Clinton campaigners sure know how to slip the "subliminable" shiv in. Yesterday, chief Hillary strategist Mark Penn managed to work "cocaine use" into his comments while supposedly disassociating the campaign from charges of Obama drug use made by Hillary's New Hampshire chairman. See video of Penn in action here.

Today, it was the turn of Hillary supporter Evan Bayh to whack Barack while pretending to take the high road. A bit after 3 PM ET this afternoon, the Dem senator from Indiana with the Eagle Scout aura [who might well have his eye on the VP slot] was being interviewed by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell about the current turmoil in Camp Clinton.

View video here.

When O'Donnell asked him to opine about the spate of bad headlines, Bayh at first gave a stock answer.

EVAN BAYH: I think that's mostly inside baseball, Norah. What Americans are mostly interested in is who can meet the challenges that they face in their daily lives, not a bunch of, you know, internal staff shakeup kind of things. What about health care? What about energy independence? Who can bring closure to Iraq? Who has the strength to make those things happen. I think that's what people care about.

Yada yada yada.

But a moment later, pressed on the Shaheen statement, Bayh slipped in a nasty little dig at Obama.

BAYH: Regrettably, sometimes people say things or do things in campaigns that the candidate does not know about that they shouldn't do. For example, this week began with stories about a questionnaire filled out by Senator Obama's previous campaign manager expressing his views on things like abortion, gun control, health care, the death penalty, all those kinds of things, without even asking the candidate -- apparently.

Bayh [whom Norah at one point called "Senator Biden"] was referring to a Politico story about a questionnaire submitted to a good government group on behalf of Obama a dozen years ago when he was running for state senator in Illinois. His answers indicated that he opposed capital punishment, supported banning the sale and manufacture of handguns, and was open to the idea of a "single payer" health care system.

The Obama presidential campaign has said that Obama did not fill out the form, and provided a contact for his campaign manager at the time, who said she filled it out.

Wrote Politico [emphasis added]:

The questionnaire, which was provided to Politico with assistance from political sources opposed to Obama’s presidential campaign, raises questions of whether Obama can be painted as too liberal and whether he is insufficiently consistent.

Hmm, so "political sources opposed to Obama’s presidential campaign" leaked the questionnaire to the Politico, and now Evan Bayh just happens to discuss it on national TV. Wonder just who those "political sources" might be?

On a day when the Clinton campaign is scrambling to pull itself out out of the mud, was this the right moment to poke another stick in Barack's eye?

Evan, Evan, Evan -- we might have to take a merit badge away from you.

Bonus Coverage: A Guy Can Dream, Can't He?

A bit earlier this afternoon, as a duly-registered supporter of Hillary's campaign, I received a "Dear Mark" email from Bill. Confided the former president: "You know, even if I weren't married to Hillary, I would still be enthusiastically supporting her." Hearin' that whistle blowin', eh Bill? Ol' Johnny would understand.

Capital Punishment Health Care Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential MSNBC Hardball Video Mark Penn Evan Bayh