Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton likes to paint herself as a straight shooter who means what she says.
Except when she doesn't.
In an interview Clinton gave to a National Public Radio host on March 13, the Democratic presidential hopeful tried to explain why the votes cast in Michigan's illegal Democratic Primary should count, even though Sen. Barack Obama complied with the party's request and took his name off the ballot.
"That was his choice, remember," Clinton said without a hint of shame. "There was no rule or requirement to take his name off the ballot ... if there is to be any difference between my proposal that we count those votes and any other course of action, it should be a complete re-do of the primary. Nothing else is fair, and I feel very strongly about that."
What a difference two months — and a string of primary losses — can make.
While speaking to an NPR station in New Hampshire in January, Clinton was singing a sharply different tune, hoping to assuage people's fear about why she didn't remove her name from the Michigan ballot.
"I personally did not think it made any difference whether or not my name was on the ballot," Clinton said then. "Y'know, it's clear this election they're having is not going to count for anything."
Clinton's increasingly erratic antics as the Democratic presidential nomination process comes to an end threaten to harm her reputation and destroy what's left of her husband's legacy.
Although the media dust-up over Hillary's poorly chosen comments last month about Robert F. Kennedy were overblown, the underlying point she was trying to make about staying in the primary contests doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
Sen. Clinton reminded people that Kennedy was assassinated in June 1968 while the nomination process was ongoing. She also claimed her husband, Bill Clinton, didn't wrap up his nomination until June 1992. Having the process continue until that month, she insisted, is nothing unusual.
As I'm sure Sen. Clinton knows, the Democratic nomination process was much different 40 years ago. The primaries didn't even begin until March 12, and only 13 states held primaries at that time.
Also, Sen. Clinton's reference to her husband's first presidential campaign is simply disingenuous. As Bill Clinton wrote in his autobiographical book, My Life, "On April 9, Paul Tsongas announced that he would not reenter the race. The fight for the nomination was effectively over."
Let's be clear: Hillary accepted and signed the party rules that warned Michigan and Florida they'd be penalized if the states switched their primary dates without permission. They did and they were.
Such distortions reinforce the long-held notion in some quarters that the Clintons will say anything and do anything to win elections. The danger for the political power couple, however, is that belief is beginning to spread among many Democrats including former supporters.
The Clintons' ever-changing rationale for Hillary's campaign now focuses on appealing to the Democratic National Committee this summer and asking that the Michigan and Florida delegates be seated in full.
Even if Clinton faces reality and drops out of the race this week, her frequent shading of the truth means she has much work to do to restore her credibility and stature in the party.
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