Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hillary Cancels Attendance At Event:
Complains Palin Appearance Makes It "Partisan"

Update: Sarah disinvited, huge controversy, below.

The Associated Press has reported that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, abruptly canceled her planned attendance at a New York City rally outside of the United Nations Headquarters set for this coming Monday, September 22nd, when she found out that Governor Sarah Palin, R-AK, might also appear.

Palin is the first Republican woman candidate on a presidential ticket. Clinton lost her bid to become the first woman presidential candidate this year, and she was passed over for any consideration as the Vice Presidential nominee by this year's Democrat nominee, Senator Barack Obama, D-IL.

The planned protest rally is aimed at Iran's highly controversial leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The event sponsors had apparently also extended an invitation to the Republicans, and the name of the Alaska governor was tentatively submitted. Palin is the Republican nominee for Vice President this year. According to the AP report, written by Devlin Barrett, several American Jewish groups, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the National Coalition to Stop Iran Now, United Jewish Communities and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, had planned this
"major rally outside the United Nations on Sept. 22 to protest against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."
Ahmadinejad, who attended a UN Session last year at about this time, is set to attend another UN session in New York next week at the opening of the new General Assembly session. Other protests are also planned for next, including another human rights protest set for Wednesday entitled the "Ahmadinejad Wall of Shame" protesting the executions of children in Iran.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, who was the first non-cleric elected President of Iran in 24 years in a run-off election held back on June 24, 2005, has made a series of virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Israel comments in speeches over the years, including ones denying the historical fact of the Nazi Holocaust, and an expressed threat to "wipe Israel off the map."Just this past summer, on June 3rd, USA Today reported that Ahmadinejad said:
that Israel will soon be "erased" and that the "satanic power of the United States" will be "annihilated."
He reportedly made those latest hate-filled comments, according to the story, "at a ceremony marking the 19th anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini's death."

Khomeini was the "spiritual" leader of Iran during the violent 1979 over-running of the United States Embassy in Teheran by radical Islamic terrorist students -- of which Ahmadinejad was one -- during the former Presidency of Jimmy Carter, and the subsequent holding of 52 American embassy personnel as hostages for a total of 444 days. The hostages were released on January 20th, 1981, the day Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President. Reagan had defeated Carter in the 1980 presidential election. The Reagan election was won in a landslide, and was, in part, seen as a referendum on Carter's mishandling of that hostage crisis. In addition, the nation's economy had experienced years of considerable disruption under Carter.

Under Ahmadinejad's rule, Iran has been actively pursuing the development of nuclear weapons, as well as delivery systems, in violation of U.N mandates.

The planned New York rally sponsors said yesterday that both Clinton and Palin would likely be attending the rally. It was so reported by several news services, including Fox. The news that Palin would likely be attending apparently then prompted the abrupt cancellation by Clinton.

Clinton's official excuse for canceling, flatly stated that the mere attendance by Sarah Palin would somehow make it a partisan political event, and that the New York politician would therefore not attend. As reported in the AP story:
"Her attendance was news to us, and this was never billed to us as a partisan political event," said Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines. "Sen. Clinton will therefore not be attending."
There was no indication in the AP story why the Clinton camp believes the mere attendance of the Republican nominee at an event in New York would somehow turn it into a "partisan political event." Just last week on September 11th, for example, Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama both appeared together, and even walked together, during a 9/11 anniversary ceremony in New York at ground zero. It was billed as nonpartisan.

Moreover, the rally on Monday will also feature other public luminaries, including religious figures who are clearly not associated with partisan politics. According to a post by Colum Lynch on the Washington Post political blog, The Trail, the list of expected attendees also
includes prominent political and religious leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel . . .
And the fact is that Senator Clinton herself is an active political partisan, having unsuccessfully battled for the Democrat nomination for president earlier this year. She conceded her loss to Obama at the beginning of the summer, and is currently a political surrogate for the Democrat nominee. She has made political several political campaign appearances, including joint appearances, on behalf of his campaign for president.

A response from the Palin camp to the Clinton claim of political partisanship, was reported today on the New York Times political blog, The Caucus earlier this morning:
A spokeswoman for the McCain-Palin campaign swiftly replied that the rally should not be seen as a partisan event.

"Governor Palin believes that the danger of a nuclear Iran is greater than party or politics. She hopes that all parties can rally together in opposition to this grave threat," said the spokeswoman, Tracey Schmitt.
According to analysis in the earlier AP story, however, the appearance of both Clinton and Palin:
"would have set up a closely scrutinized and potentially explosive pairing in the midst of a presidential campaign, one in which the New York senator is campaigning for Democratic nominee Barack Obama while Palin actively courts disappointed Clinton supporters."
But as reported, there was no further indication at all of what was meant in the report meant by "potentially explosive pairing."

The AP-suggested headline for the story underscoring another possible explanation for the Clinton camp cancellation: "Clinton blindsided by scheduled event with Palin." Nothing in that story, however, indicated why Hillary Clinton would feel "blindsided" by merely appearing at the same event with the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

The New York Times post at The Caucus today did raise that question -- why the event organizers themselves had not previously informed Clinton that Palin had been invited.
It was not immediately clear this morning why or when Ms. Palin was invited to the rally, and why the organizers did not inform Mrs. Clinton that the Alaska governor would be among the line-up of speakers. Phone messages for organizers of the event were not immediately returned.
But why would they? And, why is that an issue? Surely the Times is not suggesting that the organizers had a special obligation to help protect Hillary Clinton's political sensibilities, are they?

Even if they had given her a "heads-up," would she not have canceled regardless? Otherwise, the only other possible explanation for her canceling would be her fit of pique at the organizers over their failure to warn Clinton in advance of the invitation to Palin.

So, perhaps what it really comes down to is that Hillary Clinton has suddenly became concerned with appearances -- such as that the presence of Palin would lead to speculation about who ultimately attracted the larger number of spectators, or drew the most media attention at the event.

Maybe Hillary Clinton was simply unwilling to risk being perceived as coming in second again, this time in her own backyard!

Update: Unbelievable! Sarah Palin has been inexplicably "disinvited" from speaking at the rally by the sponsors. As reported by Marcia Kramer at CBS TV in New York, the uncorroborated rumor was that the tax status of the sponsoring groups would have been "threatened" if she attended! Local New York Democrats are even quoted in her story jumping ship on this one!

The question being asked by critics is, was that from a real opinion, or from a real threat?

Allahpundit at HotAir is all over this one!

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