Mickey Kantor says that the “War Room” line, “Those people are shit,” refers to what he believed at the time would be the White House reaction to poor polling date. D.A. Pennebaker says the same thing.
But there’s still some doubt out there as to exactly what he meant.
Jake Tapper of ABC News’ Political Punch writes, “In The Washington Post’s review of the film in 1993, critic Desson Howe referred to “a Mickey Kantor comment about the people of Indiana (when it looks as though Clinton’s ahead in Dan Quayle’s state).”
“And a 1995 story in the Sydney Morning Herald said that “As for the good folk of Indiana, they are still recovering from the 1993 documentary War Room, which revealed the grim truth behind the Clinton election campaign. It showed Mr Kantor bursting in on election night to tell other campaign staffers that incredibly, Mr. Clinton was doing well even in Republican Indiana. ‘And those people are s—!’ he declared breathlessly.””
The point that Pennebaker makes is that the actual transcript suggests otherwise, even if the audio is not easily discernable from the actual film. So a critic could come away with the same impression. More importantly, though, is that it has to be taken in the context in which it was said.
And Ben Smith at The Politico has been in contact with the unidentified maker of the YouTube clip (“Indy007”), who has reposted the clip without the subtitles but with “enhanced but not altered” audio.
The result: I don’t hear any racial slur, and I now hear much more clearly Kantor saying, “Those people are shitting…excuse me…in the White House.”
Indy007’s clip is below. It is followed by the extended segment from the movie (where the scene in question comes at 4:50, with no enhancements).