Hillary Clinton

"She Bitch-Slapped Me"

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Reporter Phil Klein was on the scene when Hillary Clinton sneered at an anti-Iran War voter.

During the question and answer period, Randall Rolph, a retired Democratic voter from Nashua, Iowa, confronted Clinton on her recent vote in favor of a U.S. Senate resolution calling on the Bush administration to declare Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. The measure has been greeted with suspicion by war critics who view it as a document that President Bush could use as a pretext to launch an attack on Iran.

"Why should I support your candidacy if you haven't learned from the past?" Rolph asked, referring to her 2002 vote to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.

Clinton first thanked him and then countered that, "the premise of the question is wrong." So far, so good. But after offering a description of what was in the resolution, Clinton smugly and dismissively accused him of having been fed the information, saying "obviously somebody sent [it] to you."

Rolph didn't let it pass. "I take exception, this is my own research…"

"Well, then let me finish telling you…" Clinton screamed.

"Nobody sent that, and I am offended that you would suggest it," Rolph snapped at her.

Realizing she had committed a blunder, she backed off. "Then I apologize," she said. "I apologize, it's just that I've been asked the very same question at three other places."

Shades of Dale Ungerer! Ungerer, as you don't remember, was the Iowa retiree who demanded Howard Dean stop being mean to Bush at a forum right before the 2004 Iowa Caucuses. The exchange was only memorable for Ungerer's use of the phrase "mean-mouthing" and Dean's telling him to "sit down" when he interrupted Dean's answer. Too mean to be president! And so, not coincidentally, he lost.

Hillary's tiff (which Rolph called a "bitch-slapping" when Klein approached him about it) isn't getting anything like the same attention. It's more revealing, though. Clinton, like plenty of establishment beltway Democrats, rolls her eyes at the anti-war left. With good reason, from her perspective: They're always creating litmus tests for people like her and her husband, but she keeps beating them anyway. This Iran thing's a good example: She knows the amendment was written to lay some groundwork for a possible action against Iran. But she imagines she'll be president in 15 months and she wants to have that groundwork lain. Democrats who don't like that? They can suck it up. They don't know the world like she knows it. (This is more reason I don't understand the lazy suggestions that Jim Webb should be Hillary's running mate. Andrew Jackson and John Calhoun had more in common.)

By the way, since the "elitist liberal scum insults Iowa voter" is a classic campaign story, why is Drudge still leading with Obama's "Kingdom of Heaven" speech? A Clinton II nomination (and presidency) is good for Drudge; an Obama nomination, less so.

Sort of related, here's Justin Webb on the Democrats piling on to the Clinton bandwagon for fear of their careers.