Courtesy of TPM:
Hillary Clinton appeared flustered Thursday when an attendee at a campaign event in New York state asked her if she would reject campaign donations from fossil fuel companies, responding by accusing rival Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) campaign of spreading "lies."
"I do not have—I have money from people that work for fossil fuel companies," Clinton said, waving her finger at the woman who asked the question. "I am so sick, I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me. I'm sick of it."
Greenpeace posted video of that exchange online.
Earlier this same day Sanders said this at a Wisconsin rally:
"We don't represent Wall Street. We don't represent the drug companies or the fossil fuel industry. We don't want their money," Sanders said at the rally.
Before I chime in I wanted to share this comment over at TPM that I thought did a pretty good job of explaining why Hillary was a little testy over this question:
She's making a distinction between taking money from people who work in particular industries and taking money from the industries (which might still be illegal, I haven't checked this week) or their PACs or trade associations. And on one hand, that's a fair gripe and on the other it isn't.
The reporting sites do tend to just aggregate all the money by the contributor's employer and report as money from that industry. And in some cases, at some companies, with regard to certain employees, that's true--a hat gets passed among executives at some totally not mandatory cocktail party fundraiser the CEO just happens to be holding to which his senior executives just happen to be invited, and it's understood that the check will be written or the Company will be very unhappy.
But it's also unfair to assume that everyone who writes a candidate a check is doing it on behalf of, or because of, who he or she works for. Plenty of people write campaign checks because they support positions contrary to the wishes or interests of their employers. If some oil employee believes greenhouse gases are destroying the planet and cuts a check to Hillary or Bernie, it's crazy to think they should send that money back because of who the check writer works for. And I'm not seeing any sign that Bernie does that, btw.
Yes, that's an excellent point, with a better explanation than I could have provided. (NPR says that donations from employees of fossil fuel companies only account for two-tenths of one percent of Clinton's overall donations. Hardly enough to signify that they have some special access to the candidate.)
However putting all of that aside the real problem for me is that it feeds into a certain meme put forward by the anti-Hillary folks, and that is that she is not good with people and overly secretive and defensive.
Much as President Obama could not provide ammunition for his opponents to frame him as the "angry black man" Hillary cannot provided ammunition to characterize her as "a bitch."
As Q would say, "Never let them see you bleed."