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Friday, February 20, 2004

Drudge's Clark Quote

Yes, revisiting this once again since Dan Kennedy has gone through all the available evidence and concluded Drudge may have smeared Wesley Clark too. He makes a plea to Tom Oliphant to explain himself because Oliphant apparently was present for the off-the-record session in question and criticized Clark for sliming Kerry in his Sunday Globe column.

Still, I'd say that it all comes down to Tom Oliphant. If he says he was there, and that he heard Clark smear Kerry, then that's good enough for me. For that matter, if he was relying on an eyewitness account by one or more of his colleagues, then that works, too. ... What about it, Tom? Inquiring minds want to know.

You can count me as one of those inquiring minds. Kennedy also links to the Daily Howler, which I didn't realize has a transcript of the Ceci Connolly remarks from Fox News Sunday that I've mentioned now a few times:

JUAN WILLIAMS: Now, let me just say that Democrats, including the man who endorsed [Kerry] this week, General Wesley Clark, was overheard saying, 'Oh, you know, Kerry's campaign is going to implode over an intern,' that kind of thing. That adds to it. And I think--

CONNOLLY: You know, what, though? That's not accurate. That's not accurate. That's the way that Drudge reported that supposed off-the-record conversation. But I've spoken to reporters who were there, and that's not even what General Clark accused. It was something far more peripheral, and it was pinned to a tabloid.

For the record, the Oliphant column only quotes Clark as saying the word "intern"--no use of the verb "implode." This may still be consistent with both Connolly's characterization of this as a discussion about a tabloid story and Ryan Lizza's claim that it was not Clark's finest moment. It also would've then been something Drudge could twist for his own purposes.