Top Democrats tested cocaine attacks on Obama
A big-money group run partly by Clinton allies in 2008 also tested attacks against Clinton and McCain.
A big-money group that included some of Hillary Clinton’s top allies tested the effectiveness of attacking her 2008 rival Barack Obama for his admitted use of cocaine and his connections to Islam, hacked documents released Friday show.
In the early stages of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, a group known as Progressive Media commissioned a poll that asked more than 800 likely swing state voters about a number of possible lines of attack against Obama, but also against Clinton and the eventual Republican nominee, John McCain.
The poll results and emails discussing the questions were among a batch of documents hacked from Clinton confidant John Podesta’s personal email and released Friday by WikiLeaks. Clinton’s campaign will not confirm the authenticity of individual emails, but Podesta has acknowledged that his emails were hacked and says he is cooperating with an FBI investigation.
After the documents were released, Tom Matzzie, the veteran Democratic operative who served as president and executive director of now-defunct Progressive Media and was included on the January 2008 email chain, told POLITICO that neither the group nor the poll were geared toward boosting Clinton over Obama in the primary.
“We were an effort that was about electing the most progressive candidate and opposing whoever the Republican candidate was going to be,” he said. “We tested the vulnerabilities of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a hypothetical matchup against John McCain,” said Matzzie, who pointed out that he and a few other folks who worked on the effort supported Obama.