The most interesting thing about the Clinton did-she-leave-a-tip-or-not bruhaha yesterday was the ferocity and speed with which the Clinton campaign pushed back — with reporters at least. One can assume that’s because they know this is the kind of story, true or not, that sticks to a candidate like, uhm, an expensive hair cut. There phone calls, emails, offers to produce evidence… all of which ended with NPR running an update on the story that suggests that the Clinton’s real faux pas was not understanding the way diners operate: “Where Hillary was sitting, there was no tip left,” according to the restaurant’s manager.
The campaign insists that it left a $100 tip; according to the staffer who contacted the stiffed waitress, they first tried to add it to the credit card bill, then — when told that wouldn’t work — left cash. If all that is true, the only way to make sense of the story (on the assumption that neither the waitress nor the campaign is lying) is to suppose that some errant staffer, unfamiliar with the ways of the Midwest, left $100 in cash in or around the register, but didn’t give it to anyone in particular, and didn’t put it where Hillary had been sitting (the more traditional way to signal pleasure with the service one has received). And then someone took the money. Probably Karl Rove.
Either that, or someone is lying. Any other theories?
In any case, Hillary has now had two significantly bad news cycles in a row — whether she deserved them or not — and that tip story is going to end up with Republicans (or John Edwards, if he’s crazy enough) selling t-shirts that feature a hundred dollar bill on a milk carton.
UPDATE: Also, believe or not, I am still working on that comparison between Obama and Clinton’s actual economic policies, rather than that of their staffers’. It’s just, well, I think you all can understand why this kind of post is easier to write. By the end of the day, I promise. Some light reading for the weekend.