Do you worry that people look at that and say "Well, this guy doesn't have the thirst, the kind of bloodlust for brass-knuckle politics that you need to have?"It is one thing to fight back hard, but it is a far different thing to play dirty from the outset. I think this is what is making Obama popular with people, particularly those who detest the brass-knuckles, win-at-all-costs, no matter what it takes attitude of the Clinton camp. I think people running for president should want to win and will play hard to get there. But playing hard to win does not mean you have to play dirty to win.
This argument never makes sense to me. If I lose, then I think it's fine for people to speculate that I don't have the bloodlust. I think I'm going to win doing exactly what I'm doing. This notion that somehow the only way to succeed in politics is to try to kneecap people, distort their records, engage in underhanded maneuvers--I just don't buy it. Now, you know what, if it turns out in this campaign that I have lost, and the reason I've lost is because I wasn't willing to do things that I think are wrong, I can live with that. I don't think that's going to happen. The one thing I won't tolerate is people trying to play that stuff on me. The one thing I hope people have become very clear about, and if not I will remind them, is I won't be a punching bag for anybody. I won't have people try to engage in unfair attacks against me. And if they come at me hard, I will come back at them harder. Alright?
When people worry about politics getting so bitter, I think that is what they worry about--the dirty playing has gotten so out of hand and so extreme that it turns people off on politics.
Hat Tip: Ann Althouse