DRESSING OBAMA….I feel like Rip Van Winkle. Somehow I only just now noticed that the Freak Show news cycle has been dominated for the entire morning by a Drudge story claiming that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been circulating a picture of Barack Obama dressed in the traditional garb of a Somali elder. It was taken in 2006 during a visit to Kenya.

Drudge’s piece is ambiguous — who distributed the picture? who did it go to? — but the Clinton campaign, given a chance to deny the charge, rather loudly declined to do so. So apparently they not only sent the picture around, but then issued a statement slamming Obama for complaining about it. Points for chutzpah, I guess, but not much else.

Peter Wehner probably has the right take:

[This] is pretty nasty stuff, with its “he’s a Muslim and it should bother you” undertone….Twenty-four hours from now I suspect we’ll see virtually the entire Democratic establishment, and many others, condemning this tactic. It’ll advance the storyline that the Clinton campaign is spinning out of control — lurching from melancholy valedictory comments one day to faux outrage the next — and in its dying days.

During tomorrow evening’s debate, Hillary Clinton will be on the defensive and very much regret this stupid and ugly effort.

Other than that, it was a swell idea.

I still want to know a few more details: namely who sent out the photo (low level staffer? senior press person?) and who received it (a couple of close friends? a large private email list?). But either way, this was spectacularly ill conceived.

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