Tom Watson is a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton and co-founder of HillaryMen. He is a long time New York politics maven and has apparently become a target of Bernie’s Rapid Response Director for his tweets about the upcoming New York primary.
Last June, Tom Watson and I launched HillaryMen in support of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Neither of us, nor any of the thousands of people who contributed to (or amplified) HillaryMen, were paid for their time and effort. It was a volunteer project from start to finish. HillaryMen was put on hiatus once I took on the role of True Blue Media CEO (TBM owns and runs BNR).
When Tad Devine lashed out at BNR in response to our reporting on Sierra Blanca and our willingness to call Bernie out for smearing Hillary, I thought it was highly unusual for a senior campaign aide to go after a Democratic media publication in such personal terms.
Apparently, it was not an isolated incident. Bernie’s Rapid Response Director, Mike Casca, is now attacking Tom Watson for asking why Bernie left New York in the 60s. Tom is unaffiliated with Hillary’s campaign or organizations that support her, so it is odd to see such an aggressive reaction from Bernie’s campaign.
We asked Tom for a response and he wrote this:
Here’s the thing – I started following New York politics pretty closely in 1980 and became a political reporter in the Bronx in 1984. It’s not just an air war and online fundraising here. People have long memories, and registered Democrats especially identify with their neighborhoods, their political clubs, their churches and synagogues and mosques, their centers of urban life. You will be tested in the New York primary, and you should be. It’s a town that throws a few elbows. It certainly did when Hillary Clinton came here to run for Senate in 1999. Guess what? She won us over.
Things are definitely heating up as the New York primary looms. Hillary’s justified anger at being lied about has led to a surge of questions about Bernie, including his reluctance to release tax returns.
The backlash against Bernie’s negative campaign tactics is not unexpected. I’ve argued for months that going after Hillary’s integrity is a losing strategy:
A funny thing happens to people who think they can take down Hillary Clinton by assailing her character: they end up with their own reputations in tatters. Just ask Trey Gowdy. The Democratic nomination process was destined to become more intense, the contrasts sharper. It always works that way. But Bernie Sanders’s sudden lurch into hardball politics will only harm him.
Going after unpaid Hillary supporters won’t help either.
(Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx)