Commentary Magazine


Clemens Borrows from Obama

The big news on Capitol Hill today is Roger Clemens’ sworn testimony before the House Oversight Committee regarding his alleged steroids use.

Clemens faces an uphill battle if he hopes to restore his credibility in the aftermath of the damning Mitchell Report, in which he was named 82 times. Beyond the testimony of his former trainer, Brian McNamee, former teammate Andy Pettitte has reportedly testified that Clemens admitted to using human growth hormone (HGH) almost ten years ago. To make matters worse for Clemens, Pettitte’s wife has substantiated this claim in a separate affidavit. The Clemens steroids story has thus quickly morphed into Clemens’ word against Pettitte’s, with Pettitte appearing more believable for having admitted to using HGH in 2002 and 2004.

So, what was Clemens’ strategy for presenting himself as compelling? Apparently, stealing a line from Barack Obama! Consider Clemens’ statement:

Andy Pettitte is my friend, he was my friend before this and he will be my friend after this. I think he misheard. … I think he misremembers our conversation.

Now, compare this to Obama’s statement in reference to Hillary Clinton during a recent debate. While trying to convince voters that the vitriol of the Democratic primary would not divide the party indefinitely, Obama remarked:

… I was friends with Hillary Clinton before we started this campaign; I will be friends with Hillary Clinton after this campaign is over.

Shortly after making his conciliatory statement, Obama earned a Super Tuesday split with Hillary, and has since taken off with an impressive eight-state winning streak. In the process, he has claimed an unambiguous lead in delegates and front-runner status.

Unfortunately for Clemens, the future doesn’t appear quite as bright. Whereas Obama comes off like a gentleman, Clemens is known to have a nasty streak. Indeed, if he aims to promote his credibility on the basis of his loyalty, Clemens is likely to come up short.