It seems a metaphysical certitude that when Charlie Rose asked the perilously liberal publisher Arianna Huffington about Barack Obama's new campaign ad featuring former President Bill Clinton praising the current White House resident's decision to take out Osama bin Laden the CBS This Morning co-host didn't expect this answer.
"To turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CHARLIE ROSE, CO-HOST: There’s much now about this commercial that President Clinton has done for the Obama campaign and the Romney reaction saying that they should not be using this the way they are. What’s your take?
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON: I agree completely.
GAYLE KING, CO-HOST: You agree with?
HUFFINGTON: I agree with the Romney campaign…
HUFFINGTON: …that using the Osama bin Laden assassination, killing, the great news that we had a year ago in order to say basically that Obama did it and Romney might not have done it, which is a…
ROSE: That’s the crucial difference to me.
HUFFINGTON: ..which is the message speculating…
KING: You think the President is capitalizing on that?
HUFFINGTON: I don't think there should be an ad about that. I think it's one thing to celebrate the fact that they did such a great job. It’s one thing to have an NBC special from the Situation Room which we’re going to have this week.
ROSE: Right. They’re doing a whole thing which interviews everybody on the anniversary.
HUFFINGTON: All that is perfectly legitimate. In the Situation Room which is unprecedented. All that is perfectly legitimate. But to turn it into a campaign ad is one of the most despicable things you can do. It's the same thing that Hillary Clinton did with the 3 a.m. call. You know, “You're not ready to be commander-in-chief.”
And it's also what makes politicians and political leaders act irrationally when it comes to matters of war because they're so afraid to be called wimps, that they make decisions, which are incredibly destructive for the country. I'm sure the president would not have escalated in Afghanistan if he was not as concerned, as Democrats are, that Republicans are going to use not escalating against him in a campaign.
KING: But in a campaign, aren't you supposed to tout your accomplishments of what you've done?
HUFFINGTON: But this is not just what this ad did, does. What the ad does is questions, if we are talking about the same ad.
ROSE: We are. There’s only one ad out there on that one. President Clinton talks about the moment of decision he, quoting, even quoting former President Bush about the…
HUFFINGTON: And it quotes a snippet from Romney, you know, several, and uses that to imply that Romney would not have been as decisive. There is no way to know whether Romney would have been as decisive. And to actually speculate that he wouldn't be is, to me, not the way to run campaigns, on either side.
Hot Air's Ed Morrissey agreed with Huffington writing Monday, "Obama would be on firm ground to highlight that victory in the war on terror, as he does in his tedious 'Forward' campaign video. Implying that Romney would have let Osama bin Laden go under those circumstances is, as Huffington says, despicable."
So that makes at least two conservatives on the record as agreeing with Huffington. We've clearly entered some warped parallel universe. I hope I know how to get back.
Yet as I wrote Saturday, what I find even more deplorable is using Clinton in this ad despite the numerous times he passed on capturing or killing bin Laden when he was President.
Who is he to talk about the Commander-in-Chief having one chance to make the right decision?
He apparently had ten concerning bin Laden and made the wrong decision each time.
Exactly when is someone in the mainstream media going to point that out?
Readers are advised not to hold their breath.
As a post facto aside, I considered the possibility that Huffington was striking back at Obama for what he said about her at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Dinner:
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I'd be remiss if I didn't congratulate the Huffington Post on their Pulitzer Prize. (Applause.) You deserve it, Arianna. There's no one else out there linking to the kinds of hard-hitting journalism that HuffPo is linking to every single day. (Laughter and applause.) Give them a round of applause. And you don't pay them - it's a great business model.
Huffington was asked about this at the beginning of her interview on CBS Monday morning, and she hardly seemed offended by it.
"It was really great fun to have the President of the United States congratulate you on a Pulitzer with any amount of joking," Huffington said. "I thought he was fantastic."
Doesn't sound like sour grapes at all.
But who knows?
If this incident is going to lead to Huffington being far more honest about this president and his policies, bring it on!