AP Corrects Rudy-Osama Quote

Following a report on this blog, the AP has issued a correction to its story that incorrectly stated that Giuliani said Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to invite Osama bin Laden to the White House:

LONDONDERRY, N.H. (AP) – In an Oct. 29 story about Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani criticizing Democrats on Middle Eastern policy, The Associated Press erroneously reported Giuliani’s mention of Syrian President Bashar Assad as a reference to Osama bin Laden.

Giuliani said: “This is the world we live in. It’s not this happy, romantic-like world where we’ll negotiate with this one, or we’ll negotiate with that one and there will be no preconditions, and we’ll invite (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad to the White House, we’ll invite (Syrian President Bashar) Assad to the White House.”

Andrew Sullivan has also issued a correction. None yet, as far as I can tell, from TPM or Keith Olbermann.

UPDATE: Olbermann corrects. See more here and here.

AP Mangles Rudy Quote

An AP story on Monday quoted Rudy Giuliani as saying:

“This is the world we live in. It’s not this happy, romantic-like world where we’ll negotiate with this one, or we’ll negotiate with that one and there will be no preconditions, and we’ll invite (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad to the White House, we’ll invite Osama (bin Laden) to the White House,” Giuliani said.

“Hillary and Obama are kind of debating whether to invite them to the inauguration or the inaugural ball,” he added.

The quote caused a stir among anti-Rudy bloggers, with TPM running with it and Andrew Sullivan writing, “This is literally insane. If he is starting with this kind of unhinged claim, where will he end up?” Keith Olbermann fumed, “A year before the election and Rudy Giuliani is already publicly contending the Democrats are willing to invite Osama bin Laden to the White House to negotiate. Sure they are, buster.”

The only problem is, the quote wasn’t accurate.

While watching this video of the Olbermann segment portraying Giuliani as “Bush on steroids,” I noticed that Giuliani (around the 1 minute mark) did not say Osama, but Assad. As in, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, one of the many leaders of hostile regimes that leading Democrats have said they would negotiate with without preconditions. This is consistent with a point Giuliani made at the Republican Jewish Coalition earlier this month:

This is the great fallacy in this now very strong Democratic desire to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate and negotiate. You’ve got to know with whom to negotiate and with whom you should not negotiate. When Barack Obama, a couple of months ago, said that he would invite Ahmadinejad, Assad, Castro and Chavez – did I miss somebody – to Washington in the first year that he’s in office to meet with them, without preconditions, when he was condemned by Hillary Clinton, who now has joined his position…

Video here.

Now, it’s perfectly accurate for Giuliani to hit Obama for wanting to invite Ahmadinejad and Assad to Washington, as Obama said he was willing to do here. Clinton later joined him, at least on Iran, here. If you want to argue that Giuliani went overboard by joking that the Democrats “are kind of debating whether to invite them to the inauguration or the inaugural ball,” that’s one thing. But clearly what sensationalized this entire story is the idea that Giuliani was saying that Democrats want to invite Osama bin Laden to the White House. That’s a claim that Giuliani clearly did not make, and the AP, as well as bloggers who picked up the story, and Olbermann, should correct the error.

UPDATE: Sullivan and the AP have issued corrections.

UPDATE II: Olbermann corrects. See more here and here.

Clinton on Drivers’ Licenses for Illegals

On a second viewing, this exchange is absolutely devastating:

In case you had better things to do with your time last night, here’s a quick recap. Tim Russert asked Clinton why she told a New Hampshire newspaper that Gov. Spitzer’s plan to give drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants made sense. After Clinton defended the plan, Chris Dodd said he opposed it.

Clinton then interjected, “I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Gov. Spitzer is trying to do it,”

Dodd was dumbfounded. “Wait a minute, you said, yes, you thought it made sense to do it,” he responded.

“No, I didn’t Chris,” she said in denial.

After an exchange, Russert asked Clinton once again whether she supported the Spitzer plan. “You know, Tim, this is where everybody plays gotcha,” an exaspered Clinton snapped. “It makes a lot of sense. What is the governor supposed to do?”

So to sum up: Clinton said the plan made sense and defended it; then said she didn’t support the plan, but understands Spitzer’s rationale; then she denied ever saying the plan made sense; then she accused Russert of playing “gotcha” and once again said the plan made sense. All in a span of three minutes. Wow.

Huck’s Bucks

After several quarters of lacklsuter fundraising, Mike Huckabee is off to a much better start this quarter. His campaign set a goal of raising more money online in October than the $1.03 million he raised all of last quarter, and with 15 hours remaining, he seems likely to meet that goal. While this is no doubt good news for his campaign, especially as he gains hold of second place in some Iowa polls, it does not demonstrate a groundswell of grassroots support. By comparison, Ron Paul has already raised more than double than Huckabee online this month (as of this writing, Paul was at over $2.5 million).

If only Huckabee had Paul’s money, or Paul had Huckabee’s poll numbers, one of them might be a top-tier candidate.

Rocky Who?

Last night I mentioned Obama’s joke in which he compared himself to Rocky, with Clinton as Apollo Creed. I thought it was a lame attempt to appeal to the Philadephia audience where the debate was being held. However, the gang over at Tapped seemed to be a bit more perplexed, scratching their heads over the “complicated” “convoluted” “sports story” told by Obama. As somebody who has been known to use Rocky metaphors, I found this shocking. I wonder if it’s a male/female thing, a regional thing, or a generational thing, but–and I mean this with no offense intended–it’s just pretty startling to me that there are people out there that don’t have at least passing knowledge of the life and times of the Italian Stallion.

Hillary Loses

After a series of near flawless performances, Clinton showed her vulnerabilities tonight. Not only did she come across as angry, shrill, secretive (on the National Archives question), and incumbent-like in a change election cycle, but was completely afraid to stake out a clear position on anything. First on the AMT, then on drivers’ lisences for illegal immigrants. She said Gov. Spitzer’s plan “makes sense,” but wouldn’t officially endorse it–even though she is a Senator from the state. The problem for her rivals, however, is that while Hillary may have lost, none of them stood out as a clear winner. And as John pointed out, Edwards and Obama split the anti-Hillary vote.

Clinton on AMT

Says we need to change the AMT so it doesn’t affect low-income Americans, but she neglects to mention that the AMT was hiked under her husband’s administration. She then completely dodges the question of whether she supports Charlie Rangel’s specific tax plan, and rails on Bush’s tax cuts for the rich. She says “Bill and I” have benefited because they’re finally rich. Too bad Bill used the same line in his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention.