Robert Novak reveals in his latest column:
Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party’s presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed.
This word-of-mouth among Democrats makes Obama look vulnerable and Clinton look prudent. It comes during a dip for the front-running Clinton after she refused to take a stand on New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s now discarded plan to give driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.
Could it be more damaging information that has yet to be revealed regarding Obama’s relationship with Antoin “Tony” Rezko? Perhaps it’s something else. Perhaps it’s just a bluff. Who knows? If such dirt does exist, and Hillary’s campaign is not doing anything with it right now, there’s no reason to believe such information won’t be leaked. In fact, if this report is true, I think it’s a no-brainer that it will be leaked shortly before the Iowa caucuses.
If Hillary is confident about her chances in Iowa, then it would be ideal not to use the information. However, Hillary clearly feels entitled to her party’s nomination, and indeed the presidency, so desperate situations require desperate measures.
If she’s got the dirt, it’ll come out shortly before the caucuses. If the polls show the race close in Iowa, you can bet she’ll use it if she’s got it. If she doesn’t use it, it never existed and was just a bluff.
UPDATE, by Mark Noonan: CNN making the Las Vegas debate into a pro-Clinton love-fest is garnering a lot of criticism, even on the left.