Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, like the President she wants so desperately to replace, is getting caught in too many lies.
Her campaign can’t even be honest about how many endorsements its gets from from black ministers.
To be fair, politicians have longed stretched the truth in campaign propaganda but Clinton leads a long list of Democratic contenders who claim they will restore honesty and integrity to a White House where President George W. Bush has destroyed credibility and flushed it down the toilet.
And Clinton has a special problem: Her husband’s eight years in office were hardly monuments to honesty or integrity. He lied to the American public about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, he lied about his involvement in various political scandals and he concealed White House actions with a zeal for secrecy that stood as the benchmark until the Bush Administration eclipsed it.
Hillary faces her own problems with credibility, dating back to those mysterious missing law firm files during the Whitewater investigation and more recent screwups like planting questions at her own press conferences.
Now comes a credibility gap on something as simple as her endorsement list.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s support from South Carolina’s black religious leaders may not be quite as extensive as her campaign suggests.
Clinton got a boost last week when she shared a South Carolina stage with dozens of supporters, accepting what organizers said were endorsements from nearly 90 ministers in the state. But an Associated Press review of an endorsement list supplied by the New York senator’s campaign found that some of the backers were affiliated with religious ministries and outreach groups rather than churches, some were wives of ministers, two were church elders and at least two were not members of the churches listed beside their names.
All told, about 50 different groups were represented, rather than more than 80 congregations as initially implied, the review found.
The AP is conducted similar reviews on endorsement claims by other candidates, including Clinton’s closest challenger, Sen. Barack Obama.
Clinton’s campaign claims the list was never intended to represent different congregations and her supporters say the discrepancies are no big deal, just as those who defend her husband’s actions in the White House say lying about a sexual dalliance is not as big a crime as lying to justify a war.
But such relative justifications may not play well with voters in a campaign where honesty and credibility are key issues.