Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Did A Top Clinton Aide Derail Chances for Caroline Kennedy to Replace Hillary in the Senate?

Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller seems to think so:

In the weeks after an Aug. 15, 2009 New York Times report revealed that President Obama’s then-chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had put the kibosh on a job for Sidney Blumenthal at Hillary Clinton’s State Department, two articles appeared on the website The Daily Beast slamming Emanuel’s “historic stupidity” and accusing him of “reviving the GOP.”

The articles’ authorship bears no indication that a personal vendetta may have driven the negative coverage of Obama’s top aide. Written by center-right talk radio host John Batchelor, the critique reads as one Republican’s strong rebuke of Emanuel, whose take-no-prisoners approach to politics had won him few friends on the other side of the aisle.

But behind Batchelor’s work at the Beast was someone who did have an axe to grind with Rahmbo. For Sid ‘Vicious’ Blumenthal edited Batchelor’s work in 2009 and 2010, the radio talker confirmed to The Daily Caller.

The Daily Beast was one of Blumenthal’s many side projects during Clinton’s State Department tenure. Buzzfeed reported last June that Blumenthal served as a recruiter in the early days of the website, which was founded by Tina Brown, his former boss at The New Yorker. And though Blumenthal worked under-the-radar — his name never appeared on the Daily Beast’s masthead — he also helped shape political content for the site, editing and commissioning articles.

Many of the articles Blumenthal commissioned happened to serve his own political and personal purposes. As Buzzfeed reported, Blumenthal edited two articles written by Harry Siegel, now a columnist at The New York Daily News, that were critical of Caroline Kennedy, who in late 2008 was being considered to replace Clinton as Senator from New York. Siegel referred to Kennedy as a “puppet” and called her potential run for the U.S. Senate an “insult.”

Batchelor, too, wrote a piece slamming Kennedy. In “Is Caroline Entitled To The Senate?” Batchelor argued that Kennedy’s “celebrity and history are not entitlements to high office.” The hit pieces were favorable to Clinton — and Blumenthal, by extension — because, the thinking went, another Senator Kennedy would pose a long-term threat to Clinton’s presidential hopes.

Had Blumenthal’s byline graced the attacks, they would have been much easier to dismiss as pure partisan hackery. But if penned by someone with no direct connection to Clinton, they carried the appearance of disinterested, objective political analysis.

At the same time he was directing favorable Clinton coverage, Blumenthal, who served as an aide in the Bill Clinton White House, also worked for the Clinton Foundation, where he was paid a reported $10,000 salary each month. He earned a similar amount advising American Bridge and Media Matters, two groups operated by Clinton ally David Brock.

The mysterious Blumenthal also frequently sent political gossip, memos, and intelligence reports to Hillary Clinton on her personal email account...

Read the rest here.

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