Hillary Clinton Campaign Connection to Drudge Report Detailed by International Herald Tribune (NYT) in October of 2007 | February 26, 2008



An International Herald Tribune story of October 22, 2007, covers the irony of the Clinton campaign feeding stories to the Drudge Report as part of its strategy. (It was a repost from the New York Times, which owns the IHT.)

And the Clinton campaign wasn’t hiding their new found interest in using Drudge to get attention for stories. They had [and may still have] a designated “liaison” according to the International Herald Tribune:

Clinton’s communications team, led by Howard Wolfson, is not leaving Drudge to the Republicans. Five current and former Democratic officials said Clinton has on her side the closest thing her party has ever had to Rhoades [a GOP leaker to Drudge] in Tracy Sefl, a former Democratic National Committee official. The officials said that Sefl had established a friendly relationship with Drudge and that Clinton’s campaign often worked quietly through her to open a line of communication with Drudge. Though liberals say Drudge’s ideological imbalance remains plain, Republicans, who viewed the site as theirs in campaigns past, say they are noticing what they believe to be more Democratic driven, often Clinton driven, items on it.

And, as New York magazine reported recently, it has escaped no one that Drudge has sometimes mentioned Clinton favorably on his syndicated radio program, even if no one really knows whether his comments reflect admiration for her or simply a recognition that keeping her in the news is good for his business.

The International Herald Tribune story begins with a telling anecdote:

As Senator Barack Obama prepared to give a major speech on Iraq one morning a few weeks ago, a flashing-red siren alert went up on the Drudge Report Web site. It read, “Queen of the Quarter: Hillary Crushes Obama in Surprise Fund-Raising Surge,” and, “$27 Million, Sources Tell Drudge Report.”Within minutes, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s fund-raising success was injected via Drudge into the day’s political news on the Internet and cable television. It did not halt coverage of Obama’s speech or his criticism of her vote to authorize the war in 2002, but along the front lines of the campaign – the hourly, intensely fought effort to capture the news cycle or deny ownership of it to the other side – it was a telling assault.

Clinton’s aides declined to discuss how the Drudge Report got access to her latest fund-raising figures nearly 20 minutes before the official announcement went to supporters. But it was a prime example of a development that has surprised much of the political world: Clinton is learning to play nice with the Drudge Report and the powerful, elusive and conservative-leaning man behind it.

So, today’s non-denials from the Clinton camp notwithstanding, it is clear that the campaign has cozied up to Drudge — even if he trashes the senator from time to time — in an effort to make use of his vast audience, and to use them to their advantage to the extent that they can.

That’s not coming from BuzzFlash; that’s directly from the International Herald Tribune, in an article reposted from the New York Times.

The author is the respected NYT journalist Jim Rutenberg.

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