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Hillary Clinton dissed party activists and MoveOn.org

April 18, 2008 |  5:11 pm

Apparently Hillary Clinton hasn't always been enamored with the rambunctious nature of the historic fight for the Democratic presidential nomination. Speaking to financial backers after Super Tuesday, she blamed the party's activists and MoveOn.org for her early primary and caucus defeats, according to an item over at The Huffington Post.

"MoveOn.org endorsed [Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," the item quotes Clinton as saying (there's audio on the site).

Her campaign, she continues, had been less successful in caucuses because those gatherings bring out "the activist base of the Democratic Party... [T]hey are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."

Eli Pariser, MoveOn's executive director, defended the base: "Senator Clinton's attack on our members is divisive at a time when Democrats will soon need to unify to beat Senator [John] McCain. MoveOn is 3.2 million reliable voters and volunteers who are an important part of any winning Democratic coalition in November. They deserve better than to be dismissed using Republican talking points."

So much for party unity in the dash for the White House.

It was exactly ago a week ago ...

that another Huffington Post item unearthed a candid comment -- Barack Obama's now-infamous sociological assessment of the mores of small-town America -- and the reaction to it roiled the Democratic presidential race.

Clinton's comment won't kick up as much a fuss as Obama's, but she did poke a stick at a group that can be counted on to respond in kind.

Indeed, Pariser took particular umbrage to Clinton, in the comments to her donors, saying, "MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with."

Pariser said: "Senator Clinton has her facts wrong again. MoveOn never opposed the war in Afghanistan, and we set the record straight years ago when Karl Rove made the same claim."

And you can be sure that many of its members will seethe over the Afghanistan matter.

The fact that Obama made his small-town comment in San Francisco helped give it particular reasonance. The new post concerning Clinton does not identify where she uttered her words; Huffington Post editors tell us that information was withheld to protect the source who provided the audio to free-lance journalist and author Celeste Fremon.

The event, we've been told, "was a small affair held between Super Tuesday and the Ohio/Texas primaries in a major American city."

There's irony in Clinton trashing MoveOn -- the group was formed, and its name conceived, in an effort to persuade the country that too much time and energy was being devoted to impeach and drive Bill Clinton from office because of the Monica Lewinsky affair.

-- Scott Martelle/Don Frederick

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