Former President Clinton told Arab students Wednesday the United States made a "big mistake" when it invaded Iraq, stoking the partisan debate back home over the war.
Clinton cited the lack of planning for what would happen after Saddam Hussein was overthrown.
"Saddam is gone. It's a good thing, but I don't agree with what was done," Clinton told students at a forum at the American University of Dubai.
Never underestimate the political savvy of the former president. With this admission, he has effectively cut the legs out from under W's retort. It's now going to be much tougher for W to continue this extension of the tried and true "blame Clinton" meme.
At the same time comes vindication for his arch-nemesis Howard Dean:
Following electoral triumphs this fall, House Democratic leaders are meeting with Democratic lobbyists today in a bid to translate the party’s widespread enthusiasm into cash to fill campaign coffers.
Yet the meeting, one of a number of its kind, comes as some lobbyists are grumbling that they have not been enjoying the same access to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) as they have in the past.
I say vindication for Dean because it was largely his idea to crack down on the influence of K Street (a term for the collection of lobbyists in Washington), and shift the financial base of the Democratic party to voters. In fact, it was one of the planks of his platform in his bid for party chairman. Not only has he managed to cut off the lobbyists and big money corporate contributors, but he's managed to replace them while increasing revenues (c/o MyDD):
As a fund-raiser--the first duty of a party chairman and Dean's claim to fame in '04--he isn't quite the disaster some critics suggest. Early in the last "cycle," in 2001, the Republican National Committee outraised the DNC by a 3-1 margin. So far this year, that ratio has been cut to 2-1. More important is the way it was raised. In the past the party relied on "soft money" from millionaires. But such donations are now illegal. Officials estimate that $12 million of the $14 million the Dean regime has collected so far this year has come from those who gave less than $250. "For people who really look hard at the numbers, he's wowing people," says Elaine Kamarck, a respected DNC member.
Dean is thus managing to purge the party of its unseemly association with lobbyists and such at the same time that the Republican party is growing closer to such ilk and thus becoming more reliant upon them. The reputation of lobbyists and big money contributors amongst the electorate has been deteriorating for some time, but they used to patronize both parties relatively equally, which made the Republican idea of getting more intimate with K Street a good idea. Dean has suddenly turned the tables, setting up the Democratic party to be perceived as the people's party and the Republicans as the party of monied interests.
Combined with the current PR skunk that is Halliburton, this is going to look increasingly bad for the GOP.