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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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April 14, 2008 1:42 PM

Clinton's new-found optimism

Posted by David Postman

I couldn’t sleep Friday night and got up to watch a little television. The set was tuned to CNN and even not yet fully awake I could tell the news network was in full froth; I just didn’t know what for. The talking heads were quite excited about something Barack Obama had said. It was a gaffe, a misstep, a statement that likely would need an apology and was already under attack by his opponents. But I couldn’t figure out what Obama had said.

That’s because as so often in the news business these days, the news is considered old from the moment it happens. To be “timely,” news organizations - including my own - feel they have to “move” a story forward. So instant analysis, reaction and “what happens next” often take the place of even a semi-sober re-telling of what actually happened.

CNN was in full Brady Bunch mode - correspondents and pundits filling little boxes on the screen - when the network finally got around to telling us latecomers what Obama had said. And in case you missed it, this is what he said, according to the Huffington Post.

"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

What knocked me out of somnolence, though, was hearing the statement Hillary Clinton issued in response:

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