Edwards Jumps the Shark (updated)

It's getting ugly. First we had Obama talking about Clinton as "Bush-Cheney lite." Today we have a new twist and it isn't into presidential territory.

Who said this?

"Wake up America. The White House is not for sale; the Lincoln bedroom is not for sale.''

Republican Bob Dole said it in 1996.

How about this:

"I believe they have had moved that sign the buck stops here from the Oval Office desk to the buck stops here on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country."

George W. Bush spewed this crap in 2000. As most everyone knows, the Lincoln Bedroom smear became a Republican standard against the Clintons.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, George W. Bush sanctimoniously accused Clinton of "virtually renting out the Lincoln bedroom to big campaign donors." He condemned the use of the "hallowed" chamber for political payoffs.

Selling Lincoln bedroom disrespectful, by Helen Thomas

In 1997, Ann Lewis had to go on "The News Hour" to address the attack that became a continual talking point from wingnuts: For two straight days President Clinton denied there was any improper use of the Lincoln Bedroom and other White House functions in raising campaign funds for his 1996 re-election campaign. Jim Lehrer leads a discussion with Ann Lewis, assistant to the President, and White House Deputy Director of Communications, and three regional commentators who disagree with the President's view.

Fast forward. Now how about this beauty. Who said it?


"The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale, the Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent, and lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the House or the Senate."

Rudy Giuliani, right?

Nah, Mitt Romney, that's got to be it!

Wrong.

It's John Edwards in a speech he gave today in New Hampshire.

This is how an email from NBC First Read characterized the speech:

The Re-Launch: So is Edwards trying to re-launch his campaign? It depends on how one interprets a speech he's giving today in New Hampshire, where he attempts to re-frame the race in a way that makes him the real change agent in the Democratic race. "The choice for our party could not be more clear," Edwards will say, according to advance excerpts. "We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other." He also will say, "The choice we must make is as important as it is clear. It is a choice between looking back and looking forward. A choice between the way we've always done it and the way we could do it if we dared. It is caution versus courage. Old versus new. Calculation versus principle. It is the establishment elites versus the American people." This, it seems, will be the argument that Edwards plans to use against Clinton for the rest of the campaign. At a minimum, consider this the new stump speech.

They just left out the Clinton money quote Edwards used today, which is straight out of the right-wing playbook. There are plenty of ways to come at Clinton on the issues, especially Iraq. But if this is the Edwards re-launch, I hope it makes a turn into better territory. Because between Obama's "Bush-Cheney lite" and Edwards talking about "The Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent," I've got to say that these guys sound positively desperate.

UPDATE: Edwards aides respond, via an email exchange I had with the campaign.

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