Monday, March 24, 2008

Obama Backer Fischer Apologizes For 'Idiotic' Clinton Insult Blog

Former IDP Chair Also Explains Comments On Facebook

A spectacularly contrite Gordon Fischer told Iowa Independent tonight that his "idiotic" insult of former President Bill Clinton in an Easter blog post deserves every last drop of the buckets of venom bloggers and politicos are pouring on this former Iowa Democratic Party chairman and high-profile Barack Obama supporter.

"It was stupid, idiotic," Fischer said. "I deserve all the venom."

In the phone interview, Fischer explained that anger with what he believed to be President Clinton's challenge to Obama's patriotism motivated the post on his blog and a challenging if not hostile comment on Facebook. The swirl of media attention has so far centered on the post on Fisher's personal blog in which he references Monica Lewinsky's infamous blue dress.
But on Saturday, March 22, at 1:15, Fischer had this to say on Facebook:

Gordon is absolutely disgusted with B.Clinton questioning Obama's patriotism. Clinton supporters, you are now on notice. Do the right thing and at least be neutral.

He has removed the controversial post from his personal blog,, but the Facebook comment is alive and readable.

When asked if the "you are now on notice" line was a warning shot before the blog post or a threat of some other action, Fischer, a Des Moines employment lawyer who chaired the IDP from 2002 to 2004, said it was meant in a more general sense for both Obama and Clinton supporters whom he believes are engaging in damaging internacine warfare.

"The feeling I had was that some folks in both camps need to rein in the excesses," Fischer said. "I myself need to be reined in."

With regard to the post on Iowa True Blue, Fischer said he put it up on Easter and removed it today. "I'm not proud of that, either," he said of the Easter Sunday timing of his remarks.

Fischer said he decided on his own to take down the blog post and that it was not done at the behest of anyone in the Obama camp.

But he did say his fear is the comment may have backfired big time. He's received emails from people who say his remarks have pushed them into the Clinton camp.

"One of the concerns I have is that I actually hurt Obama's campaign," Fischer said.

Clinton campaign officials have sought to use the provocative Fischer remarks to help construct a narrative that portrays Obama as something of a hypocrite for calling for change, a new politics, and then having supporters or surrogates throw the traditional campaign grenades.

Fischer said the Obama campaign didn't pressure him, and that his apology, which could be read as cloying, is genuine, not forced political posturing.

The Obama campaign has sought to downplay Fischer's role with the Illinois senator, which nearly three months after the Iowa caucuses isn't that high-level now. But in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses the Obama campaign played up the Fischer endorsement, suggesting that it carried significant weight in what was then a three-candidate toss up between Obama, Hillary Clinton and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

Tonight, Fischer said he was never a co-chairman for Obama in Iowa, but rather a "volunteer" -- an now a very "humble" one.

Ironically, on Facebook, Fischer has posted a photo of Abraham Lincoln and Obama morphed. Lincoln famously urged an angry person to write a letter before bed, place it in a desk drawer, sleep on the matter and then decide in the morning if he still wants to send it.

"Abraham Lincoln was right about so many things and he was right about that," Fischer said.

Fischer said a lesson learned is the danger of posting angry comments in haste. The comments were up for about a day, though, and didn't represent, say, the slip of a tongue caught with a speech on in which a speaker senses a bomb seconds after it hits the air, and wishes to pull those clock ticks back.

That considered, Fischer said the remarks were sort of an Internet version of a verbal gaffe.

"It kind of slipped off the tongue if you look at the number of spelling errors," Fischer said.

Fischer said he made the apology over the Internet and did not call either of the Clintons or any of their representatives. But he said would be "honored" to make such a call if given the opportunity.

Here is Fischer's Easter Sunday blog post which is now down:

"B. Clinton questions Obama's patriotism. In repsonse (sic), an Obama aide compared B. Clinton to Joe McCarthy. This is patently unfair. To McCarthy.

"When Joe McCarthy questioned others' patriotism, McCarthy (1) actually believed, at least aparently (sic), the questions were genuine, and (2) he did so in order to build up, not tear down, his own party, the GOP. Bill Clinton cannot possibly seriously believe Obama is not a patriot, and cannot possibly be said to be helping -- instead he is hurting -- his own party. B. Clinton should never be forgiven. Period. This is a stain on his legacy, much worse, much deeper, than the one on Monica's blue dress."

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