NYTimes Hypes Sen. McCaskill's Endorsement of Hillary Clinton

June 19th, 2013 7:06 PM

It turns out MSNBC isn't the only liberal news outlet giddy about Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's early endorsement of Hillary Clinton for a 2016 presidential bid.

This morning, the New York Times's Jonathan Weisman treated readers to a puffy 16-paragraph story headlined, "A Pro-Clinton PAC Receives the Support of a Key Obama Backer." Apparently when one thinks Democratic power brokers, the Show Me State's second-term senior senator is supposed to spring to mind.

Weisman's angle was that because McCaskill was "one of Barack Obama's first backers in the Senate in his bitter presidential primary fight against Hillary Rodham Clinton" that this is a huge development. The reporter dutifully quoted in the second paragraph of his story from McCaskill's statement for the website for "Ready for Hillary," a super PAC devoted to pushing the former secretary of state to formally jump into the 2016 ring.

"Even as she was lending her name to the group's fund-raising efforts, Ms. McCaskill played down the significance of her action," Weisman went on to note, before devoting 12 more paragraphs of coverage to the development. By contrast, the Wall Street Journal gave this story a mere six paragraphs on page A6 of Wednesday's paper while the Washington Post failed to cover it at all.

Weisman sought to highlight the significance of the super PAC even as he subtly hinted that it might be a paper tiger as it's unclear how much money it has in the bank:

Founded in January, the super PAC has attracted the support of Clinton family loyalists like James Carville, Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign manager, and Harold Ickes, a political strategist. Also in the fold are former Representative Ellen Tauscher, a California Democrat who served in the State Department under Mrs. Clinton, and Susie Tompkins Buell, a Democratic fund-raiser and a multimillionaire co-founder of Esprit clothing.

The group has organized enthusiastic rallies of support at virtually every public appearance of Mrs. Clinton. Around 50 supporters showed up to cheer on the former secretary of state on Monday night in Grand Rapids, Mich., a town with conservative leanings, where she was delivering a paid speech to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.

“There’s a groundswell around the country. That organization has really taken off,” said Jennifer M. Granholm, a former Democratic governor of Michigan.

It is not yet clear how much has been raised by the super PAC, which can accept and spend unlimited amounts of money, because it is not required to file its first financial disclosure with the Federal Election Commission until mid-July.

But Weisman didn't want to rain cold water on the Hillary parade, failing to find any skeptical Republicans -- and certainly no skeptical Democrats, even on background -- who would dismiss the super PAC as a silly ploy to convince Americans that there is a grassroots groundswell of support for a Clinton run.