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In the Fruit Aisle with Magic Johnson and the Clintons

Hillary Clinton seeks to regain her stride in Iowa. (AP).

By Anne E. Kornblut
DES MOINES -- Clinton aides often complain that their candidate faces tougher scrutiny than the rest. Not so on Tuesday morning.

With both her husband and basketball great Magic Johnson at her side during a frenzied stop at the Hy-Vee grocery store, Hillary Clinton finally got the question she had been waiting for: Did she feel she had hit her stride during recent stops?

"You mean I got my groove back?" Clinton said, letting loose with her trademark cackle. "I feel great, you know, I love campaigning. I like getting out and meeting with people and this is the time when Iowans start making up their minds. So there's an intensity and a sense of seriousness that is palpable." Clinton said she could "sense the momentum" -- the favorite buzzword among the candidates in the final stretch, but one that Clinton especially needs to convey after many weeks of unfavorable news that just began to turn around over the weekend.

Still, it was her husband who drew the largest scrum at the Hy-Vee.

Clinton campaign aides tried to rein in the press during one of the more chaotic events of the season, as all three mega-stars wandered through fruit aisles. Former Pres. Clinton made his way behind the deli counter, then emerged and stopped in front of the banana section to hold a mini press conference. Adding to the spectacle, on top of numerous local news crews, was a correspondent from Entertainment Tonight who shot a stand-up in the middle of the fruit section describing the moment as "a little chaos on the campaign trail."

Former president Clinton remained undeterred. Asked about Sen. Joe Lieberman's decision to endorse Sen. John McCain, Clinton said he was not surprised because both men have made the Iraq war their raison d'etre. Then, as his wife took photographs with some high school students, the majority of the press corps crowded around the former president.

Asked what he and his wife did when, on a night such as Monday, they have ordinary "human time" alone together, Clinton said they are often so tired they just sleep. He and Johnson are spending the day on Tuesday campaigning in Iowa. "The most difficult part of this," Clinton said, is that often the "most efficient use" of his and his wife's time requires them to campaign apart.

"But Christmas is coming up," Clinton said. "I'm going to go home for a half day and make sure we've got it organized."

And what of Magic (Earvin) Johnson? What brought him to a local grocery chain before 9 am on a Tuesday?

More to the point, why was he supporting Clinton? And not Sen. Barack Obama?

"Only 30 years of experience right here," Johnson said, signaling to Clinton, who stood by his side in the sit-down eating area of the Hy-Vee. He stayed diligently on-message, repeating the campaign talking points. "I think this country right now needs a leader with experience because this is not going to be an easy job," Johnson said.
After the event, Clinton drove out to the Des Moines airport to board her "Hill-a-copter," the whimsical mode of transportation she has chosen for the final drive of the caucus race. Her husband, Johnson and several aides boarded a much larger private jet and headed off in separate directions in order to blanket the state.

By Web Politics Editor  |  December 18, 2007; 1:15 PM ET
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Next: Obama Touts Foreign Policy Judgment


jade_7243, I must say, I'm somewhat surprised and ashamed you and I apparently share a political party preference.

Posted by: zukermand | December 19, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

When Bill heard the words "Magic Johnson," he thought the women in Hill's campaign were referring to him...

then Hillary reports she "got her groove back"... from whom, one wonders....

Check out the video of "Bill and Hill Go On Down To Hy-Vee Food Store," and watch Hill's face when she realizes Bill has wandered off and is talking to the press without her. Priceless.

Bill should keep campaigning for Hillary because he effectively dilutes any message of her "experience" and "electa-BILL-ity." It reminds voters that she is who she is only because she is married to him. And that does not a president make.

OBAMA '08!

Posted by: jade_7243 | December 18, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

re: "Anne E. Kornblut is a hack!"

Seriously, this woman should be ashamed of herself. She sounds like a little third grade brat writing this column.

Posted by: freespeak | December 18, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

The irony here is a flock of completely oblivious, unethical journalists at the Washington Post swooning over Saint Obama (Oprah's "he is the one")while ripping Hillary Clinton to shreds simply because she is a woman who just happens to be the best qualified candidate among both the Democrats and the Republicans.
Maybe these misguided scribes/Obama disciples agree with the pious neocon conservative David Brooks who argues in the NY Times today that Obama has "transformational" powers and consequently might have the power to save their endangered souls.

The fact that I have a theological education from a respected seminary gives me additional insight into this kind of warped thinking and behavior.

Posted by: ichief | December 18, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Once again another Clinton article framed in a negative light by the biased media. There's an incredible dearth of articles criticizing Obama, while there's no end to the number of articles criticizing Clinton. While Clinton by no means is a saint, it is a bit unfair to frame articles for Obama postiviely and ones for Clinton negatively. Take for instance the article in the Post about Obama being the sole candidate not putting his hand over his heart during the national anthem, this was reported as "the Patriot Police" nab Obama. Imagine if Clinton was the only candidate not to place her hand over her heart, do you think the media would've framed the information in a similar fashion? Also, look at Obama's naive remarks regarding his years spent in Indonesia as child suggesting that such an experience somehow makes him better qualified to conduct foreign policy. Clinton rightfully attacked this remark. Under this logic, the best policymakers would come from other countries so we should elect more foreign-born individuals to office. And again, the media potrayed this as a cheap shot by the Clinton campaign.
It is unfair. Obama can freely attack Clinton and say that he is justly asserting a point. While any response on Clinton's part is seen as mudslinging. It should be the response of the people to learn the true facts and not be blinded by a biased media. Also, the major media outlets really should practice objective reporting. In regards to the upcoming election, the media's responsibility is to report the news, not attempt to dictate the outcome of the election.


On a more serious note, vote for the candidate that you really believe is better for America, and not because of some skewed reporting by unprofessional, unethical journalists.

Posted by: RyanAi | December 18, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Every campaign article is followed by a cadre of Hillary haters across the country. They race to see who can post first and say the nastiest things about Hillary. WashPost reporters make more critical comments about her than other mainstream reporters in print or on TV. And their comments about other candidates are always respectful, never derogatory. Check it out. And yet, I think that the sensible majority of the country will surprise those (men and women) who are trying to keep the glass ceiling from cracking. Watch out for the falling glass!!

Posted by: vienna12 | December 18, 2007 5:30 PM | Report abuse

As an Iowan and former Democratic County chair I would like to comment about the inaccuate references to past caucus results. In 1976 Carter was perceived as winning first place, but actually placed second to umcommitted. 1992 was essentially uncontested as our own Senator Tom Harkin was viewed as an overwhelming favorite in his home state. And in 2008 we did pick John Kerry who finished at 38% and four points ahead of John Edwards, with both benefitting from what was perceived as a mud contest between former front runners Dean and Gephardt. Considering the vast movement at the close of the 2004 caucus I think it is fair to state that the results this year are up for grabs between Clinton, Obama and Edwards with a probable dispute if the second or even third place finisher tries to spin more turnout numbers against less delegate numbers because of each precinct electing a certain number of pre set delegates not related to caucus turnourt.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | December 18, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Kornblut was quoted by Media Matters.Org in her prediction in late October that the media would soon take Hillary Clinton down. I too am schooled in professional journalism, and I feel worse than disappointed by the Washington Post's skewed coverage of this campaign. It's more like a deep sense of betrayal, as I'm suddently realizing how unethical supposedly professional staff writers for a once respected paper have become. In addition to journalism training, I also have a master's in divinity from an accredited seminary, so professional ethics matters a lot to me. I have a hard time reading the Washington Post these days - it makes me more than a little ill.

Posted by: ichief | December 18, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Why don't you go back on Chris Matthew's and continue your hate fest. "Cackle" is getting old. It's called a laugh. I think you are a woman, and if it's not getting old to call a woman's laugh a cackle it is to me and all of my women friends. Stop it.

Posted by: diannabythesea | December 18, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Magic Johnson, now here is a guy Bill can look up to.

And Hillary does cackle. It is not an authentic laugh, she should stop for her own good. The reporter is trying to HELP her!

Posted by: FOGARA | December 18, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse a journalism major, I find it amusing that the press will talk about such unimportant, retarded stuff. (like Hillary's cackle) WHO CARES! I would however, like to inform all you readers: Hillary will soon be our president. THANK GOD. 2008....HURRY!
Hillary 2008!

Posted by: aboyzboi | December 18, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I do not know of any media person, electronic or print, that supports Hillary. This "Love Affair", "Rock Star", "Media Darling" has been going on for Obama for months. I cannot imagine these folks liking him that much, because it is coming from the right and left, I can only surmise it is an effort to stop Hillary. I still cannot figure this "Hatred" that seems to abound in the blogosphere and other media outlets.

Posted by: lylepink | December 18, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Hill-a-copter," the whimsical mode of transportation she has chosen for the final drive of the caucus race"

Whimsical? I defy Ms Kornblut to provide ONE shred of support for there being any whimsy associated with this choice of transportation.
And what's with the constant identification of the specific location inside the grocery store for each comment quoted? Is that supposed to be mocking? I'm just getting sick of this crap. You people should be embarrassed.

Posted by: zukermand | December 18, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Talking about the Political NUTS in the Fruit Section!

I can just Imagine:

Heyyyy, Magic, check out those Melons! There's some ripe young Plums!

Meanwhile, the President Poser Wannabe is in the Squash section....


Posted by: rat-the | December 18, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Anne E. Kornblut is a hack!

This "reporter" portrays Hillary in a negative light at every turn. Amazingly, Kornblut does not even attempt to conceal her true feelings -- truly shameful.

Posted by: aries3dc | December 18, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse


(Insert "trademark cackle" here)

I can't vote for an opaque dinasaur politician who has already failed at serving our needs (remember hillary-care? -oh that speaks of experience all right - not too much for good judgement, wisdom, or effective leadership... but it WAS an experience!)

Here's why I'm VOTING OBAMA:

He's GOT everything hillary LACKS:









Posted by: onestring | December 18, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"He stayed diligently on-message, repeating the campaign talking points."

While this description applies to most every campaign statement ever made, most reporters just use "said".
Unfortunately, instead of doing her job and reporting on the Clinton campaign, Anne Kornblut insists on telling us how Anne Kornblut feels about it in virtually every article she writes in the paper and every post here (apparently, Anne Kornblut doesn't like it). It is unprofessional and reflects poorly on the judgment of her supervisors.

Posted by: zukermand | December 18, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama for President of the United States of America.

Say no to nepotism.
Say no to triangulated Iraq vote disasters.
Say no to mud-sling machine politics.

It's time for America to Rise and Shine again.

Posted by: PulSamsara | December 18, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

she never had her groove...have you ever seen her dance. i've only seen worse moves out of her when she tries to dance around the issues.

there is no way she can inspire and lead the ENTIRE COUNTRY for 8 years. Clinton supporters are selfish and will only heighten partisan animosity amongst our people. this is not good for a country we all want to believe in. electing this disastrous duo is the real 'roll of the dice' and will likely lead to the end of the American Era.

Posted by: edvanrensyahoocom | December 18, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

no, thats definitely a cackle...and it definitely is her trademark...oooh and it definitely, definitely hurts the ears almost as every untruthful sound that emits from the clinton noise machine

Posted by: edvanrensyahoocom | December 18, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

People and the writer of this article give undue importance to the Iowa caucus. Isn't it time to break the back of this myth of Iowa's importance? They haven't picked a winner since 1976. And Clinton and Kerry won the democratic nominations without winning in Iowa. Enough with the rural pandering.

2008 is not the year for the Grand Old Party. Vote for the party that is enthusiastic, raised the biggest money and futuristic forward looking. Vote straight Democratic on Super Tuesday. Vote for Hillary Clinton. Super Tuesday will decide the nominee in both parties and everything else will be settled by February 2008. Forget the early states, the IOWA caucus and all the talk of momentum. A fluke here and a fluke there does not make a nominee. End of discussion.

I fondly remember the Bill Clinton administration years as pretty good ones in spite of the personal attacks from the right. Maybe that is not such a bad thing to return to. But the reality is that Hillary is not Bill. She is by all accounts smarter and definitely won't have the personal problems that Bill had. She is a master politician and is becoming a master speaker as attested to by looking at her in some of her live appearances and on the recent single sweep of five Sunday news shows in this election cycle.

It is Hillary's time and it is the time for a woman to be the US President. It is time to break the highest glass ceiling in the US. I predict that many Republican women will join because they have said "I have never voted or never voted for a Democrat in my life, but if Hillary is the candidate and I have the chance to see a woman US President in my lifetime, Hillary will have my vote!"

People underestimate the positive change that will occur around the world in the way the United States is viewed when we elect Hillary. She will be symbol for women everywhere.

It's time to give up the sniping and for some women to stop venting their jealousy, which is really what it is when they complain not about her policies but about her personal choices as relates to Bill.

It's time to think about the nation and Hillary will be good for the nation and the world.

The Republicans view Hillary as a "bogeyman" because she fights back against their smears...and because they have sunk way below their previous depths to a point where they have NO positives to run on...they depend on nothing more than the modern equivalent of inciting mobs with pitchforks and torches into voting AGAINST anything/anyone from gays to non-Christians to communism to deficits (until Darth Cheney declared that deficits are GOOD when they're run up by Republicans) to Bill Clinton. I think their formerly mindless followers are wising up to the fact that their Republican party has not been their friend. The left-wing fringe Democrats are so desperate to put a rehabilitated image of "liberalism" on a pedestal that they aren't bothering to notice that the nation isn't becoming, necessarily, more "liberal" as much as it is becoming "anti-right-wing-conservative"...and they hang their hats on my-yes MY-Senator Obama to be their champion without bothering to look at his actual history here in Illinois. He is NOT exactly a "liberal", and he hasn't proven that he can LEAD, let alone be an executive. You can't base your entire candidacy on (a) not supporting the Iraq invasion during your tenure in the Illinois State Senate (which can't even manage to do the State's business right now), and (b) NOT being Hillary. Edwards would be in the single digits were it not for sympathy for his wife (if it weren't for her tragic cancer, she'd make a better candidate), and ALL of the Republican candidates are flip-flopping jokes worse than fish just pulled out of the water.

You are absolutely right in pointing out Hillary's re-election support in highly-Republican Upstate New York...THEY have had her representing them for almost 8 years, and their Republican support of her says all that needs to be said. Her Republican Senate colleagues speak highly of her, too...she is OBVIOUSLY NOT a polarizing figure, but the fringes in both parties still try to paint her as one for the very simple reason that they are trying to beat her in the upcoming elections...and because she DOES know what she's talking about and DOES have more than basic competence, the only way they can beat her is to plant the red herring that many people have preconceived notions of not liking her. They are TRYING to scare support away from her without letting people see her for herself...without her being filtered and framed by the fringes of both parties. And they seem to forget that Bush was re-elected with some very high negatives...people are so numbed by the partisan sniping of the past 12 years and incompetence of the past 6 years that personal negatives don't matter to them nearly as much as much as intelligence and competence do now.

I hope that these people start pulling their heads out of their backsides pretty darned quick...and stop living in the past...and stop spewing the old venom that no one is interested in hearing anymore. The Nation has work to do, and no one is better versed, better educated, and better qualified to lead it out of the Republican-created nightmare...ready to roll up sleeves and get to work on Day 1...than Hillary. And when she DOES get elected, I hope that the Republicans give her the deference due her as President that they never gave her husband but expected for his successor for the 8 years to which we have been subjugated. They had their chance, and they've perverted everything they've touched. It's time for a WOMAN to clean the White House!

Here is an in-depth, thoughtful analysis of the top three Democratic candidates:
Thanks for your time and remember to vote in your respective states on Super Tuesday.
For a little election snapshot click:

Posted by: ajain31 | December 18, 2007 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Yep. Zukermand is right. The "cackle" references need to end. It is a laugh. Any other characterization is irresponsible and value-laden.

Posted by: fedorama | December 18, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"letting loose with her trademark cackle"

This is long past ridiculous. The Post needs to consider whether its reputation can stand 11 more months of this sort of irresponsible, unprofessional reporting in one of its premier assignments. I hope, for the sake of our democratic process, there are still grown-ups hiding somewhere in the paper's management.

Posted by: zukermand | December 18, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

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