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Clinton Hits Back at Republican 'Machine'

Hillary Clinton

The Ad: Here they go again. The same old Republican attack machine is back. Why? Maybe because they know that there's one candidate with the strength and experience to get us out of Iraq. One candidate who will end tax giveaways for the big corporations. One candidate committed to cutting the huge Republican deficit. And one candidate who will put government back to work for the middle class. The strength to fight. The experience to lead.

Analysis: Hillary Clinton is attempting a form of political jujitsu with this ad, portraying herself as the victim of unfair Republican criticism without specifying what that criticism is. (One ad pictured, from John McCain, chides her for securing a $1-million grant for a Woodstock museum, which is true.) The commercial, airing in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, also evokes the years of GOP assaults during her tenure as first lady, ranging from the Whitewater investigation to the Monica Lewinsky controversy, which Clinton initially blamed on a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

Clinton has not detailed a comprehensive plan to end corporate tax loopholes, although she has called for reducing public subsidies for oil companies and higher taxes on private equity and hedge fund managers. Nor has she offered a plan to wipe out the $163-billion budget deficit--which has fallen by half in the last two years--even while proposing increased spending on health care, housing, energy and education.

In mentioning the words "strength" and "experience" twice, this spot draws on what polls show are Clinton's greatest assets with Democratic voters, as opposed to questions about her candor and ability to foster change. The argument, in effect, is that Clinton draws the most fire from Republicans because she is the candidate they fear most.

--Howard Kurtz

By Washington Post editors  |  November 20, 2007; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Ad Watch  
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