One of the things that makes the Clintons such tiresome public figures is the low opinion in which they hold the American people. They know they’re incredibly smart and they think we’re incredibly stupid. The credulity of the press has frequently confirmed the Clintons’ perceptions of the American people.
To some extent, however, the spell is wearing off this year, as the Clintons’ calculations have become so transparent. Today’s Los Angeles Times reports, for example, with a mocking headline, “Gee, what a coincidence on the trail with Clinton.” Don Frederick and Andrew Malcolm write:
An amazing coincidence the other day on the campaign trail in Iowa with Hillary Clinton.
The New York senator was in Donnellson as part of a broad statewide tour in which she, her husband, relatives, friends and Magic Johnson spread out to all 99 crucial counties to tell stories meant to soften her image in what’s become a very tight Democratic caucus race.
At a campaign forum in the fire station, a caucus site come Jan. 3, Clinton happened to be asked about her religious faith. Practicing Methodist, she responded, adding, “I’m often asked if I’m a praying person, and I am a praying person. My father prayed at his bedside every night and we prayed at the table over dinner.”
Then, someone pointed out that Clinton’s childhood Sunday-school teacher, Rosalie Bentzinger, from her Park Ridge, Ill., days, happened to be right there in the very same Iowa fire station at that same moment. Can you believe it?
The Sunday-school teacher stood up. Clinton rushed over. They hugged.
The 84-year-old Bentzinger gave Clinton a photograph she happened to have with her. And Clinton announced, “She has a picture of my confirmation class — March 27, 1959.”
Clinton aides said they were unaware the Sunday-school teacher was in the crowd.
Frederick and Malcolm to the contrary notwithstanding, other journalists remain unshaken in their faith. The New York Daily News, for example, finds “no evidence of manipulation” in the appearance of Rosalie Bentzinger at the Donnellson stop of Clinton’s likability tour.
UPDATE: Reader Steve Koppel points out this comment posted by Robert Bell on the Daily News story:
Hillary has staged another campaign event for her “Hilly Copter Trail of Tears” tour, this time carefully staging a “reunion” with her long-lost Sunday School Teacher in a firehouse in Iowa.
The event was staged to make it appear that Clinton was “suprised” to see her old Sunday School Teacher in the firehouse. The two hugged. The Teacher, Roaslie Bentzinger, even brought a photo of Hillary’s confirmation class. Not a dry eye in the house! After all these years!
The event also provided an excellent opportunity for Hillary to expo[u]nd on her religous beliefs (presumably contrasting them with Obama’s). The entire staged event was started with a planted question about her faith. After Hillary expounded on her praying habits, the long-lost Sunday School Teacher came forward from the small crowd gathered.
The problem with the event is that Hillary and Ms. Bentzinger are hardly strangers, having met at a similar campaign event in April of this year.
Ms. Bentzinger is hardly an unknown retired Sunday School teacher living in obscurity, either. Ms. Bentzinger is a well-known regliious scholar and leader and even has a religious scholarship named after her.
Hard to believe Clinton did not recognize her in the crowd, considering they shared BBQ together a few months earlier.
Bell’s comment on the Daily News report provides powerful support for Frederick and Malcolm’s cynicism.
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