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Howard Wolfson: My Gut Tells Me Hillary Would Have Won

Reported by Ellen - August 13, 2008 -

Howard Wolfson once again proved that the netroots’ qualms about his joining FOX News were not unjustified. In his appearance on last night’s (8/12/08) Hannity & Colmes, Hillary Clinton’s former communications director repeatedly said that he wanted all Democrats to enthusiastically endorse Barack Obama. Yet his own advocacy remained luke warm. On Monday, Wolfson told ABC News that Clinton lost the nomination because of John Edwards’ cover up. Last night, Wolfson backed off the claim a bit by saying, “I don’t necessarily think it’s relevant today,” but then added that he still thinks she would have won. With video.

As a banner on the screen asked, “Are Clinton and Obama showing a true unified front?” Wolfson said, “The goal is to make sure that everyone who voted for Senator Clinton ends up enthusiastically voting for Senator Obama in November. And the question is, how do we do that?”

Something tells me that announcing to ABC News that Clinton would have won were it not for Edwards’ lying about his affair – and in, effect, declaring that Obama’s nomination is illegitimate – is not a good way to turn the doubters into enthusiastic supporters.

Alan Colmes challenged Wolfson's contention by noting that polls show that Obama was the second choice for Edwards voters and vice versa. DailyKos has a good breakdown of the numbers.

Wolfson answered, “Actually, our internal data suggested that we were gonna be the second choice of a lot of the Edwards voters. My gut tells me that the outcome would have been different had that information become available to people prior to the Iowa caucus. We’ll never know. I don’t necessarily think it’s relevant today but that’s what my gut tells me.”

If it’s not relevant today, then why did he bring it up in the first place?

During Hannity’s turn, he said that by pushing the Rev. Wright and William Ayers stories, he had vetted Barack Obama more than Clinton had. “Do you regret, you know, not vetting Senator Obama the way he should have been?”

Wolfson neither defended Obama nor dismissed those issues as irrelevant distractions. Instead, Wolfson said, “No, the media is tasked with the responsibility of vetting candidates. Our job was to project Senator Clinton’s vision for the country. And there were times when I think we could have done a better job of that.” Again, a tepid endorsement at best.

Hannity asked about reports that Clinton’s name may be placed in nomination at the Democratic convention. As Newsday reported, experts say such a move “at best would be a distraction and at worst a disaster.”

But Wolfson (thinly) veiled the effort under the cloak of supporting Obama. “Well, we started with the conversation of what we’d do about making sure that all of our supporters are enthusiastically supporting Senator Obama at the conclusion of this process,” Wolfson said. “One way of doing that is to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to give voice to the historic candidacy of Senator Clinton at the convention.”

Hannity, interrupting, asked, “Is that a yes?”

“It’s a maybe,” Wolfson answered.