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The Tonya Harding Option

Posted by Richard on March 26, 2008

Yesterday, Jake Tapper of ABC News reported on his blog a conversation with an anonymous Democratic Party official in which said official used an interesting metaphor:

The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it's not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said.

The question is — what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it?

What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory?

She will have to "break his back," the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable.

"Her securing the nomination is certainly possible – but it will require exercising the 'Tonya Harding option.'" the official said. "Is that really what we Democrats want?"

The Tonya Harding Option — the first time I've heard it put that way

Since then, everyone from Doug Mataconis to Andrew Sullivan to ABC's Good Morning America has talked about Hillary's Tonya Harding Option. But if this was really the first time Jake Tapper "heard it put that way," he hasn't been reading the other ABC News blogs. Tom at Corrente pointed out that this metaphor didn't originate with an anonymous DNC official, but with Sen. Obama himself, and he linked to this December 28 post on the ABC News blog, Political Radar:

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told a crowd in Vinton, Iowa Thursday that he's not going to pull a Tonya Harding on his rival candidates.

"Folks said there's no way Obama has a chance unless he goes and kneecaps the person ahead of us, does a Tonya Harding," Obama joked, referring to the female skating champion who conspired to harm a competitor during the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

"We decided that's not the kind of campaign we wanted to run," he said.

I suspect that Tom is correct, and Tapper's anonymous source is someone from the Obama campaign, not just a "Democratic Party official":

So, yes, this is the Obama people whining about the unfairness of it all. They really need to try a new frequency these days.

Be that as it may, would it surprise anyone if Clinton, Inc. really did kneecap Obama (either literally or figuratively)? If I were him, I sure wouldn't agree to meet someone in Fort Marcy Park.

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